Effective Pomodoro Task Management Techniques for Everyone on Your TeamThe Flow TeamLast Updated: April 20, 2020
Time management takes intention and focus. Without a way to prioritize, even simple day-to-day tasks can slip away from you, leading to long, stressful days—especially when you have to work late to get everything done.
It can seem natural to think that interruptions from co-workers, endless meetings, and the construction outside are what steal your focus and have you scrambling at the end of the day. With so many distractions, it can be too easy to settle into a reactive work stance. You get so used to waiting for the next notification, that when one doesn’t come, you don’t know what to do next.
By shifting to a proactive strategy, like the Pomodoro task management method, you can regain control of your schedule. Here’s how it works:
What is the Pomodoro Method?
The Pomodoro method is simple: set your intention, set your timer, follow through, take a break, and then repeat.
- Set your intention. Pick 1 task to focus on.
- Set your timer. Twenty-five minute blocks give you enough time to get engaged, without losing focus.
- Follow through. Stick to the task you decided on until the timer chimes. You can answer your email during the next 25-minute block.
- Take a break. Take a 5-minute break to stand, stretch, and hydrate.
- Repeat. Set a new intention, reset your timer, follow through, then take a break. After every 4 periods, take a longer break for lunch, or a short walk.
Modern work is an ongoing endeavor—in other words, unending. But by breaking your day down into manageable, 25-minute sections, you can prioritize the most important tasks, and be sure you have the attention to tackle them. Here are some of the benefits you and your team can realize by using the Pomodoro method:
Benefits of Using the Pomodoro Method to Manage Tasks
The Pomodoro method can work for people in many different job descriptions, from managers to creatives. Sticking to short, dedicated blocks of time can help managers switch from task to task at a steady pace, without getting lost in the shuffle. It can also work for designers, writers, or strategists who typically tackle larger projects—the timer helps focus on the section at hand, cordoning off distractions and preventing procrastination.
Introducing the Pomodoro technique helps your team do their best work by:
- Creating a feeling of accomplishment after each block of time is finished
- Instilling simple, postponeable tasks with an appropriate sense of urgency (or non-urgency, as the case may be) that’s relative to the rest of your day
- Breaking larger tasks into smaller, manageable chunks to help you get started on the next big project
- Helping relax feelings of anxiety about what to do next, and what you’re not doing now
- Recharging your cognitive powers by insisting you take a break; the brain prefers novelty
- Reducing fatigue and muscle pain associated with sitting in the same position all day
Introducing your team to the Pomodoro method can help minimize unproductive time, without adding to your stress. However, trying to force your team to follow this schedule may have the opposite result. It’s meant to be an opportunity, not a requirement—a solution your employees will seek out, not eight new deadlines a day for them to meet.
To help ensure your team sees the upside of the method, try it yourself first. Then, talk to them about how it works for you, and provide them with the tools they need to adopt it for themselves.
Effective Pomodoro Task Management Techniques to Offer Your Team
Focus and intention are easier desired than achieved. To help you and your team succeed using the Pomodoro method, you’ll need some simple tools, and an environment of support. For instance, if you expect your team to work in 25-minute blocks, you can’t expect them to reply to your email in less than 25 minutes.
Here are some ways to support your team as they implement the Pomodoro method:
- Provide a Pomodoro timer for their computer or phone, or, even better, gift them a physical timer. Many timers are easily found online, but physical timers signal dedication and provide a tactile sense of accomplishment.
- Allow your team to silence all notifications during 25-minute work modes or four Pomodoro intervals.
- Give yourself and your team permission to sign out of email, turn on your phone’s airplane mode, and close browser tabs to focus on tasks.
- Creatively assign 25-minute timed chunks to your work based on priority. While some workers do best with regular schedules, others thrive when they can rearrange their blocks of time to suit their day.
- Honor 5-minute breaks—stop, shift focus, and move. Practice stretches or breathing techniques, and share them with your colleagues: five minutes can seem like a long time to stand with nothing to do.
By using the Pomodoro method yourself, and supporting your team as they experiment with it, you’ll create conditions for the technique to take root and thrive.
Enhance Your Team’s Performance with One Simple Tool
The Pomodoro method can be an effective way to regain focus and intention over long weeks and months at a desk. But adjusting to a new way to work takes time, and requires support, to succeed—and some work environments are far more conducive to this method than others.
For instance, the gentle chime of a timer can quickly get lost in the background noise of a loud, busy open-plan office. Even in these environments, a well-designed online workspace can help streamline and prioritize workflow, reducing the likelihood of burning a 25-minute block figuring out which tasks you’ll spend the rest of your day on.
An all-in-one, beautifully designed project management tool will allow your team to easily see what’s up next in their workflow, and to rearrange priorities as necessary. Designed with the Pomodoro method specifically in mind, Flow has features like “focus mode” built-in, that simply and effectively silence notifications, allowing you and your team to work with intention.
Flow is time and task management made easy. Its powerful interface provides everything your team needs to thrive. Designed with the user in mind, no steep learning curves are required. With Flow, productivity will feel effortless.
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