Pomodoro: A Great Technique for Productivity and Focus

Last Update: January 06, 2018

When it comes to creating content, many of us will have days when we struggle with procrastination, or find it difficult to concentrate and stay focused on the task at hand. Being a bit of a perfectionist/procrastinator myself, I know how much of an obstacle this can be.

My search for an effective solution to this problem has led me to test a number of strategies and techniques over the years. As I am sure many other WA members will also come up against this problem at one time or another, I thought it would be useful to share some information about a technique that I have found to be highly effective, The "Pomodoro" technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular productivity strategy that you may well have heard of before. It was originally thought up by Francesco Cirillo in the early 1990's. He named the technique "Pomodoro" after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer he was using when he developed the concept.

Essentially, the Pomodoro technique works by breaking tasks down into relatively short, manageable, timed chunks (Pomodoros), spaced out with breaks. Here is a simple summary of whats involved:

1) Get settled at your desk and ready to start working on whatever task you wish to complete.

2) Set a Pomodoro (timer) for 25 minutes.

3) Work on the task to the exclusion of all distractions until the 25 minutes is up and the Pomodoro sounds. Put a tick/check on a piece of paper.

4) Take a short break of around 5 minutes.

5) Start the cycle again.

6) Take a longer break (15 - 30 minutes) after every 'set' of 4 Pomodoros.

This technique treats each 25-minute Pomodoro as an indivisible unit of work. This means that if something distracts you during one of the work blocks, you either have to ignore or postpone the distraction until the Pomodoro is complete, or end the Pomodoro (you can always start a new one later).

I find this technique to be really powerful in terms of eliminating distractions and helping me to focus, and I when I use it I can get a great deal of good work done over the course of a whole day.

As the technique has become more popular, a number of dedicated Pomodoro apps have appeared. That said, all you really need is a timer, paper and pencil.

I hope you found this post helpful. Please comment below if you have tried the Pomodoro technique, or have found any other productivity techniques to be effective for you.

Thanks for reading.

Jon

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JanoH Premium
Hey Jon! So glad I bumped into this here! I am moving my Learning Strategies site over to WA, and timer strategies are definitely included. I ran into this one when researching for my students, but just used a simple timer and technique because of their age....
This strategy looks good for those of us pushing through to get content done! Lol
Thanks! Jano
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jenni1309 Premium
Great read. Thanks for this!
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Megachile Premium
Thank you, I hope you found it helpful.
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Nicky33 Premium
Hi Jon, very helpful post to all of us perfectionists/procrastinators!

Last year I came upon the Pomodoro technique and I started using it. I am a chronic procrastinator myself, but this technique has helped me heaps! I can stay focused, knowing that it's just for a short amount of time until I can have a small break, and I often set rewards to myself for every 3 Pomodoro chunks I complete.

Personally I think timer-pencil-paper works pretty well, no need to burden myself with another app.
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Megachile Premium
Hi Nicky, I completely agree. Having experimented with both the low tech approach as well as trying out an app, I found that there was something about using a timer, pencil and paper that seems to work better for me.
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MKearns Premium
I've been doing this is in a rough sort of way, Great to precisely detail each chunk!
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