Pomodoro technique

By Anastasia Nenova · Updated November 10, 2022

Managing daily workloads shouldn't be too stressful, but it can sometimes be. When you couple busy days with poorly managed schedules, things can get rather messy. In turn, that leads to mental fatigue and in some cases, maybe even burnout.

With remote working becoming more widespread these days, many of us are in a new, unfamiliar working environment, without colleagues to bounce off and our regular routines displaced. We are liable to distraction and as a result, could benefit from a new approach to focusing. 

The Pomodoro technique can help, and we think you should take a look at the concept of it, so let's jump in, and explore the strategy.

When we have a lot of work to do, it can be difficult for us to stay motivated and productive, which can cause burnout and mental fatigue.

This has gotten harder as more businesses transition to remote work because it's difficult to manage our time when we don't have a work environment, and we are exposed to countless distractions.

Time management strategies like the Pomodoro Technique can be beneficial in these circumstances. This method enables you to complete your tasks quickly, especially if you have a lengthy and varied to-do list.

Millions of people have vouched for the life-changing potential of the Pomodoro- a technique which is named after an Italian Tomato, of all things!

In order to encourage prolonged attention and prevent mental tiredness, this well-known time management technique requires you to alternate focused work spurts called Pomodoros with frequent short breaks.

The Pomodoro Technique is for you if you:

  • Find that small distractions frequently ruin an entire day's work
  • Work consistently past your productivity peak
  • Have a lot of unfinished work that could take forever (e.g., studying, research, etc.)
  • Are excessively enthusiastic about how much you can accomplish in a day (but don't?)
  • Enjoy goal-setting that is gamified
  • Enjoy tomatoes and Pomodoro timers!

What is the Pomodoro technique?

Pomodoro technique

Francesco Cirillo created the Pomodoro technique, a well-known productivity and time management method developed in the late 1980s. Cirillo was having trouble concentrating on his academics and completing his assignments.

He challenged himself to devote only 10 minutes of concentrated study time because he was feeling overwhelmed. The Pomodoro Technique was developed when he was inspired by the challenge and discovered a tomato-shaped kitchen timer.

How can the Pomodoro Technique boost your productivity?

Let's explore why this basic time-management technique is so impactful:

Prevents interruptions

You are more likely to take unneeded breaks if you give yourself the whole day to complete a task. The Pomodoro Method structures your time and energy, leaving little to no time for distractions, and makes you stay focused.

This helps boost self-awareness and self-control, which will help you better withstand interruptions.

Discourages procrastination

You have to practice discipline if you want to overcome procrastination. However, self-discipline is challenging without the right framework and guidelines.

The Pomodoro Technique encourages you to complete your task one Pomodoro timer at a time, relieving procrastination's stress.

Makes you mindful of your time management

You are forced to become conscious of how you spend your time when you use a timer. You could become more productive by better organizing your daily routine (and even your life).

Increases the amount and quality of your tasks

It's amazing how much value you can put into a task when you know you only have 25 minutes to finish it.

It becomes simpler to put your greatest work out right away rather than waiting until the very last minute when you're working within the constraints of your timer alerts.

Quick tips for effective use of the Pomodoro timer

While the Pomodoro Technique's fundamental aspect comprises of 25/5 minute work/break intervals, there are certain ways to increase the effectiveness of your Pomodoros:

Plan out your Pomodoros in advance

Pomodoros Plan

It's important to plan out your Pomodoros in advance. Plan out your Pomodoros at the start of your workday, or at the end if you prep and plan for the following day.

Take a look at your daily to-do list and take note of how many Pomodoros each task will require.

Make sure your total number of Pomodoros for the day doesn't exceed sixteen if you have an 8-hour workday. If they do, schedule the least important tasks for later in the week.

Avoid using screens during breaks

Breaks vary greatly from one another. When the timer goes off during one of your computer-based Pomodoro work sessions, resist the temptation to log onto social media or use your phone immediately.

Take a break from your computer screen for your eyes and brain to rest. Get up, walk around, stretch, go outdoors, practice some meditation, and get something to eat.

Fold some laundry or clean off the kitchen table if you work from home.

Whatever you do, being away from the bright hypnosis of your computer or phone will make your brain much more mentally rejuvenating.

Organize your Pomodoros with an app

We are only human, and it's quite difficult to actually stick to your Pomodoros, no matter how motivated you are when the day begins. Use a break reminder app to hold yourself accountable.

The best ones allow you to personalize the length of your work periods, the invasiveness of your reminders, and the rigor with which you enforce breaks. Some will prevent you from using your computer when you're taking breaks.

