Today we’ll discuss the Pomodoro technique. Is it for you? I tested it for a week and was surprised with the results.
Being someone who loves all things that make us productive, I had been a tad apprehensive about trying this Pomodoro thing out. However after speaking with some free-lance friends that utilize it daily, I thought I would give it a try. The results might surprise you. But first lets discuss this technique in more detail.
1: What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus (sometimes called sprints) and rest. These intervals are called “Pomodoros” (or “tomatoes” in Italian), after the tomato shaped-kitchen timers that work perfectly for timing sessions. Pomodoros are separated by short breaks for distractions, daydreaming, snacking—whatever. It works something like this:
- Choose a task to work on exclusively for 25 minutes.
- Set a timer.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a five-minute break.
- Repeat this cycle four times and then take a 15-minute break.
2: How to Pomodoro You find a timer, or use an APP like Focus Keeper. This is the app that I used. You then break your workday into 25-minute sprints, separated by quick 5 minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After you have completed 4 pomodoros, you then earn a longer break of 20-25 minutes.
Then repeat as many times as you want for your workday.
The timer is meant to force a sense of urgency. These 25 minute sprints keep you lasered focused as you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress as possible on the task that you are working on.
The forced breaks, make you take a breather and helps lesson the stress of sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time. It is important that you get up, walk around and step away from your desk for this time.
3: Trying it out in the real world Like I said to start this episode, I was a little apprehensive. I like to get into a project and grind it out for a few hours at a time.
I set the timer on my phone and got started. It felt strange in the beginning and I had to work hard at actually following the timeline. The first 25 minutes rolled around and I thought to myself, that I had just started. I almost blew off the timer a few times in the beginning, but I forced myself to play by the pomodoro rules format.
It took a few tries but eventually I took those 25 minutes as a challenge to get as much completed as possible. it really help me place an emphasis on staying focused and productive. I was not tempted to multi-task or jump around to another project. I focused for the entire 25 minutes on that one task at hand!
I also realized that because I was taking regular scheduled breaks, I felt better at the end of the work day. I was very satisfied with my production. The pomodoro technique was actually making me more productive and I felt batter at the end of the day as well. It was a true win-win.
It is important to note that the pomodoro technique can have its challenges when you become distracted by a phone call, a scheduled meeting or a co-worker. At this time you have a decision to make. You stop the pomodoro and address the distraction right away or you postpone the distraction until the current round of pomodoro is completed. This will depend on your situation.
4: What did I think? It really does work? Is it for everyone? I don’t think so. If you have a business or a position that dictates you sit at a desk working on a computer for most of your day, then this technique could be the boost you are looking for in your daily productivity! If you are someone that has your day interrupted often with phone calls and meetings, then this might not be the tool for you.
For me, it worked great and I will continue to utilize the pomodoro technique going forward. See you can teach an old dog new tricks. You just have to be open minded to try new things. Good luck!
My last day at the Home Depot was a Tuesday Oct 5th, back in October 2021. I was 2 days from my 13 year anniversary of bleeding orange. The past 6-8 months had been a struggle. A struggle that I had caused by making a terrible hiring decision a year and a half ago. I will go into that later in another episode of Retail Storytime, this story is how I was was fired. My District manager and I did not agree on how we should be handling a toxic manager that worked in our store. I knew things were not going to end well for me, as my DM started to separate himself from me and the situation. My so-called “HR Professional” was no where to be found. (Yes another story to be told in the future) I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I am very observant and I could tell, this was not going to end well.
I started talking to my wife and we decided it was time to break away from the Home Depot and start our new small business. We had been discussing this for the past year or so and the time seemed right. Even if it was being forced on me at that time. I have always taken pride in my ability to pivot and I was not going to be caught off-guard.
Well, I thought that was the case. We had decided to turn in my resignation on Oct 11, giving my 2-3 week notice, as I thought that would have been fair for the company and my team.
So back to Oct 5th, I was in my garden center working on some freight. We had been struggling, so we were helping the night team, by throwing some freight. In the middle of this, sometime around 9-10 am I get a call from my DM, He asks if I could meet him at Denny’s. I said sure and hung up the phone.
I had a bad feeling about this call. I told my assistant manager that I was going to meet the DM at Denny’s then headed out the door. I called my wife Jamie and let her know that it was probably going to be my last day. She did not think that would happen, but I just had a feeling.
Well an hour later I was no longer employed by the orange. I had been fired at a Denny’s in Joplin Missouri. Everything started going very fast at that time. I called my wife, told her what happened and her reply was, well come home and get started on the new project! (There is a reason I love this women)
The thing that pisses me off was the fact that he would not allow me to go back to the store that day. I was not fired for stealing or doing anything that would hurt my team or the company. I was fired because I was trying to hold a toxic associate accountable and my leadership team, was more concerned in protecting the brand than protecting a hard working associate that had never been in any trouble in his 12 almost 13 years with the company.
I digress, I wanted to part ways professionally with my team, and this was taken away from me. It had been drilled into our heads during many leadership training, that it was imperative to keep people dignity in tact during a situation like this. I am glad they did that with me…
So there it is, I will never look at a Denny’s the same way again. Lessoned learned that day. if your leader calls you and asks you to meet at Denny’s, find another place to meet.
Well that is it for my first retail Storytime. I want to ensure that everyone who hears this or reads the blog article, understands that I have nothing but praise for the Home Depot! I love that company and the time I spent there. They took great care of me and my family for over 12 years. I loved bleeding Orange.
I hope that you found the first part of this episode concerning the Pomodoro technique interesting and maybe you will try it out for yourself. Let me know in the comments how it worked for you.
The second part of this episode was the first in a series of many Retail Storytime moments. Tell me your thoughts. Would you like to hear more of my retail stories? Some will be entertaining, some educational, and some are just downright ridiculous. You will get the good, the bad, and the ugly from my personal retail experience. Thank you for listening. Until our next episode, be safe and Be Kind!
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