The Pomodoro Technique 4.
Cut Down on Interruptions
The length of a Pomodoro, 25 minutes, seems short enough to make it possible to resist being distracted by various kinds of interruptions. But experience shows that once you’ve started using the Pomodoro Technique, interruptions can become a real problem. That’s why an effective strategy is needed for minimizing interruptions and progressively increasing the number of Pomodoros that can be accomplished consistently without interruptions. There are two kinds of interruptions: internal and external.
Even though a Pomodoro only lasts 25 minutes, it won’t be easy for everyone to finish the first few Pomodoros without giving in to some immediate need to interrupt the activity at hand: the need to stand up and get something to eat or drink, or to make a call that suddenly seems terribly urgent, or to look up something on the Internet (it may be related or unrelated to the task at hand) or to check one’s emails. Lastly, we might even need to rethink how we’ve prioritized this particular activity; we’re constantly second-guessing our daily planning or our decisions.
These kinds of distractions, or ways to procrastinate during the activity at hand, are called internal interruptions. They generally disguise our fear of not being able to finish what we’re working on the way we want and when we want. Internal interruptions are often associated with having little ability to concentrate.
How can we free ourselves from these internal interruptions? We have to work on two fronts simultaneously:
Make these interruptions clearly visible. Every time you feel a potential interruption coming on, put an apostrophe (’) on the sheet where you record your Pomodoros. Then, do one of the following:
– Write down the new activity on the To Do Today Sheet under Unplanned & Urgent if you think it’s imminent and can’t be put off.
– Write it down in the Activity Inventory, “marking it with a “U” (unplanned); add a deadline if need be.
– Intensify your determination to finish the current Pomodoro. Once you’ve marked down the apostrophe, continue working on the given task till the Pomodoro rings. (Rule: Once a Pomodoro Begins, It Has to Ring.)
The aim is to accept the fact that needs do emerge, and they shouldn’t be neglected. Look at them objectively and, if possible reschedule them for another time.
Estratto di: Cirillo, Francesco. “The Pomodoro Technique.” FC Garage, 2013-05-10. iBooks.