🖊 This article was last updated on June 12, 2019
For us entrepreneurs, time is money. Every minute counts. Unfortunately, most of us never have enough money or time. It’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. So, how come some entrepreneurs manage to squeeze so much more into their schedule? What’s their secret?
One way to boost your productivity is to use the Pomodoro technique. This popular time management trick has been around since the 1980s. It’s widely used by researchers, scientists, students, and business professionals.
Let’s see how it works and whether or not it’s right for you!
The Truth about Entrepreneurship
As an entrepreneur, you understand the importance of managing time more than average Joe does. Compared to a regular employee, your work doesn’t start at 9 AM and finish at 5 PM. There are days when you start work at 6 in the morning and days when you go to bed at 3 at night. You’re always in touch with your clients, ready to answer their questions and address their concerns. In other words, you’re hustling.
Furthermore, you wear multiple hats; your job involves marketing, social media, managing customer service, and hundreds of other tasks. Some entrepreneurs also do their own accounting and bookkeeping. These things take a lot of time.
I often meet small business owners who start the day early in the morning and work until late at night. They plan everything around their projects and rarely find time for themselves.
According to a recent survey, about 33 percent of entrepreneurs work 40 to 49 hours per week. Another 30 percent work 50 to 59 hours every week. Approximately 19 percent put in over 60 hours of work on a weekly basis. In fact, just five percent work less than 30 hours per week.
These facts may seem surprising. After all, we’ve all seen those ads and read blog posts claiming that entrepreneurship is the key to a perfect life. You’ve probably pictured yourself lying on the beach while working on your laptop. Perhaps you were thinking that once you started your own business, you’d have more time for yourself and the things you love? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you barely even have time to squeeze in a quick workout! Not to mention traveling or going out – you can only dream about these things, especially when your business is just getting off the ground. Nearly half of the survey respondents we’ve mentioned earlier described their work-life balance as an illusion.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a life without sacrificing your business. Strategic planning is the key. To succeed, you must eliminate distractions and prioritize your tasks – among other things. That’s where the Pomodoro technique comes in.
The Pomodoro Technique at a Glance
The Pomodoro Technique was developed nearly four decades ago by Francesco Cirillo. It’s one of the few productivity methods that stood the test of time. What makes it so effective is that it encourages people to work with the time they have, not against it. When done right, it can help you get things done in a streamlined fashion and complete your tasks faster.
The Pomodoro technique is very easy to implement. Basically, you break up your schedule into 25-minute work segments followed by five- or 15-minute breaks. Don’t worry – you don’t need to keep your eye on the clock all the time. Nowadays, there are dozens of apps and online timers you can use, such as the Pomodoro Technique Timer, TomatoTimer, Marinara Online Timer, and others. And if that’s not your thing, you can always go old-school and use a kitchen timer 🙂
The process is simple and straightforward. Follow these steps to put the Pomodoro technique at work:
- Choose a set of tasks or a defined part of a project you’d like to get done
- Set the timer for 25 minutes (this is called the pomodoro)
- Work on your tasks until the time you set expires
- Take a 5- or 15-minute break.
- Return to work for another 25 minutes
- Take another break and repeat
- Take a longer break every four pomodoros
Feel free to do whatever you wish during your break. Go out for a walk, grab a coffee, or cook a healthy meal. The choice is up to you, as long as it’s relaxing. But make sure you stay super focused during those 25 minutes of work. This means no social media, no TV, and no phone calls.
No matter how big or small your project is, this strategy will do the trick. It’s a proven way to maximize your time and get things done. Most apps that use this system have no pause button, which will help you deal with distractions effectively too.
Does It Really Work?
Speaking from my own experience: yes. The Pomodoro technique builds upon Parkinson’s law (the more time you give yourself to complete a task, the longer it will take to complete that task), which makes it so successful.
The Pomodoro technique is just as popular today as it was decades ago, and rightly so. You’ll find it mentioned in lots of books and articles about productivity and time management.
What’s great about this method is that it can help you hyper-focus and power through distractions by working in short sprints (even if you think you can’t focus). Plus, you can take breaks every 25 minutes, which will keep you motivated and reduce fatigue.
But you may wonder: “What if someone calls or knocks at the door while you’re working?”. Inform them that you’re in the middle of something right now and schedule a time when you can get back to them. Call that person back during your break or after finishing work.
With this powerful time management tool, you’ll be more organized and stay motivated. Plus, you’ll get more done in less time. The Pomodoro technique can also improve your planning skills, help you manage distractions, and wards off mental fatigue. Plus, it can be a lifesaver for those struggling with neck or back pain too (speaking from experience here). By taking regular breaks, you’ll avoid prolonged sitting and stay active throughout the day.
Another major benefit of using this system is that it keeps you accountable. That’s why experts recommend writing down your tasks and ticking them off one at a time. This way, you’ll get a better picture of what you’ve accomplished and what you have left to do.
So, are you ready to try the Pomodoro technique? This time management system could change your life forever. It’s so simple that even a child could use it!