Not Enough Hours In The Day? Try The Pomodoro Technique

December 24, 2015  |  
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Ever feel like 24 hours is simply not enough time to tackle all the items on your mile-long to-do list?  Whether you’re a freelancer, a consultant or a student, maybe the Pomodoro Technique can help.  A time management method created by developer Francesco Cirillo, pomodoro, which is Italian for tomato, is named after the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used to keep track of his work.  With the technique, tasks are broken down into (typically) 25-minute intervals and separated by breaks of 5 minutes or more.  Follow these simple Pomodoro Technique steps to improve your concentration and make better use of your precious time.

Step 1

Before you begin, determine your personal objectives for employing the Pomodoro Technique.  For example, maybe you want to be more efficient. Knowing your objectives will keep you that much more on track.

Step 2

Determine how much effort any given activity or task on your to-do list requires.  Be realistic.  Organizing your work space might take more time than drafting an important email, for example.

Step 3

Set your timer.  Minimize and avoid potential interruptions (like social media or your ringing phone) that will distract you from completing the task at hand and in the time you’ve allotted.

Step 4

Work, work, work — and review your work, if necessary.

Step 5

Take a break.  You’ve earned it.  Even if you don’t want to interrupt the flow or momentum you’ve gained, a break will help you recharge.  And stay offline to keep your mind sharp and focused.

Step 6

Do it all over again!  Either return to the task you were working on, or start a new one entirely.

Tick, Tock

If you finish your task before the time you allotted is up, use the remaining time to complete a shorter task or to review your productivity.  Maybe you’ll discover a way to improve the completion of your next task.


After you’ve made it through one pomodoro (25 minutes), take a 5 minute break (stretch, take a walk, etc).  Do four pomodoro tasks and you can take a longer, 15- to 30-minute break.

The Timer

You don’t need to purchase the actual tomato-shaped timer to utilize the Pomodoro Technique.  Any old kitchen timer will do, or you can download one online for your phone, laptop or tablet.

To Review

With enough time and continued implementation of the technique, you should begin to notice a change in the length of time it takes you to complete common tasks and in your level of concentration.

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