The pomodoro technique

So you heard about the pomodoro technique and of course you want to know more...

Is it just another productivity hack that will waste your time?

Well, actually, you can implement the pomodoro technique with nothing more than a simple timer, paper and pencil and you won't recognise yourself on the other side.

What is the pomodoro technique?

The pomodoro technique is a time management framework that will improve your focus and productivity. It encourages you to work within the time you have, rather than struggle against it.

You will finish each day with a sense of accomplishment by doing nothing more than working in 25-minute blocks (called pomodoro sessions), followed by 5-minute breaks.

The pomodoro technique is popular with freelancers wanting to track time, students wishing to study more effectively and anyone looking to improve themselves at work or in their personal projects.

The pomodoro technique is simple, yet very effective.

Why the tomato? 🍅

Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. The pomodoro technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo as a university student, when he used a tomato timer to measure his 25-minute sessions. These intervals became known as pomodoros and the technique became its namesake.

How does the pomodoro technique work?

  • 1. Choose task

  • 2. Focus

  • 3. Start

  • 4. Short Break

  • 5. Repeat

  • 6. Long Break

How does the pomodoro technique work

1. Choose a task

You know that task you have been trying to tackle for ages? Let's do that.

2. Focus

Minimize distractions.

Close emails, shut social media, switch your phone to on do not disturb, close the door. Learning to manage distractions is one of the key skills the pomodoro technique will teach you, it is only 25 minutes after all.

3. Work

Pick a task, start a 25-minute timer and get to work. When using the pomodoro technique there is no concept of pause, stick to your chosen task for the full session and note any distractions you need to come back to.

4. Short Break

Well done. Session complete. Step away from your desk for five minutes, clear your mind, stretch your legs or grab a refreshment.

5. Repeat

Start the timer again for another session.

6. Long Break

After your fourth session take a 20 minute break and come back completely refreshed.

To make learning pomodoro easier, we turned this process into a FREE 2-page guide and planning resource to help you get started.

Why does the pomodoro technique work?

Sometimes when faced with a large task or series of tasks it can be hard to get started, or maintain motivation. By breaking the work into short intervals that are followed by short breaks the task becomes more manageable, it becomes a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.

The process works to train your brain to focus and helps you make progress despite the myriad of distractions out there.

Sometimes sheer willpower isn't enough but the pomodoro technique will keep you accountable.

“Perfectionism prevents action. Waiting until you have devised the perfect solution to something is merely a form of procrastination.”

― Staffan Noteberg, Pomodoro Technique Illustrated

If you finish your days disappointed by how little you achieve, you owe it to yourself to try the pomodoro technique.

Invented to break unapproachable tasks into manageable pieces so all you need to do is get started, then the pomodoro task will help you do the rest.

Low productivity

You wonder where the time went and what you have to show for it? The pomodoro technique will quickly reveal this.

Easily distracted

The day disappears as you click from email to blog post to social media but you feel depleted, disenchanted with life and disappointed with your progress. You know you are wasting time.

Lack of focus

At the end of each day you realise you didn't complete anything you intended to. You spent the day dealing with whatever jumped in front of you, while you managed to ignore everything that would have made you feel like you accomplished something.

Zero motivation

No matter what you do, you just can't get started on that big project. You know it is important, maybe even essential but actually doing it doesn't light your fire.

You feel exhausted

During the day you are so tired. You barely leave your desk because you have so much to do but you are leaving quality on the table because you are burnt out. You need the pomodoro technique to ensure you take regular breaks and stay fresh throughout the day.

If this is you, try our FREE 2-page guide and planning resource to help you get started with pomodoro.

Tim Ferriss recommends the pomodoro technique

"The biggest problem (for those having a hard time starting an important task) is that people bite off too much. Start small. I like the Pomodoro technique for this. Commit to one sprint (using a timer). It will help overcome the procrastination inertia (or lack thereof)."

Will the pomodoro technique work for me?

The pomodoro technique is great if you have a long list of to-do’s, jump between a lot of tasks throughout the day, and leave the office asking yourself: “What did I actually accomplish”. Also, if you work on large projects that seem to have neither end nor beginning, breaking it up will help you make constant progress.

Want to give the pomodoro technique a try?

Getting started with the pomodoro technique is simple, just pick a task, set a timer and start working.

To make learning pomodoro easier, we made a FREE 2-page guide complete with planning resource.

If you would prefer to try an app, focus booster is a simple and effective implementation of the pomodoro technique and it has great training and resources to help you learn the technique. You can sign-up here.

FAQ

How do I achieve my goals with the technique?

Write them down before you start. We like to keep monthly and weekly goals and then plan our days to work toward them.

The best part about the pomodoro technique is that it really helps you get started by making big projects digestible.

What other frameworks does the pomodoro technique work with?

There are lots of apps specifically for the pomodoro technique, some are pomodoro timers others are entire time tracking and management systems.

You can use other productivity methodologies with the technique too like getting things done or a kanban workflow.

Who doesn't it work for?

The pomodoro technique doesn't work for people who can't see themselves taking regular breaks. Although you can alter your session time and break to make them longer if that suits you. Breaks promote mental agility, focus and flow, without them you risk burnout.

Also when using the pomdoro technique you aren't supposed to pause or context switch (no distractions), so you need to keep this in mind when considering the technique.

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