Time Management: The Pomodoro Technique

by Max
3rd March 2022    
Image of a clock drawn with chalk

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

It involves using a timer to block out time for individual tasks and focusing only on that task until the timer goes.

It gets its unique name from the tomato kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a student to time his blocks of time!

The process is simple and easy to use.

This guide will break down the steps involved in creating your own Pomodoros, as well as when you may want to apply this technique!

The Pomodoro Technique can help everyone working at any level. Fundamentally it involves you working on something consistently and taking regular breaks.


The Pomodoro Technique – Explained

Here is how the Pomodoro Technique works step by step.

1. Choose the task that you need to complete next.
2. Set your timer for a block of time (often called a ‘Pomodoro’). This can be any length of time but many people use 25 minutes.
3. Work on the task to the exclusion of everything else until the timer rings. This means that you don’t answer the phone if it rings or reply to texts.
4. Take a short break – often people use 5 minutes for the break. Again when you are relaxing this is 100% relaxing so not checking emails / surfing the web etc.

That’s it. You can do this for any task! Creating this balance of work and relaxation consistently throughout your day ensures you work to your fullest potential and don’t burn out. The common conception is that you spend less time working, but you actually spend more time working well.

Many people report that they feel they achieve more in 8 pomodoros (so 5 hours in total) than they would do in a normal, scattered 8 hour workday.

Photo of clocks


The Pomodoro Technique – Applied

For an example, say you need to get on top of your emails.

You set aside a 25-minute block to sort them out. If you haven’t finished them you would then take a break and start another pomodoro until you are caught up on your emails.

Many people also choose to batch pomodoros together.

A widely used schedule is that after four pomodoros you schedule a longer break of perhaps 30 minutes. This means that four pomodoros constitute a 2 1/2 hour block.

If you implement the pomodoro technique I would recommend carrying out an audit of your time (see this article on auditing your time for full details) before you do so. That way you will have a good idea of how effectively you are currently using your time to compare against.

Everyone is different and everyone has different demands on their time during a typical workday and so the exact implementation of this technique needs to be personalised.

Best of luck with finding the optimum setup for your time management!