The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management technique that encourages individuals to work with the time they have, rather than against it. You divide your working day into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute rest periods using this strategy. The Pomodoro are the intervals throughout which you work. After approximately four pomodoros, you take a longer break of around 15 to 20 minutes.
The technique was developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo who created the “Pomodoro” timer shaped like a tomato (the Italian word for tomato is “Pomodoro”) to measure his working intervals. The goal of the technique is quite simple: work without distractions until you finish one task or of tasks, then take a short break to recover and prepare yourself for the next task.
The core of the Pomodoro technique is the timer you use, which allows you to work in uninterrupted time chunks followed by brief breaks. Following these rules during your work session leads to a much more productive day as well as better quality output because you’re working without distractions (for example: checking social media).
The Pomodoro Technique can be applied using different kinds of timers. You can even buy a “real” Pomodoro Timer if you wish: they come in all shapes and sizes and might make a nice gift or souvenir from Italy (even though it’s not necessary). The only thing you actually need is any kind of kitchen timer that goes “beep, beep, beep”. This is also the reason why this technique is perfect for working with your laptop or tablet – you can find free timers that use your computer’s sound.
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Here are our suggestions for making the most out of the Pomodoro Technique:
Decide what you want to do with each Pomodoro
This might sound obvious, but many people simply pick up where they left off without taking any time to think about what they want to achieve during the session. So, before you begin a Pomodoro, clearly define your task and outline how long you plan to spend on it.
Set a timer for 25 minutes
A kitchen timer or stopwatch is ideal for this – anything that can give you a clear indication of when time is up! Go off it when it pings/rings/buzzes and take a short break (3-5 minutes). After four intervals, take a longer 15-minute break. Repeat as necessary throughout the day. The short breaks are great for refreshing your mind and getting those creative juices flowing!
Put all distractions aside & focus on one task at a time
Just like you can’t focus on two things at once, you can’t properly concentrate on one task if your mind is constantly flitting to the next. So switch off your phone and close any distracting browser windows or tabs before starting a Pomodoro. You may find it helpful to use free software such as Anti-Social (which limits social media access) or Freedom (which blocks other websites entirely).
Work until the timer rings then take a short break
Once time’s up, don’t just put your head down and carry on: stand up and turn away from your desk for three minutes – this will allow you to remove yourself mentally from the task at hand. Afterward, return to your seat with a fresh mindset and carry on for as long as you need.
Take a longer break after four Pomodoros
Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, reward yourself with a 15-minute break – e.g. grab a snack or make a quick phone call to a friend. This will help to re-energize your mind and body, ready for the next block of work. In fact, regular breaks can be an important part of increasing productivity as research has shown that taking short rests throughout the day helps us learn better and improves our memory. So now’s not the time to sit at your desk scrolling through Facebook!
Adjust your routine depending on how you feel
Just because someone else swears by an eight Pomodoro a day routine, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. Everyone works at different paces and there’s no rule book on how to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you feel like you could work more in a day, add another Pomodoro after your 15-minute break or shorten the length of your breaks by five minutes. Conversely, if you’re coming up for air constantly during a 25-minute session because you can’t keep focus, lengthen each break slightly.