Techniques for Developing Creative Thinking – Pomodoro Technique

You have probably heard of Pomodoro Technique in the context of learning, but did you know that this technique is one of the most productive thinking techniques and that it can be used with great success in creative thinking? It is amazing how simple, yet powerful Pomodoro Technique is. If you have not used it before, I recommend you read my step-by-step guide and try it yourself – you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

About Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro technique was developed in the late 80s by Francesco Cirillo who used it while studying at the university. He noticed that when he divided his task into small sections and gave himself limited time to process them, learn the university curriculum in his case, his mind would work more efficiently and with better focus. Although it was initially used for learning, the Pomodoro technique proved to be equally effective when used during any other mental activity, including creative thinking.

This technique got its name after a kitchen timer in the shape of a ‘pomodoro’ (tomato in Italian) that Cirillo used to time himself. You can also use a digital timer or any other timer. Once you try it and experience its magic results, you will probably decide to buy yourself a fancy kitchen timer and carry it everywhere with you.

Pomodoro Technique How to

Here is what you should do:

1 Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed;

2. Decide on the task you want to do;

3. Set the timer to 25 minutes;

4. Work on the task until the timer rings; 

5. Take a 5-minute break;

Repeat items 3 to 5.

Do four 25-minute-sessions with 5-minute-breaks between them. After the fourth session, make a 15-minutes-break, than start all over again. Make a 15-minutes-break after every four-session-cycle.

Pomodoro Technique Tips and Tricks:

This technique can be used to complete simple tasks but also for dealing with complex projects. In this case, you will need to use some of your planning skills and divide the project into small manageable tasks that you can finish using Pomodoro.     

Avoid getting disturbed during a Pomodoro session. If you have to stop the session to do something urgent, set the timer back to 25 minutes and start the session again.

If some other thoughts, not connected to your current task, cross your mind, make a side note and think about them during the break.

Choose a place that is comfortable to work, play some soothing music, light a candle, etc. and do not let anyone or anything disturb you during the Pomodoro session. Twenty-five minutes is not such a long time, you will check your email and Instagram during the break.  

Use the breaks between the session to stretch and drink water because your brain will not work to its full potential unless you hydrate it properly. 

Pomodoro Technique How It Works?

Pomodoro technique breaks your thinking time into short periods which allow the brain to recover and start afresh with every new session.

It allows focused and concentrated work for an extended time (which is great for learning).

Typically, our brain cannot function properly when it is in the stress mode, like when you are pressed for time due to a short deadline. While doing a Pomodoro, you are making a conscious decision to finish the work (or part of the work) within the next 25 minutes. You are imposing just a slight pressure on your brain which will not obstruct the thinking process but will be strong enough to make the brain lessen its control over the conscious mind and let the subconscious thoughts slip out. In this way, Pomodoro can significantly increase creativity and is absolutely the best technique for achieving excellent results when you need new ideas within a short time frame.

I strongly suggest that you use a kitchen timer while doing Pomodoro. Linking the thinking activity with a ritual of using a Pomodoro timer will automatically set your brain into a focused thinking mode so you will be able to maintain close attention much faster than usual or when you are using digital applications.      

After some time of regular practice of this technique, you will find it much easier to achieve focus in many other situations – when meditating, having to think fast to solve some problem or provide an answer when caught unprepared.  

Pomodoro Technique Results

I use Pomodoro when writing – I find it particularly useful when I get stuck for words; when reading – to maintain the focus on the text; and when doing my creative work – especially when I am short of time or when the projects have piled up. Sometimes I use it to limit my time spent on social media – this helps me focus only on relevant posts that I find there.

What are your ideas for the use of Pomodoro?

(Pizza or pasta recipes do not count as valid!)

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