The Pomodoro Technique

Author: Huw Jones
Published: 18th March 2020

If you’re not used to working from home you might find that The Pomodoro Technique makes all the difference.

The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. He used his tomato-shaped kitchen timer to structure his working day. Each interval of work is called a pomodoro – the Italian word for tomato. Pomodori is the plural, which is useful when you’ve completed more than one pomodoro!

Following it could have a huge impact your productivity and time management. It works by creating distinct periods of time for focussed work and breaks. Each pomodoro consists of a 25-minute block of focused work broken by five minute breaks. A 30 minute break follows the completion of four work Pomodori.

The pomodoro technique increases focus on tasks by limiting the length of time you try to maintain focus. The restorative breaks enable recovery from the effort. The method is effective in overcoming our tendencies to procrastinate and to multitask. Both of which have both been found to impair productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique helps users develop more efficient work habits. Effective time management allows people to get more done in less time, while also fostering a sense of accomplishment and reducing the potential for burnout.

Steps for the pomodoro technique:

  1. Decide on the task for the work segment.
  2. Eliminate the potential for distraction. Close email and chat programs and shut down social media and other sites that are not related to the task.
  3. Set the timer to 25 minutes.
  4. Work on the task until the timer rings; record completion of the pomodoro.
  5. Take a five minute break.
  6. When four pomodori have been completed, take a 30 minute break.

Various implementations of the pomodoro technique use different time intervals for tasks and break segments. For the breaks select an activity that contrasts with the task. If you’ve been working at a computer you should step away from the screen and do some kind of physical activity.

I use the app FocusKeeper on my phone. You can vary the timer durations and it keeps track of the breaks and counts the number of Pomodori too.

Top Tip: Don’t check email or slack first thing – you’ll get de-railed. Instead check them in the third pomodoro. That way at least you’ve got some of your own work done before you start dealing with everyone else’s mess.

Top, Top Tip: Don’t check emsail again until the afternoon (third pomodoro after lunch). That’s it for email : Twice.A.Day.

Try it. Let me know how you get on.