Do you want to:
Boost your productivity?
Be able to fly through your endless to-do list?
Stop procrastination in it’s tracks?
Have your day fly by and feel like you actually accomplished something?
Try using the Pomodoro Productivity Technique!
As I sit here writing this post, I’m actually using it.
I have always struggled to stay on task.
An email pops into my inbox, I stop what I’m doing to answer it. I get a text from a friend, before I know it I’m 30 minutes into helping her with a problem. I do a Google search for one thing and end up surfing the web for hours. And let’s not even get into how many times I’ve fallen down the Facebook or Instagram rabbit holes only to realize I wasted an hour or more.
Have any of these things ever happened to you?
It’s not that I didn’t accomplish anything, it’s more that I always feel pulled in many directions and too easily distracted.
The advantage of the Pomodoro Technique is that it pushes you to stay focused on a single task in an allotted period of time.
I discovered the Pomodoro productivity technique about a year ago and it has changed my life and ability to get stuff done. In this article, you’ll learn what it is, how it works, and why you may want to consider adding it to your daily routine.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a method of productivity. It’s a segment of undisturbed time for focusing on a particular task and then taking a small break afterwards. A typical pomodoro is 25 minutes followed by a 5 minute break. After working for 4 hours, take longer breaks such as 15-30 minutes.
Why is it called Pomodoro Technique?
Many people want to know if the Pomodoro Technique is effective for studying. It is! The founder started it to help with his own studies.
Does the Pomodoro Technique Work?
For me, the Pomodoro technique was a game changer. Instead of getting distracted by shiny objects (Facebook, email, Instagram, text messages, and random thoughts), it forces me try to get as much done as possible in 25 minute segments.
Why Does it Work and What are the Benefits?
Let’s face it, it’s incredibly easy to get distracted. By getting absorbed by things that don’t matter, you’re actually procrastinating.
Here’s why pomodoros work and benefit your productivity.
They Force You to Focus
Just like when you were taking tests in school, you have a start and end time. That pushes you to focus your attention and do your best in that time block.
Taking Breaks Makes a Big Difference in Your Mental Outlook
By taking those short breaks after each pomodoro, you’ll feel surprisingly refreshed and accomplished at the end of the day.
They Remove the Sense of Urgency from Unnecessary Distractions
This was an ah-ha moment for me.
Instead of dropping everything for things that didn’t really matter, It made me think, is this urgent?
Can it wait 25 minutes until I’m done focusing?
99% of the time, all those distractions can wait.
Since you are working in small time blocks, you’ll be able to address those other items either during a break or in another pomodoro.
How to do Pomodoro Technique
Plan your tasks for the day.
For the first 4 hours:
Set a timer for 25 minutes and work to accomplish as much as you can on one task, followed by a 5 minute break.
After 4 hours:
Set a timer for 25 minutes, then follow each by a 15-30 minute break.
That’s all there is to it! Set a timer and do your work. Take break, rinse and repeat!
Pomodoro Productivity Tips
Let others know you are not to be distracted during the scheduled time. You can follow up with them during your break.
Turn off your phone ringer, texts, notifications, and email pings. There’s nothing that can’t wait until the end of your pomodoro time.
Be sure to take the scheduled break time. You’ll want to go right into restarting the timer, but taking the break will keep you working longer and more focused ALL day.
Have a plan each day for what you are going to work on during your Pomodoro.
Bulk small tasks into one pomodoro. Things such as check email, reply to texts, short phone calls, and even posting on social media can be put into one pomodoro. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you get these small tasks done!
Guesstimate how many pomodoros it will take you to complete a task. For example, writing this blog post, I predicted it will take me 3 pomodoros to complete it. I just started my third pomodoro, so I better hurry up. By estimating the time needed, it will help you plan your day. In the beginning you may be WAY OFF on the amount of time tasks really need, but that’s only because you weren’t tracking time before. You’ll get better at knowing how long things take the more you do this.
How many Pomodoros a Day?
Most people work an 8-hour day with approximately an hour for lunch, you could feasibly schedule 12 pomodoros in a typical work day. That allows for 5 minute breaks for pomodoros for the first 4 hours and longer breaks after that time.
Is It Only for Working Or Studying?
I have used pomodoros for being more productive in my entire life!
It’s a great way to any complete task life throws at you.
For example, I HATE cleaning up the kitchen. I used to let the dishes pile up until you couldn’t see the counter. Then I started setting the timer.
I thought, fine. I’ll give this kitchen 25 minutes. Guess what? It only took me 5 minutes to unload the dishwasher, re-load it, and clean the counters! That left me with 20 minutes to stare at my sparkling kitchen or find something else to do.
I used to think cleaning up the kitchen…took. so. long.
It was a job I (obviously) avoided at all cost. But now that I know I can accomplish it so quickly, I don’t give the cleanup much thought at all anymore.
Now I clean the kitchen during my pomodoro break time! Since I know I can finish it in less than 5 minutes, I set the timer to see how fast I can get the job done. Kitchen cleaned in less than 2 minutes…yes!
Moving? Use Pomodoros!
I recently moved.
Let’s be honest, packing is not fun.
So I set the timer and focused on packing one area at a time during each pomodoro.
Other Ways You can Use Pomodoros
Practice playing an instrument
Plan your day
Organize a room of your house (or just a drawer!)
Clean up your email inbox
Learn a new hobby (think of all the things you could master if you gave it 25 minutes a day)
Ways to Track Pomodoros
Pomodoros have become such a popular productivity tool, there are a variety of ways to time them and track them to maximize your time.
This tomato kitchen timer is the original Pomodoro timer.
If you’d like to vary the times for accomplishing tasks, you can try this productivity cube. It has preset times of 5, 10, 20, and 25 minutes increments.
I recently purchased this sand 30 minute timer (it also comes with 5 and 10 minute timers). It sits on my desk and is my go-to timer. Yes, it’s longer than the standard pomodoro, but I make sure to take a break after the sand runs out.
Use an Apple iWatch as your pomodoro timer. I have an iWatch and it’s so convenient to say, “Hey Siri, set timer for 25 minutes.”
Get a pomodoro planner. The Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change is made for planning your work day using pomodoros. I have this planner. The first 34 pages cover how to plan your life/days using pomodoros for productivity. Then on the daily tasks, it has you assign a task and estimate how many pomodoros it will take to complete that task. There are circles to fill in every time you’ve completed a pomodoro as well as a follow up to show you how many pomodoros it actually took to complete.
What are the Best Pomodoro Apps
When I started tracking my pomodoros I tried out several apps. Here are some of the apps I really loved using.
More on Pomodoros for Productivity
I’m not the only one who loves pomodoros. Many popular YouTubers have adopted this productivity technique. Here’s some of the best pomodoro videos and how they can improve your efficiency.
If you don’t have a timer, that’s ok! Just hit the play button on the video below and it will start a pomodoro timer for you!
In the next video, Thomas Frank takes the time to show you the Pomodoro technique and shows ways to augment it to suit your needs. In addition, he shows off a number of great apps you may want to check out.
You really can improve your study habits with the Pomodoro technique and who would know better than a med school student? Jay from Med School Insiders shows how to improve your studying and productivity.
How to ADHD shows you how to overcome the shiny object syndrome many of us suffer from. She shows you how to get focused and stay on task with this simple kitchen timer.
In this final video, Socratica want to help you be a great student with the Pomodoro time management technique.
Give the Pomodoro Technique a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments below.
Just a side note. I anticipated it would take me 3 pomodoros to write this post. In actuality, it took me 5 pomodoros to complete. Be sure to guess and log pomodoros for each task!