How to Use Pomodoro Technique to Boost Productivity

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
pomodoro-technique

Time is one of the most valuable resources on earth. If you lose time, you can never recover that time again. Time management is essential for both individuals and businesses. 

One of the biggest challenges many businesses face is managing their time effectively. The impact of poor time management on your business are increased costs, falling productivity levels, missed deadlines, poor quality of work, financial implications, and damaged customer relationships. 

You can manage time effectively with the right techniques and time tracking tools. One of the best time management tips you may already be familiar with is the Pomodoro technique. Millions of people from all over the world use this technique to manage their time effectively. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about using this popular time management method to boost productivity in your business or organization.

Let’s get started. 

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The origin of the Pomodoro technique can be traced to the late 1980s. A young university student named Francesco Cirillo discovered this technique. The initial idea of this technique was brought about by the inability of the young university student to successfully combine his studies and complete assignments simultaneously. 

Cirillo then decided to focus keenly on just 10 minutes of his study time. This move birthed the idea of the Pomodoro technique and it was named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used to keep tabs on the task. Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato.  

Although the initial method was detailed in a 130-page book, the biggest advantage of the Pomodoro method is in its simplicity of application. The major processes involved are: 

  • Get a to-do list and a timer
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes and limit your focus on just one task until the timer signals the end of the task session.
  • After the successful completion of one session, mark off one Pomodoro and keep a record of the progress made.
  • Take out a five-minute break after each session.
  • After successful completion of four sessions, take a longer 15-30 minute break. 

The 25-minute work session is pivotal to the success of the Pomodoro technique. You can get the best out of each session by following these 3 rules.

1. Break Down Complex Projects

Oftentimes, certain projects require more than 4 sessions. Break down these projects into smaller and easily actionable plans to aid progress tracking.  

2. Combine Smaller Tasks

There might be cases where certain tasks might not take up to the 25-minute work session. This set of tasks needs to be carried out along with other smaller tasks to fit the time frame.

3. Sticking to the Timing Period 

Once a session has been set, there must be no interruptions. If it is important, then the period will be converted to the break period. The Pomodoro cannot be broken and should be kept equal across all sessions.  

Pomodoro Technique - Session structure
Source: Ionos

What Makes Pomodoro Great For Time Management? 

The Pomodoro technique offers many benefits regarding the effective management of tasks with available time. Here is what makes the Pomodoro technique uniquely structured for efficient time management.

1. Ease of Getting Started

The complexity and bulkiness of a task or project are often the root cause of procrastination. This mentality often comes with a degree of uncertainty and doubt as to how to go about a task or project.

Procrastination statistics
Source: Phuoc Phan

As a human, you are susceptible to distractions in a bid to boost your mood. The most effective way to break out of the procrastination cycle is to break down complex tasks or goals into tiny, less intimidating bits. This ease is a luxury afforded through the use of the Pomodoro technique. 

The Pomodoro technique is an efficient procrastination combatant as it helps you break down your big and intimidating tasks, projects, or goals into smaller less intimidating bits that can be achieved within the 25 minutes time frame.  

This technique helps keep your mind off the end outcome but ensures you stay extremely focused on the next goal, task or project to be embarked on during the next 25-minute session. 

2. Effectiveness in the Combat of Distractions

The difficulty that arises from trying to regain focus on a set task after your attention has been disrupted is one of the limiting factors faced by many people. Constant buzz and rush of information often tend to divide your attention.

Oftentimes, these distractions can be avoided and should be. These disruptions as little as they may seem add up to major time loss. It is more than just the casual time lost to distractions. Recovering from such distractions to regain concentration and refocus your attention on the task takes time.  

The Pomodoro technique allows you to account for the time lost during these disruptions by providing structures to combat them. One of these structures is the 5-minute break period in between sessions. This enables you to keep tabs on the major happenings while preparing for the next session.

3. Awareness of Time

A major setback encountered when planning for future projects is the problem of underestimation of the time needed. This is a major restraint to the success of the set project or tasks. 

The Pomodoro technique is a very efficient tool in combating this menace. This technique measures tasks as a measure of a 25-minute range and tackles them as a single task. 

In this case, time ceases from being abstract to being a measure of productivity called a Pomodoro which acts as a unit of both time and effort.

This brings about a significant paradigm shift as time is now viewed as a representation of tasks accomplished. This ensures that time estimates are more realistic and measurable as a unit of Pomodoro for future projects.

