The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is an innovative approach to productivity developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. In essence, it suggests having five-minute breaks for every 25-minute work interval, which is named 'pomodoro' (tomato in Italian) after the classic kitchen timer used by the concept's creator.

The general reasoning as to why it works is that it helps you become more focused, avoiding distractions from both yourself and your colleagues. It's also a great excuse to brush chatty colleagues aside.

This time management technique follows stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualising that are essential for its success. For example, there's only so much you can do in a day. So, by planning, you have an overview of what's more urgent and hence what to get your hands on first. This helps prevent undue stress as well. Also, when tasks are set within a time goal, there is an adrenaline rush and a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Try it for a couple of hours. It might just be the key to increasing your work productivity. Here's the know-how:

Pomodoro Recipe


1. Pencil and paper for your to-do list

2. A kitchen timer or set a 25 minutes countdown on your mobile phone


1. Tasks in order of priority

2. Determination to be productive today


Start your day by planning it and list them in order of priority – decide on the top three things you have to get done. You don't have to begin with the most important task at hand but be realistic about what you can do in a day.

Set the pomodoro or timer to 25 minutes. Now, focus and work on the task. No multitasking here.

When the timer sounds, take a short break of about 5 minutes. Gaze at something green or take a quick bathroom break. For every four pomodoros, take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

And if the Pomodoro Technique works for you, you will be glad to know that it only takes 20 days to make it a habit.

For those with an iPhone, you will be glad to know that there are several free Pomodoro apps such as Pomodoro Me and the Pomodoro Time Management Lite from rapidrabbit among others.

Related links: The Pomodoro Technique, Free Pomodoro Technique Guide

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