Pomodoro Productivity Technique: What and How It Works

7 Jul, 2022 | Read in 7 minutes

This strategy will help you ease your tasks and work so that you can be more productive. It eliminates small distractions that you used to do. Follow the quick tips to implement it!


“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” - Napoleon Hill

Have you ever heard before about the popular Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is one of the productivity strategies that helps you complete projects more quickly by dividing your focus time and your distraction time.

Many people admit that the Pomodoro Technique changed their lives. To dig deeper into the Pomodoro Technique, we break it down for you. Let’s check this out!

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

It was Francesco Cirillo who initiated the Pomodoro Technique for managing time in the late 1980s.

He was struggling to focus on his study and complete the other tasks. Due to exhaustion, he tried to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. He found a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (Pomodoro in Italian) to embrace his focus challenge. So that was the reason behind the name Pomodoro Technique.

Through Francesco Cirillo's official website, here's the simple Pomodoro Technique for completing tasks:

  1. Sort tasks on the to-do list and a timer
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Do the task, don't open things that distract you for a while
  4. Stop doing the task when the timer goes off
  5. Take a short break of 3-5 minutes
  6. Repeat steps number 2-5, when it's 4 times in a row, take a long break (15-30 minutes), and go back to step number 1

The benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

1. Get rid of the distractions

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Maybe you easily get distracted throughout your work time. Do you know that this can happen because there is no designated time to take a break and focus? So you can easily allow yourself to get distracted.

The Pomodoro Technique gives you designated time to focus and get distractions. So you know when you'll be engaged at work and when to get distracted for a moment.

2. Give limits on open-ended work

If you're not careful, open-ended tasks like research, writing, or learning might go on for hours. By including these types of tasks in this technique, you give them a deadline, which will enable you to finish them in a specific amount of time and divide the workload into manageable parts.

3. Makes work more like a game

If you enjoy playing games, the Pomodoro Technique may be a lot of fun for you. The timer serves as a countdown for the current activity, giving you the impression that you are racing against time to complete a level or win the game. Gamifying important tasks can significantly increase productivity because it provides fun and challenges to break up boring moments.

4. Procrastination-busting strategy

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The Pomodoro Technique might keep you motivated if you struggle with procrastination. By using this strategy, you can plan your work so that you know when and how long to put in. It eliminates the need to talk for yourself because everything is all planned out for you.

Break down your major projects, tasks, or goals into something you can complete in the next 25 minutes. It keeps you fully focused on the one item you have to do next instead of allowing you to become overwhelmed by the scope of your task. Take it one Pomodoro at a time; don't worry about the result.

How can Pomodoro Technique be effective based on personal experiences?

Kate Boogard is a freelance writer who once shared her experience setting the Pomodoro Technique while working at The Muse.

She likes the technique. She doesn’t believe in improving productivity at work as suggested before. She used to write a to-do list and finish it. But then she realises that, unlike the other techniques, the Pomodoro Technique focuses on making the best use of time. It's different from struggling to add or decrease the time to get things done.

Moreover, in her opinion, this technique sets us “under pressure” to focus and complete the task. It is like we “only” have 25 minutes to complete the task.

This technique makes her more energised. Every 25 minutes, she has time to take a break from focusing on the device screen and avoid sitting down all day during her work.

Besides that, she said that the Pomodoro Technique only has one downside that makes it difficult to manage meeting times. It's impossible to ask permission or take a break for 5 minutes during the meeting, she tries to turn off the timer during the meeting and turn it back on after the meeting is done.

Besides Boogard, there are Shama Hyder (founder & CEO of Zen Media), Kat Cohen (founder & CEO of IvyWise), and Danielle Sabrina (CEO of Tribe Builder Media) find the Pomodoro Technique so helpful.

Some people recommend the Pomodoro Technique, which divides work into intervals of typically 25 minutes in length, followed by short breaks to increase productivity. Keep in mind that a short break helps you to reset and concentrate better on the task at hand.

But meetings would prevent this technique from working in these situations. Research shows that deep productivity takes about 23 minutes, so in other words, the Pomodoro Technique may not fit everyone.

In its implementation, you can try to modify the Pomodoro Technique according to your preference. The important thing is you must know yourself well, to make this technique work well to boost your productivity.

Tips to do the Pomodoro Technique

1. Set a plan

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You must spend at least 15 minutes planning your sessions before you begin working. Make a list of things to do and note how long each one will require. Remember that to stay organised, any work that requires more than five Pomodoros should be divided into smaller ones.

A Pomodoro can also be used to group small tasks like calling a coworker or sending an email. You should make sure that you don't go beyond sixteen Pomodoros per day if you work eight hours or more every day. Consider delaying the less important tasks if this occurs.

2. Get a timer

Photo by Tristan Gassert on Unsplash

The whole point of the Pomodoro Technique is better time management. So, it won't work well without using a timer. You don't need to spend money on special time management tools. Your phone's timer works as well. So you have to:

  1. Choose the daily tasks you want to complete: Pick a project that needs to move forward or a task that needs to be completed in a day.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes: You must divide your workday into 25-minute segments. This is the time to carry out your plan and complete your tasks.
  3. Work until the timer alerts you: If you're not used to this technique, you might feel compelled to check your phone, chat with a buddy, or respond to emails before the timer goes over. Avoid getting into this trap. Work on it till you are alerted.
  4. Enjoy the break: It's time to stand up and take a break, even if you've achieved a state of flow. Remember that working nonstop without short breaks might result in stress, lack of concentration, exhaustion, and burnout.

3. Pomodoros overflow is important

Building a buffer of two to four overflow Pomodoros is important, though. These Pomodoros should be used for tasks that take longer than you expected or for unexpected things that happen during the workday.

If everything goes according to plan, you can use the extra Pomodoros to read a nice book or focus on low-priority tasks that you constantly put off.

4. Change the length of your Pomodoros

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You may need to work long hours at some jobs to finish them. You need to be in the state of flow for tasks like writing, coding or producing content if you want to create significant works. 25 minutes may be adequate when in the flow state.

Therefore, by extending your sessions and taking breaks, you can be more productive. You can try a 90-minute session with a 20 to 30-minute break.

In Conclusion

If you always:

  • Get distracted during your workday
  • Like to go beyond the maximum point at work
  • Have the bulk of tasks that take a lot of time
  • Enjoy a new workstyle

The Pomodoro Technique may suit you well. This strategy will help you ease your tasks and work so that you can be more productive. It eliminates small distractions that you used to do. Also, the Pomodoro Technique allows you to enjoy “break time” in order to be more focused on the next tasks. Try it now and feel the difference!

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