Some time ago I learned about the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a simple time-management tool. You work for 25 minutes on a project, then take a five minute break. Every four rounds, you take a longer break.
It’s simple, but it seems to work well for me. A lot of times I can’t seem to get started. But if I know I only have to work for 25 minutes, I don’t dread starting. And once I’ve started, I’m good to go.
I recently upgraded my old netbook to a new MacBook Pro. I was browsing the App Store (sidenote: it took me a while to realize that not all Mac apps are in the App store—a lot are still downloaded from websites), looking for a Pomodoro timer app. I have a nice one on my iPod Touch, which keeps track of how many Pomodoros I complete each day. I couldn’t find the equivalent for my Mac, which bummed me out at first.
But then I stumbled upon the Pomodoro app, by Udo Landini. Things I like about this app:
1. It puts a timer in the toolbar
2. You can change the time for both the Pomodoros (working) and the break. At first I thought that you could only choose 25, 30, or 35 minute Pomodoros. But then I realized that you can use your mouse to select the time and type in whatever you want. Sometimes when I’m working on law assignments, I switch it to 50 minutes. 25 minutes just isn’t enough time to get anything done.
3. **my favorite feature** You can sync the Pomodoro app with iCal. After you complete a Pomodoro, it appears in iCal. It’s titled the same as the Pomodoro. I find it very motivating to look back on a work-day and see how much of the time I was working.
Of course, you can use the Pomodoro technique with a clock. You don’t need an app. But if your situation is close to mine, I recommend the Pomodoro app.
What about you? How do you manage your time and keep yourself motivated?