4. Improving your Productivity

The Pomodoro technique allows you to make a significant improvement on the last Pomodoro completed. This technique breeds consistency through efficiency. 

With the completion of one session, the break time in between offers you the chance to evaluate your set goals and improve on the further completion of waiting processes. This time also allows you to track your time use and limit future time disruptors in the course of future processes.  

The pomodoro technique - pros and cons
Source: Julia Speaks

Tips for Getting The Best Out of Pomodoro

The Pomodoro technique is an efficient time management strategist. Although the procedural standard 25-minute work session periods called Pomodoros and the 5-minute break period are the backbone of this unique technique, a few things can be added to spice the Pomodoro technique up. 

1. Timely Planning of Your Pomodoros

A great amount of time should be set aside each day for the planning of the day’s tasks and projects. It can either be at the start or end of a day's task. 

The Pomodoro technique allocates a total time of 15 minutes either at the beginning or at the end for the planning of the day or next Pomodoros as the case may be. 

Your to-do list for the day should be scrutinized to determine the number of sessions required for each task. At any point, any large task that would require tasks being divided into more than 5 sessions should be broken down and grouped with smaller tasks. 

Ensure your Pomodoros for the day correspond with your daily work schedule time. If your Pomodoros time exceeds your work schedule time, they should be rescheduled to a later time during the week. 

2. Make Considerable Accommodations for Overflow Pomodoros

While planning your Pomodoros based on your daily to-do list, you need to plan to make significant accommodations for tasks that can take longer than expected or new tasks that arise during the day.

These accommodations are known as overflow Pomodoros and can be converted to lower priority tasks if their need does not arise. It is safer to have extra Pomodoros than to come up short. 

3. Make the Length of Your Pomodoros Flexible

Most times, specific tasks may fall short of the 25-minute session time frame or overwork it. Your Pomodoros should be made as flexible as possible to be able to accommodate significant changes to the session time. 

Your session timeline should be dependent on your energy level as well as the nature of the tasks to be embarked on.

4. Avoid Significant Screens Distractions During Breaks

Oftentimes, people often rush off to their phones or computers at the buzz of the break timer. This is not the most efficient way to use your break period. 

Break periods also need to be used productively as it is part of the preparatory factors for the next Pomodoro session. If your tasks are carried out on your phone or computer, you need to efficiently use your break period to rest your eyes and prepare mentally for the upcoming tasks ahead. Avoid using your break time for more screen time. 

5. Use Appropriate Software to Enforce Your Pomodoros

You can keep tabs on your daily Pomodoros by the use of productivity tools and online collaboration tools such as Monday.com, ClickUp, Wrike, teamwork, and Asana.

These software tools allow you to customize the time duration of each of your Pomodoros sessions, the mode and frequency of your break period reminders, and the level of strictness you want your project to take. 

How to Use Pomodoro During Your Project

The Pomodoro Technique is one of the best time management strategies that allow you to efficiently use your time. Knowing what the technique entails is not enough, you also have to know how to properly implement it during your project. 

1. Planning

At the commencement of every project process, you need to make a project list and keep tabs on all active and ongoing project tasks. You can also include one-off tasks. Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to implement planning effectively.

  • Estimate How Many Pomodoros Are Required for Each Task or Project. You need to calculate how many Pomodoros you need to complete your tasks or projects. This step is essential for drawing up effective Promodoro sessions.
  • Break Large Tasks into Smaller Tasks. Any task that requires more than 4 Pomodoros needs to be divided into smaller sub-tasks. This aims to bring about relative ease in completing tasks and ensure the process is not too tasking and straining.
  • Postpone Tasks for Another Day after Exceeding 12 Pomodoros. In extreme cases where you are presented with more than 12 Pomodoros to be completed in a day, it is advisable to postpone some to later periods of the week. This is necessary as it helps to keep the energy level up and ensure you are not too overworked to embark on a set task.

2. Working with a Timer

Starting your day with a clear view of the expected Pomodoros to be completed is essential to the success of the project. The use of timers to help in keeping track of each Pomodoro is equally important.

3. Repeating Standards

Building a significant level of concentration is essential to the successful utilization of the Pomodoro technique. You can do this by ensuring your Pomodoro technique process is a daily one.  Build your concentration by making your session planning a daily occurrence. Push yourself to achieve a certain number of completed tasks each day. Take time at the end of the day to reflect on your gains and what you need to improve on in the future.

Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.