We have developed an intuitive and easy-to-use web app for that matter. You will be able to add the 5 most important tasks to complete each day, and a timer you can fully control.

The defaults are 25 min for each Pomodoro, a short break is 5 min, and a long break (after 4 pomodoros) is 10 min long. You can get FREE access here.

Downsides of the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is no exception; every method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The Pomodoro technique could be detrimental to your productivity in particular situations. Use a different approach if your work calls for imagination or brainstorming.

This is due to the Pomodoro Technique's unsuitability for creative activity. For tasks that call for idea generation, idea evaluation, or brainstorming, it's ineffective.

Additionally, there is the issue of efficacy. With the Pomodoro Technique, increased productivity isn't a guarantee.

You need to test this method to determine whether it works for you. Try a different method if you start to procrastinate or lose focus.

What is the 52-17 rule in the time management method?

The Pomodoro Technique and the 52-17 rule in time management work in the same way. Simply program your clock to run for 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break.

Taking 17-minute breaks every 52 minutes may not always be realistic or practical, even though the 52-17 rule has been shown to be effective for individuals. For instance, this technique has a better chance of succeeding over the course of a week than it does as a quick assignment that needs to be completed in an hour.

Nevertheless, it's crucial to understand how to truly maximize both your working and resting time, regardless of whether you take a short break of 5-minutes or a longer break of 30-minutes.

This popular time management method was first presented in an article for The Muse in 2014, and a lot of other media sites have since covered it.

FAQ

What are the 5 steps in the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique's main principle is to divide your day into carefully timed blocks of intense continuous work, with breaks allotted for recuperating. You only need a timer, a pen, and some paper to get started.

Here is a breakdown of how the Pomodoro technique works:

  • Decide on a single task you'll work on and write it down.
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, mark your task with a checkmark. This is done to help you move smoothly from one Pomodoro to the next.
  • Take a quick five-minute breather.
  • Followed by 25 more minutes of work.

This routine is repeated 3-4 times followed by a long break of 10-25 minutes. As long as the fundamental framework is followed, the steps can be slightly customized with minor adjustments to break times.

The choice of how often the work cycle is repeated is entirely up to the individual. It can be used repeatedly during the course of a full workday or until a specific task is completed.

Does Pomodoro Technique actually work?

The Pomodoro method is extremely efficient because it enables distraction-free time management and task completion. It's also advantageous because it encourages practicing discipline and thinking about your tasks.

This method is designed to reduce multitasking and boost concentration.

You start getting more done in less time.

You will accomplish more in a shorter period of time, and increased productivity is achieved. As you don't let other tasks or social media distract you or fill your mind with pointless information.

You can evaluate how well tasks are completed.

Particularly when you consider how long the task took to complete. For instance, you needed a day to finish one task since it was too extensive. The other task was completed in two Pomodoros, and so on.

You can see how goals and tasks are connected.

The goal is accomplished in little increments (tasks), and by crossing off completed tasks, you can see where you are in relation to the goal.

By considering your needs, you can tweak this technique.

Ability to adapt. For instance, when working in an office, you may prolong your Pomodoro breaks or have more time for longer breaks.

You acquire the ability to plan your everyday tasks efficiently.

Establishing priorities and being aware of the potential length of tasks.

Is Pomodoro always 25 minutes?

Although the Pomodoro method is typically 25 minutes long, the core process is flexible in terms of setting a session time.

Although the recommended and average Pomodoro session length is 25 minutes, some people prefer 15-minute sessions, especially if they struggle with learning or concentration. Other people might choose 50-minute sessions that include a 10-minute break.

Test different session lengths to see which one suits you the best.

For certain tasks, you might want to use sessions of varying lengths. To fit within the timeframe you have available, you can also alter how long a session lasts.

Some individuals might decide they just have 20 minutes left before they have to leave, in which case they won't conduct a session and waste the rest of their day. Do a 20-minute session instead to avoid missing out on productivity completely.

In order to choose a session length that will work for you, consider the period of time that you're most effective while working. Remember, that may alter depending on the task at hand or other circumstances.

To wrap things up: Is the Pomodoro Technique worth it?

Set a goal for yourself to complete a specific amount of Pomodoros each day, and then take some time to evaluate how it went and how you can improve your focus more effectively in the future.

The Pomodoro Technique introduces some humor into goal-setting and time management. You might set a target for yourself to complete multiple tasks or a challenging task in a specific number of Pomodoros.

Additionally, thinking in tomatoes rather than time is more enjoyable and fun.

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