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What is the Pomodoro Technique and How Can it Help Me?

Legal Productivity Q&A Video Series

This is the latest edition in our quick-and-practical Q&A style videos. Questions come from social channels, keyword analysis, and readers of this blog. A transcript accompanies each video.

What is the Pomodoro Technique and How Can it Help Me?
“So what is the Pomodoro Technique and how can it help me?”
This is a Pomodoro, Italian for “tomato”. This is a little kitchen timer, and the whole idea is when I wind this thing up to 25 minutes I’m going to do nothing but work on one item until the timer goes off. Now, winding up the timer like this, once you do this enough times, puts your brain in a little Pavlovian mode saying “I am going to focus on only one thing”. I am not going to tweet, email, I’m not going to get a cup of coffee, not going to allow myself to be interrupted. I am not going to get up to go to the bathroom, nothing. Just work on one solid task, won’t even answer the phone.
Impossible, you say? Well, on average someone has to wait 12.5 minutes in order for you to get back to them. So usually, someone can wait 25 minutes for you to get back to them. Rarely is there an emergency where you have to break away from what you’re doing. When you can start working in chunks that are in contiguous chunks of time, like 25 minutes at a time, you’re going to have to work less at night and on the weekends because it’s the interruptions and getting back in the mode of working, that’s what really, really kills you. So the Pomodoro Technique is a really powerful way of focusing on things and getting a lot of stuff done quickly.
Now I will say that when I talk to people at Bar association events and I talk about productivity techniques, especially the Pomodoro Technique, this is the one thing that people come up to me the next year they see me and they say “that really improved things for me”. So this is a very highly effective way of keeping focused and keeping on top of your stuff.
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