Pomodoro Time Management Technique

If you’ve made the jump to a standing desk, chances are you’re noticing some nice little side-effects such as improved concentration, mood and increased energy. To train your brain to focus even more, try this simple method that has helped me maximize my work time.

The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. Then a university student, Cirillo named the system “Pomodoro” after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used to track his study time. He used the timer to break larger projects into short, focused time blocks (called “Pomodoros”). These intense segments train your mind to focus. With practice, they can help to improve concentration and attention span. A short break between each Pomodoro helps to increase motivation and keep your mind relaxed. ​

How does the Pomodoro Time Management Technique work?

The beauty of the Pomodoro Time Management Technique is its simplicity; you’ll notice the effects almost immediately. All you need is a timer (I use my phone) and a piece of paper. That’s it. To get started, just follow these six steps:

  1. Choose a task you’d like to get done and write it on your piece of paper
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work on that task until the timer goes off
  4. When the timer goes off, put a checkmark next to the task
  5. Take a short 5-10 minute break
  6. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer 20 or 30 minute break

Repeat this process until the task is complete. Then you can cross it off of your to-do list. It’s important to treat each Pomodoro as an indivisible block of work. If you are interrupted or distracted, you either have to stop the Pomodoro and start over, or somehow postpone the interruption. Also important to note is that it is okay to go over the 25-minute time slot if you’ve got a good rhythm and you’re close to finishing the task. The important thing is to get in the zone, stay focused without switching tasks, and then take frequent, short breaks to rest your mind.

I have used the Pomodoro time management technique to great success. If you’re thinking “That sounds great but it would never work at my job.” I would encourage you examine how many seemingly “urgent” interruptions really can’t be postponed for 25 minutes. Even one or two Pomodoros per day can have a dramatic impact on your time effectiveness. 

More information on how to use the Pomodoro technique, its benefits, and tips for managing distractions can be found at pomodorotechnique.com