The Pomodoro Technique And How to Be 5 Times More Productive

Last updated on September 16th, 2020

We have all come across numerous time management techniques and ways to work more productively, and they all suggest to make the best use of our time and work more productively. 

I would like to introduce you to one of them which I use frequently.

1. The "TOMATO" Pomodoro Technique

This is the Pomodoro technique developed by the Italian Francesco Cirillo.

Pomodoro is Italian and means tomato. The name comes from the fact that Cirillo used a kitchen timer for his technique, which was shaped like a tomato.

Pomodoro technique: 25-minute units for focused work

2. The Tomato Work Unit

Cirillo divided his effective time into work units of 25 minutes each – because his tomato clock could be set to 25 minutes.

After each work unit he takes a short break of 5 minutes. And after 4 working units he takes a longer 30 minutes break.

In short:

1 work unit = 25 minutes
A break of 5 minutes between each work unit
1 long break of 30 minutes after 4 units

Working in these “tomato” time units actually contributes to an increase in productivity, as one usually strives to complete the work in the specified time.

Time Management with tomatos

3. Switch Off Productivity Killers

To make the Pomodoro Technique effective, you should first ask yourself what is preventing you from working productively.

The usual suspects are probably the time killers that creep into our daily work routine.

This includes any kind of unwanted interruptions and disturbances, such as telephone calls, meetings, chats or other distractions.

Being permanently online is another seducer par excellence: checking your e-mails, a new status message on Facebook, a new WhatsApp message, what’s happening on Twitter …?

The Pomodoro technique is all about eliminating these time-consuming tasks as far as possible during a session so that you can devote 25 minutes to the task at hand, undisturbed and fully concentrated.

4. The Unit Length - Why 25 Minutes?

You can of course set any other unit length, but in practice the 25 minutes have proven to be optimal for small to medium sized tasks that need to be done.

You may ask yourself how you set tasks that require exactly 25 minutes of your time. There are three ways to get to such work units:

  1. You have 1 task that you can complete in 25 minutes.
  2. You combine several small tasks (e.g. checking incoming e-mails, replying to  chat message, posting a letter) into one work unit.
  3. You divide a big job into 25-minute units.
Of course if you work on bigger projects which require some time to dive into you can increase the units but the key idea is to take breaks in-between and plan your units ahead.

5. And how Do i measure it?

For the Pomodoro technique, well, you guessd right: a simple kitchen timer is the way to go – it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the shape of a tomato. 😉

The far more elegant solution is an hourglass. It makes a good picture on your desk, too.

Then there are quite a few digital options, see below. 

And the easiest way: Use the countdown or alarm clock function of your smartphone.

6. Pomodoro Technique Apps and Software

Of course there is also Pomodoro software. Below is a list of free apps and web based software for Pomodoro timekeeping.

Pomodoro counters for your web browser:
Tomato Timer

Pomodoro apps for the iPhone (iOS):
Flat Tomato

Pomodoro apps for Android:

Click to visit the official website of the Pomodoro Technique.

TomatoTimer Screenshot

7. Pomodoro Quotes:

“One day we will be more creative, more productive, and yet more relaxed.” – Francesco Cirillo

“The timetable is protracted, fatigue increases, productivity drops, and the timetable again is protracted.” – Francesco Cirillo

“Apple shows us how important it is to reject 1,000 good ideas so that a really great idea can survive.” – Francesco Cirillo

“Reduce the stress caused by the pressure of time by using the Pomodoro Technique.”- Francesco Cirillo

“I discovered that you could learn how to improve your effectiveness and be better able to estimate how long a task will take to complete by recording how you utilize your time.” – Francesco Cirillo

In spirit, give it a try and have a productive day!

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