Getting stuff done, when you don’t want to do the things: the Pomodoro technique 

Linda Moses-Allison, Library and Academic Advisor, skills@cumbria  

I have one technique that I use again and again when I am struggling with a deadline or have a large piece of work I need to complete: the pomodoro technique invented by Francesco Cirillo. I’ve used it to complete a reflective portfolio, create a resource and even clean out the attic.  

Tomato timer
Tomato timer optional!

The pomodoro technique basically takes a unit of time, eg 25 minutes, in which you focus on one task and follow this simple structure: 

  1. Identify a single task or part of a larger one 
  1. Set a 25-minute timer 
  1. Focus on the task for 25 minutes, no interruptions 
  1. Success! After 25 minutes you have completed a pomodoro and can tick this off your list 
  1. Have a short 5-minute break 
  1. If you complete 4 pomodoros back to back, then take a longer break of 20- 30 minutes.  

I find this incredibly useful when I am struggling to start something. I can convince myself I can complete only 25 minutes of work. I will tell myself I can walk away after 25 minutes having made some progress. But more often than not, once I have started and made some progress the task doesn’t seem so bad. It works because it is short and helps avoid distractions.  

How do you get things done when you don’t feel like it? Be in touch if you’d be up for writing a Live Well Learn Well blog post to share your tips and strategies.  

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