The Pomodoro Technique – Can you use it at work?

Life hackers love it or hate it.

The pomodoro technique is one of many productivity strategies aimed at keeping you focused and increasing the amount of things you get done.

Why would I want to try the technique?

The pomodoro technique doesn’t require you to buy any folders or daily planners. You don’t even have to buy a book to get started. Simply learn the technique and go.

Other benefits include:

  • Working within the time limits that you have
  • Takes energy into account
  • A process that eliminates burnout
  • Helps you balance and measure your productivity
  • Brings awareness for managing distractions.

What is the pomodoro technique?

The pomodoro technique is a simple system for getting things done using spaced time intervals, called “pomodoros”. There is a period of work, rest and reviewing. You simply need a piece of paper, a timer and some work that needs to get done.

Who is the pomodoro for?

  • Managers that needs to get more done in short time blocks.
  • Teachers that wants to teach and shift at a particular interval.
  • Bloggers that want to get their writing done and avoid burning out.
  • Developers that get immersed in tasks and need a reminder for when to take a break.
  • Marketers that need to break out of the multitasking syndrome and get some good quality work done.

How to get started with the technique


Step 1. Choose a task that requires your full, undivided attention to get done.

It can be big or small. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you focus on one thing at a time.

Examples: blog post, press release, coding, graphic design, etc.

Step 2. Set your timer for 25 minutes.

You can buy an egg timer or use an app like

I like to use my iPhone stopwatch (built in)

Step 3. Get to work

For the next 25 minutes you are totally absorbed with this task. You work on this task and only this task. If someone comes to distract you, make small tick next to your task. If you have to change your tasks in the middle, write it down on the paper.

Step 4. When the timer rings, you mark put a check mark to indicate that you finished one cycle.

If you were distracted or had to change for some reason, the pomodoro was not done.

Step 5. Take a break

Take a real break. Go to the water cooler for some gossip, Do some meditation, yoga or walk around. The point is to rest. Sometimes I do a little dance

Step 6. Take a longer break every 4 pomodoros

This is like going into halftime after you played a few quarters. The longer break will allow your brain to process things and reflect on what’s going on.

What the pomodoro technique does not cover

Decide which tasks are important for you to do. I recommend finding a method for deciding which tasks have priority. This might include talking with your boss or using the franklin covey matrix.

Dealing with distractions. When that annoying co-worker comes up and tries to ask for your pen, you’ve got to have the communication skills to deal with that. If your client expects you to reply to email within 4 minutes, you’ll have to retrain them to respect your 25 minute block.

Little Extras

Tell your team what you are doing so they wont distract you when you are in work mode

Use the one song technique to enhance your distraction free environment

Have fun with it and look at getting things done as a game.

Your Turn

Would you use the pomodoro technique?

What questions do you have?

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