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Get your things done in 25 minutes, with or without an iPad!

pomodoro technique on ipad

How so?

I discovered this extremely simple productivity technique a long time ago when I read about the GTD method and wanted something simpler. It’s called the Pomodoro Technique and is essentially the process of setting aside focused time blocks in 25 minute increments.

If you are curious about the name, pomodoro means tomato in Italian. You must be wondering what is the relationship between tomatoes and a productivity technique? Good question. Well, actualy the name was given by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian who developed the technique in the late 1980s according to Wikipedia. It was given after those old timers that came in the shape of a tomato, and which Francesco used during his university studies. Not being much of a cook, I was not familiar with the reference I must say…

Here is a brief overview of the technique taken from the official website.

The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique® can be split in five simple steps:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break (between 15 and 30 minutes)

Does it work ?

Yes, it defintely does! I’m using the technique since 2011, and I can say that I did notice a huge difference in terms of productivity. Amazingly I was able to stay focused and perform deep work for the full 25 minutes!

I think that the Parkinson’s law plays a big role here. For those who are not familiar with the principle, I will soon write an article about it since it is one of my fundamental productivity pillars . But in the meanwhile, here is a quick explanation: the amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task. In other words, even if you can write a book let’s say in 1 year, if you plan to do it in 2 years, it will actually take you 2 years. My theory for the Pomodoro technique is that since you put a time limit of 25 minutes for each task you perform, somehow your brain reprograms unconsciously himself to focus and finish the task in 25 minutes.

The technique is also based on the fact that the brain cannot be focused more than 25-35 minutes, and that it needs some rest after 1.5-2 hours. Actually, what I noticed is that I’m also more productive at the end of the day because I’m less tired.

The first important thing to be aware of is that you must keep distractions at bay. Personally I do everything I can to avoid any distraction: I close the doors, mute the phone, and close the mail and all the windows not related to what I’m doing for the current pomodoro.

The second important thing is that you must stick to the 25 minutes rule. It is really tempting to extend the pomodoros, and I must admit that I extended beyond the 25 minutes from time to time as I was close to finishing a task.

Globally I must say that it is a technique which requires a lot of discipline at the beginning. But once acquired, I can assure you that it really works.

What is the best pomodoro app for iPad ?

To be honest, there is no need for a specific application for that. I am not using any fancy app or program to track my time, I am simply utilizing the timer on my phone.  I love the idea of such a simple non-app-focused technique for getting things done. And this is coming from someone who writes about getting things done with an iPad!

If you really want an app to get things done, I would recommend:

  • Focus Keeper (available for free for iPhone and iPad). It’s entirely customizable, and it allows you to define how many pomodoros you want to do before a long break, and what is the number of pomodoros you would like to achieve during the day.
  • The site tomato-timer.com, a very simple web app.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

About the author

    Dean Duke

    Dean is a father of 2, working full time as an IT consultant. He is an experienced tablet user spending many years honing his skills and learning to be more productive while using his iPad. After meeting the founder of TabletProductive.com, Chris J. Lee in 2015, he has been a main contributor to the blog ever since.

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