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What is Pomodoro?

For many, the word “pomodoro” is nothing more than a pasta sauce. But for others, the Pomodoro Method is a lifesaving time management system designed to maximize productivity and focus, all while providing you with creative freshness throughout the work day.

What is the Pomodoro Method?

The Pomodoro Method was created in the late 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo, then a university student. Cirillo struggled focusing on and completing assignments, so he decided to commit himself to a focused study time of 10 minutes. He grabbed a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (pomodoro in Italian), and from that, the Pomodoro Method was born.

Cirillo went on to write a book about Pomodoro, emphasizing that it’s greatest strength was in its simplicity. It didn’t require bulky equipment, confusing software, or leather bound daily planners. All you need is a timer and a to-do list.

How does the Pomodoro Method work?

Pomodoro is perhaps the simplest productivity solution you’ve ever tried. In fact, it was designed to maximize your productivity in just five easy steps.

  1. Pick a task

Pick a task, any task! Could be anything from an important presentation deck you’ve been meaning to finish to drafting a blog post. With Pomodoro, you work on every task for the same amount of time, so pick one at the top of your priority list and work your way down.

  1. Focus & Work

Once you’ve picked which task you’ll be working on, grab a timer. Could be the timer on your phone, computer, tablet, or a tomato timer you picked up from Crate and Barrel. Whichever you choose, set it for 25 minutes and get to work. It’s important that you eliminate distractions, so as to dedicate the full 25 minutes to uninterrupted work. That means close your email, silence Slack & text messages, and put your phone on do not disturb. It’s also helpful to work in a space where you won’t be interrupted by coworkers or two year olds.

Once your workspace is distraction free, start working and don’t stop until the timer sounds. With Pomodoro, you shouldn’t take time to pause for a water or bathroom break, that will come later. Stick to your task for the full 25 minutes.

  1. Take a break

Once the 25 minutes are up, take five minutes to clear your head, go to the bathroom, respond to distractions, and grab a snack. It’s important to not go from task to task (or from Pomodoro to Pomodoro) without taking a short break to stay fresh and focused.

  1. Repeat

Pick another task and get back to work with 25 more minutes of uninterrupted focus.

  1. Take a (longer) break

After you’ve completed four sessions, take a 20-30 minutes break to completely unwind and take care of anything that’s come up during your Pomodoros.

That’s it. I wasn’t lying when I said it was simple.

Will the Pomodoro Method work for me?

To answer this question, it’s easiest to point out how the Pomodoro Method fights back against some of productivity’s biggest killers.

Lack of Focus

Focusing is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do on a daily basis. Especially when it comes to tasks we aren’t particularly excited about or that we think will take forever. With Pomodoro, you’re only asked to focus for 25 minutes at a time, rather than for the entire day. Frequent breaks are built in to keep your mind fresh and your stress level low.

Never ending to-do lists

Almost everybody keeps a to-do list. Which means that almost everyone has had moments where they feel like they’re drowning in to-do’s and nothing will ever get done. Enter Pomodoro. Instead of looking at your list as a whole, pick one thing. Then get to work. Focusing on a single line item instead of the entire list will take you from drowning to a confident breaststroke in no time.

No motivation

Lack of motivation is a real thing. It happens to everyone and can strike at any moment. Pomodoro takes into account these strikes and fights back by giving you a timer to work to. By telling your brain you only have to stay motivated for 25 more minutes, 15 more minutes, 5 more minutes, 1 more minute, you’re much more likely to stay on task without feeling burnt out.

Too many distractions

Our work life is full of possible distractions. Emails, phone calls, texts, notifications, fires to put out, kids to feed… the list is almost endless. A normal work day has you focus on these distractions whenever they come up, paying special attention to them during your morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks. Employing the Pomodoro Method, you silence distractions temporarily, focusing on them completely for five minutes between sessions. This keeps distractions out of your work without feeling like you’re putting them off forever.

The Pomodoro Method isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve struggled finding a productivity solution in the past, you might consider giving it a try. It might just be the solution you’ve been searching for.

Rylee Williams

Rylee Williams