Using the Pomodoro Technique to Stay Focused
The Pomodoro Technique could be your ultimate hack for focus and relief during the workday—and we’re not talking about tomatoes! Read more for tips on using my favorite method for achieving concentration and calm while working.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
In the 1980’s, a man by the name Francesco Cirillo found himself overwhelmed and distracted while attempting to study. By grabbing a tomato-shaped timer and breaking his work into shorter periods of time, he found that his concentration increased and he was able to get through all of his tasks. The Pomodoro Technique has been used as a time management system ever since.
How Can I Implement This in My Workday?
Start by creating a to-do list and find a timer (I like to use my phone’s timer, but there are also browser extensions made for this). Set your timer for 25 minutes; while this is the increment of time suggested for this method, it can be adjusted to fit your schedule and preference. After 25 minutes of focusing on one task, take a 5 minute break. Don’t forget to write down each pomodoro in your planner or a notepad, like the Today’s Schedule Notepad or Task Overview Notepad. With these notepads, there’s space to write the time for each pomodoro and break. Note the tasks that were completed, and leave a checkmark or symbol next to each pomodoro block once completed. It’s also common for users of this technique to use tally marks to keep track of how many pomodoros they have finished. I recommend using a distinct ink color, like the Kaco Turbo Retractable Gel Pen | Blue Black, or a shape from our Mini Shape Sticker Set | Transparent | Cortado to tally your pomodoros.
Since the breaks are meant to rest both your mind and body between tasks, try to avoid technology that might add to fatigue during your 5 minutes. I tend to use the break time to stretch, take a moment away from my desk, hydrate, or even journal.
After repeating the process for 4 more pomodoros, take a longer break, typically 15 minutes or more. The process should then be repeated until you’ve completed your tasks for the day.
This technique is meant to combat distractions, so if something comes up — such as another pressing task or social media alert, make a note of it on your notepad or a sticky note like the Note Neutrality Sticky Notes | Cotton, and assign time to address it after your current pomodoro timer. If an unavoidable distraction comes up, take a short break and start your timer again.
We hope that the Pomodoro Technique will help you as much as it helped us! Let us know about any other time management methods that you love in the comments below.
Debbie Smith said:
Thank you! I’ve read of this technique but it’s helpful to have real examples of how it works and tools I have (stickies, highlighters, pens) that can help!