One of the oft-overlooked aspects of success in real estate is time management.

The industry tends to focus (this blog is no exception) on the “hard,” tangible skills & strategies such as prospecting expireds/FSBOs, lead generation tips, call-to-listing ratios, closing strategies, etc. To be sure, mastering these strategies is critical to long-term success in this industry.

But we shouldn’t overlook the “soft” strategies that help fortify our physical, emotional, and psychic qualities. To this end, in recent months we’ve posted about:

With regard to “soft” strategies, another frequent topic in this blog is time management. The level of distraction in our increasingly-busy lives has grown exponentially in recent years. And, of course, the pandemic exacerbated the level of disruption in our lives as many (if not most) of us were forced to work from home, negotiating space (and patience) with partners, kids, dogs, delivery people, and on and on….

There are myriad time-management strategies, some of which we’ve covered in this blog. But today we’re going to focus on a super-simple technique that, if followed, can dramatically improve your personal efficiency, while allowing you to feel more balanced. This hack is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

Pomodoro was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80s. The technique uses a timer to break down work in intervals of 25 minute segments, punctuated by short, 5-minute breaks. Each 25 minute segment is known as a Pomodoro, Italian for “tomato.”

The Pomodoro Technique is a measurement of effort by individuals or teams. Let’s walk through the process.

Find yourself a timer-could be a kitchen timer, although most smartphones provide a built-in timer. Set the timer to 25 minutes. Hit start and begin working, following these guidelines:

  1. You (your Pomodoro) cannot be interrupted.
  2. You cannot split up your Pomodoro if interrupted by a person, pet, phone call, etc. Such disruptions, or “voids,” often require us to go back to the beginning of the project or activity. That’s because the brain does not like to be interrupted!
  3. STOP when the timer goes off, regardless of where you are in your activity.
  4. Take a 5 minute break-and if you were lucky enough to complete your task in 25 minutes, put an “X” next to the activity (we love completing tasks), then start your break.
  5. Use your 5 minute break wisely: walk, stretch, breathe, step outside, hydrate. But, if at all possible, DO NOT engage in any activity that requires mental energy.
  6. Keep working on Pomodoros until a task/activity is fully completed.
  7. Every FOUR Pomodoros, stop for an extended break, between 15-30 minutes. Maybe you take a quick run, or enjoy a leisurely lunch. Or even a quick nap. Regardless, use this time to renew yourself.
  8. If you finish an activity with time remaining in your Pomodoro, take that time to review your work and make improvements where necessary.
  9. Keep track of your daily Pomodoros, an reflect on how much energy you need to put into certain tasks.
  10. Use at least one Pomodoro a day to review and improve your process…and productivity.

As with developing any new process or habit, mastering the Pomodoro Technique will take practice. For example, this writer forgot to start the timer before starting this blog post on the Pomodoro Technique. As such, it will be difficult to accurately estimate how many Pomodoros were needed to complete this blog post (best guesstimate: 1 ¾ Pomodoros).

Give the Pomodoro Technique a try and let us know what you think