Pomodoro – Be More Productive And Get In A Workout

Do you find yourself struggling to get things done? Are you plagued by distracting phone apps or other chores? Maybe you are like me and hate dedicating even a full hour a week to lifting weights or working on your abs? It’s hard to say no to the phone notifications, and I find it impossible to stick to a strength workout. But, I’ve found a trick that helps me stay focused when I need to and get some reps in between work sessions.

It’s called the Pomodoro Method. Developed in the 1980s, it consists of using a timer to set intervals of work and break sessions. This method works great for the person who needs a little push to stay focused.

Get an App or a Timer

Beginning the Pomodoro method is easy. You can use a kitchen timer, the timer on your cell phone, or the timer on your computer.

If you get jazzed by new apps that both track your data and output some pretty graphs, download an app. I use the Focus To-Do app. I like the interface – it uses fun colors and even has a forest to level up the more you work on your productivity. My favorite feature is the Project Time Distribution graph. It enables me to see which areas I worked the most in for the chosen period.

List what tasks you need to get accomplished, and then spend your sessions completing them. I like to create projects and then add sub-tasks below each project.

Work intervals

The Pomodoro Method means working hard in short intervals. The standard is to work for 25 minutes at a time with a break in between work sessions.

You can choose to work in shorter or longer intervals, depending on your needs. But don’t work too long, and don’t ignore your break periods. Teaching your brain that it needs to focus hard for a set number of minutes and then it gets to shut down for a quick break is a great way to be more productive.

Break intervals

Once your timer dings and your work session is over, you can start your break. Take a 5-minute break after each session – except after your 4th work session, when you take a longer 15 to 30-minute break.

When you take your break, I suggest getting away from your desk to reward yourself for the complete focus you gave during your work session.

What you can do in 5 minutes –

While 5 minutes doesn’t seem very long, it can seem like an eternity depending on how you use it. I use my 5-minute breaks to walk around, change the laundry over, and most of the time – I like to use that time to work out.

I keep a yoga ball, a balance board, and a kettlebell in my office. When my break timer goes off, I start an exercise activity. Abs on the ball, legs on the board, arms (and everything else) with the bell. You can work more small muscle groups in 5 minutes than you think.

What you can do in 15 – 30 minutes –

With the extended break, I will either eat lunch or do a guided workout on YouTube. You know – one of those quick 15-to-20-minute legs or abs killers.

You can also take a quick walk with your dog – but do something active. Being active is a perfect way to get the brain thinking while your body is occupied on something mundane. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to solve a problem I’ve come up against just by taking a walk or run.

Completing things is mood-boosting

Bodies in motion stay in motion, and the more things you check off your to-do list, the more motivation you will have to keep checking.

There is something satisfying in checking tasks off your list. When you start the day with 20 items and end the day with only three, how good do you feel?

Having a method that keeps you accountable and is entertaining to maintain will work wonders for your productivity. Whether you are in a motivation rut or are looking for something new to put a fun spin on your to-do list, Pomodoro could be for you.

Combining short but furious work sessions with short but all-out exercise breaks will not only keep your brain active, but it will improve your fitness as well. Especially if, like me, you hate dedicating long periods to strength training.

During the course of writing this article, I have done a few work sessions, and have done a few quick exercise bursts. Now, I have a task done for the day, and my muscles are happy – total win!

About Liz Ward 101 Articles
Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.