Pomodoro Technique

Methods of personal self-development

The Tomato method does not originate in the U.S. and is somewhat different from other methods of effective time management. The Italian method is actively used both in the organization of work processes by large managers and by people who want to have more time.

What is the Pomodoro technique?

The Pomodoro technique is actively used in time management, but was developed by an Italian student, Francesco Cirillo, that is, a man far removed from corporate business. His first year at university showed that he did not know how to manage time at all. There was always insufficient time to prepare for his studies and exams. The young man realized that the problem was in the constant distractions from work, and short breaks, on the contrary, are useful.

Concentrating on studies without distractions, making small pauses for rest, it is possible to achieve the following results:

  • increase productivity;
  • reduce unnecessary distractions;
  • learn how to get the job done in a given time frame;
  • achieve excellent self-discipline;
  • develop flexibility and speed of thinking even under stressful conditions.

The methodology proved so effective that it quickly spread far beyond Italy, and not only by students, but also by managers of major projects, it helps everyone learn to control time.

Pomodoro technique
Pomodoro technique

Pomodoro technique – principle of action

The technique got its name from a timer in the form of a tomato. It was the creator of Pomodoro who came across it and became the starting point in the fight against procrastination – distractions that are of no benefit to work or any other active activity. It is the main enemy of time management. Cirillo came up with his own way of combating distractions, which formed the basis of what has become a world-famous technique.

It is based on the following principles:

  • A certain amount of time is set aside for the learning/working process. It is divided into tomatoes, each of which is 25 minutes. It is this segment that is fully devoted to the chosen activity. Nothing should distract you.
  • A break of 5 minutes is mandatory. After four tomatoes, there should be a longer pause. It is 15-20 minutes. Then, once again return to the usual pace of 25-5.
  • The whole day is planned in a similar way. This does not mean that you have to sit at your books or toil for 16-20 hours. It is applied in relation to the standard 8-10 hours, because the main goal of the technique is to increase productivity – how to begin to have more time, and not to turn your day into a constant work activity.

    Sequence of actions in the Tomato technique
    Sequence of actions in the Tomato technique

Breaks should be proper, not a distraction:

  • you should drink a cup of coffee or tea;
  • You can wash your face with cool water;
  • do some warming up;
  • a short call.

Such activities allow you to keep yourself energized.

It is not necessary to engage in distractions:

  • enter forums, social networks;
  • check messages in messengers;
  • Read your favorite book.

Such distractions can go on for a long period of time, then five minutes will turn into half an hour or longer.

Important: Use a timer. Don’t just measure the minutes by the clock. The notification of the beginning and the end of the “tomato” segment should be audible. This allows you to subconsciously tune in and fully concentrate on work after the beep. Over time, you simply won’t even have to force yourself to shift your attention to the task at hand.

How to use the Pomodoro technique?

A clear understanding of the basic rules of the method makes it possible to achieve the desired result. They are simple to master, but require thorough study.

1. Choose a priority task

The main planning mistake is to do the biggest and most difficult thing. This leads to a violation of the step-by-step goal. Time is given to what is unimportant at the moment, and deadlines are frustrated. Proper tomato planning involves doing the most important task of the moment, no matter how easy or simple it is.

Choosing your priorities
Choosing your priorities

2. Concentrate on one thing

It is impossible to work to the limit, trying to do everything at once. You can’t work to the limit, trying to do everything at once. You must always finish what you start. Don’t jump from one thing to another. Do what you have planned until the timer sounds.

SMART targets

3. Stay focused

All attention should be focused solely on the task at hand. Nothing should distract you. No emails or phone calls. When the current process is finished, you can take care of correspondence and phone conversations.

4. Don’t try to make it

Turning on the timer does not mean that you have to meet the 25-minute deadline. This time means that you have to concentrate entirely on the task at hand and the priority task at hand. It is this most important rule that must be learned and practiced. The more attention given to the current problem, the faster and more effectively it is solved.

How to do everything in time?
How to do everything in time?

5. Don’t neglect the breaks

You can’t be busy all the time. It’s not healthy to work too much. It doesn’t allow you to recover. As a result, a person simply exhausts himself both mentally and physically. Small breaks give an opportunity to get a charge of vivacity and not to fall out of the work schedule. This can be a cup of coffee with colleagues or watching a video, if you have to work at home.

