A BRIEF INTRO
The Pomodoro Technique is a popular strategy of maximizing productivity and work time with a strict time-schedule.
Specifically, it has three parts:
1. a 25-minute working period, during which I do focused, productive work
2. a 5-minute break after each 25-minute period
3. a 10-15 minute, extended break after 4 working period cycles
The "traditional" method of keeping time for the Pomodoro technique is to use a real-life hand-cranked timer and a pencil to keep track of cycles and times, but of course, that's too old fashioned. Instead, I used this wonderful contraption to keep perfect time during my Pomodoro cycles.
HOW IT GOES
It seems like the key to building a habit of keeping to the technique's rigid timetables is simply to start out right. I found that on days where I went into the cycles with a good mood and a clear mind (thanks meditation), I was noticeably more productive and stuck far better to the timer.
As for how I spent those thiry-minute intervals, there isn't really much to say. Often I did find myself in the middle of a task when the bell for a break rang. At those times, I wrapped up the task at hand to the best of my abilities, and left for a break. It does interrupt the process, but five minutes isn't enough to get you out of the zone. On the other hand, I found it important to keep stretching and getting snacks / drinks during those five minutes, because that's the secret to keeping from being worn out after three or four cycles.
After a few days of the technique, I've figured out several ways I can get myself to stick to the times and use each of those twenty-five minutes to the fullest. So far, so good.
Perhaps the best way to tell you about the usefulness and legitimacy of the Pomodoro Technique is just to tell you that I, being a stickler for efficiency and productivity, have stuck to it for more than a couple of weeks. As I write this right now, there is a timer going on my second monitor, ticking down the twenty-five minutes of work that I have ahead of me.
It's not for everyone -- no productivity gimmick ever is. But if you're the type who has lots of little errands or smaller tasks you need to finish, and you work well with timers, the Pomodoro Technique might be one of the best ways I've come across to give your productivity an extra kick.