6. Regulate the load

The specifics of the activity must always be taken into account. Some tasks require more time. It is not uncommon to see advice on increasing the interval of “segments,” but it should be understood that increasing the duration of “tomatoes” may lead to a decrease in productivity. There is a reason why the creator of the method chose 25 minutes. The system is designed to reduce the load and increase productivity, not to load oneself with an hour’s worth of work.

Load distribution
Load distribution

7. Evaluate the result

At the end of the day’s work, be sure to check how many tomatoes you’ve managed to eat for the day. Do you have unfinished business? Carefully review the schedule, think about how you can increase your productivity. Maybe you could not concentrate and something distracted you? Remove all distractions, and closely monitor the next few days for the outcome. Try to add one tomato every day. Gradually you will be able to increase your productivity by several times.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Pomodoro Technique in Time Management

The principle has proven itself in organizing and increasing the efficiency of the use of time. To apply the technique, you need the simplest tools at your fingertips:

  • paper;
  • pen/pencil;
  • timer.
The Tomato Method in Time Management
The Tomato Method in Time Management

Algorithm of actions to implement the method of pomodoro in time management:

  1. Make a clear to-do list by priority.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the current case until the timer rings.
  4. Set a completion marker.
  5. Take a five-minute break.
  6. Take a long 15 to 20 minute break every 2 hours.

To make the most fruitful and effective schedule, you need to consider how much you need for a particular task and observe the following essential rules:

  • do not divide “tomatoes” into parts;
  • mini-tasks can be grouped together into one pomodoro;
  • complex tasks can be divided into 5-7 tomatoes;
  • If there is an urgent call, letter, an important client arrives, and you have to interrupt, the timer starts over and does not continue.

The technique in the example is as follows:

Task Number of tomatoes Time Status
1 Checking the quarterly report 1 9:00-9:25 Х
2 Drafting a contract 1 9:30-9:55 Х
Drafting a contract 1 10:00-10:25
3 Meeting with the client 1 10:30-10:55
4 Making a financial plan for September 1 11:00-11:25 Х
Big Break
Making a financial plan for September 1 11:40-12:05

There is a clear possibility of dividing large tasks into several, shorter, and longer pauses for rest. In the first half of the day I “ate” 6 tomatoes and finished 3 important tasks (marked with a check mark).

Using the technique in time-management you can evaluate the results achieved at the end of the work week. A standard work day is 8 hours and contains about 10-12 tomato segments. This allows you to navigate the number of tasks that can be done. Some will require less and others more time.

Gradually you will be able to navigate better and even leave 4-5 minutes at the beginning of each period to check what needs to be done, and a few at the end to analyze what has been done. At first it is difficult, but then the work literally becomes automatic. It is possible to literally concentrate 100% of my attention on the work, controlling the situation.

What’s the best way to remember information?

Pomodoro technique online

People who work at a computer or in an office with colleagues sitting nearby. It is not always convenient to use a manual timer and make a to-do list manually. Online services and applications developed specifically for Pomodoro appliances are a great solution:

  • The handy and completely free site https://pomodoro-tracker.com/. Here you can add tasks and start a timer. Customize the number of tomatoes and completely plan your whole day. A sound alert is triggered even in the background. This allows you to not be distracted at all from the process of checking and typing on the PC.
  • iPhone app 25 minutes: Simple Pomodoro Timer. A simple timer with no additional settings or end-of-work signals. For some people this is a disadvantage, while others, on the contrary, prefer to work in complete silence, want to adjust their internal clock to the “tomodoro” pace of work.
  • The program Scheduler: Productivity Timer for Android smartphones. Allows you to simultaneously make a list of tasks for the day and has a built-in timer. Intuitive interface will not let you get confused, you do not have to waste time on different settings.

If you need to control the process from multiple devices (PC, laptop, smartphone) at the same time, you should take a closer look at PomoDone. The tracker with scheduler capability works synchronously with almost all operating systems and even allows you to give access to other people, which allows you to control the progress of complex projects. The professional version is paid, while the basic version is free.

Reviews on pomodoro techniques

The technique is universal. It is ideal for managers and executives as well as for housewives. The reach is truly enormous. Numerous positive experiences confirm this. As reviews and comments show, it helps to improve one’s productivity, to have time to do even those who before almost nothing could be brought to completion or catastrophically lacked time for the planned to-do list.

The disadvantage of such a system found for themselves only representatives of the creative professions, for example, musicians, artists and writers. Nothing surprising in this is not. Such professions require inspiration, which cannot come at the signal of a timer. But given the fact that even they have to do work that requires concentration, many have implemented a technique for such tasks and have been pleased with the result.

Video with deciphering the Pomodoro method


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