At some time or another in our lives, we have all had the problem of not knowing how to manage our time efficiently. It is common to be confronted with a day’s worth of tasks and not be able to finish them all due to a lack of time, concentration, or motivation.
One of the best methods to make your day more productive is the Pomodoro technique. Associating time with tomatoes can help you if you have problems with your planning or tend to procrastinate.
- The Pomodoro technique is a method that allows us to manage our time better and be more productive.
- This technique can be adapted to different work/study needs, as it is very flexible.
- With the help of this technique, you can maintain a constant rhythm of productivity and motivation to finish each task.
What you should know about the Pomodoro technique
Below you will find all the information you need to apply the Pomodoro technique in your daily life. Remember that perseverance and determination will be your best allies when setting a goal.
What is the Pomodoro technique?
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in 1985. When Francesco was a university student, he thought of this method to better organize his time and facilitate his study.
The name is inspired by a timer in the shape of a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) that Cirillo used to measure concentration intervals and make progress with his activities.
Francesco avoided all distractions for the duration of his timer and then took a break. He repeated this several times until it became a habit and a method of study. Forcing himself to pay attention for a set time helped him to improve his concentration and optimize his time (5).
How does the Pomodoro technique work?
The process of implementing the Pomodoro technique is quite simple:
- To begin with, you need to make a list of all your to-dos. You can make a list the night before or very early in the morning before you start your day.
- Then assign intervals of 25 minutes to perform each task, and avoid any distractions during that time. Help yourself with a timer.
- When the time is up, mark a pomodoro and record the progress you have made.
- Take a 5-minute break to refresh your mind.
- Start a new pomodoro and continue to make progress in your activities.
- When you have completed 4 pomodoros take a long break of 15 to 30 minutes.
There are also additional rules that can help you to make better results. Pay close attention:
- Divide your activities well: all tasks have different levels of difficulty. Try to divide the most complicated tasks into more than one pomodoro so that each one has enough time for execution. Remember that breaks are mandatory.
- Put small tasks together into one big task: if you have a good number of simple tasks, it is best to put them together and organize them in a single pomodoro.
- Do not add new tasks during your day: as long as possible, do not add new tasks to your list for the day. If you do, you run the risk of losing concentration and ruining your time management. As long as they are not extremely urgent, add new tasks for the next day.
What do you do during breaks?
Whatever you want, as long as it helps you relax. It is not recommended to check emails, messages or social networks. Get away from the screens as much as possible, this way it will be less difficult for you to concentrate on the next pomodoro.
During short breaks, take an active break, stretch a little, drink water and get some fresh air. During longer breaks, take the opportunity to eat something, go to the restroom or just close your eyes and rest. It is also a good time to socialize with your work colleagues or your family if you work from home.
What are the benefits of using the Pomodoro technique?
There are several benefits of using the Pomodoro technique. Here are the ones we consider most important:
Helps with task management
Organizing your activities in pomodoros will greatly facilitate your performance because you will have a plan to follow, and you will not be improvising along the way. The benefits can be seen in different scenarios such as home or office (4,7).
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The pomodoro technique is based on concentrating for a period of time determined by yourself. The greater your motivation, the greater your concentration. This is why it is essential to eliminate distractions.
The pomodoro will help you to set a goal and your concentration will eliminate what does not help you to reach it.
If someone interrupts you, negotiate a different time to attend to their requests. If the distraction occurs because of a thought of your own, write down your ideas so you can create a new pomodoro later. Most importantly, do not interrupt the flow of concentration on the activity you are currently engaged in (6).
You can be more aware of your time
The most important thing in the Pomodoro technique is the use of a timer. Measuring the concentration time for each activity is precisely what will help you to be more productive because you will be more aware of your time. Sometimes we think that checking emails and social networks will only take us 5 minutes, when in reality half an hour has passed.
If you dedicate a 30-minute pomodoro to check messages and networks beforehand, you will be more aware of when to stop and start another activity. Similarly, if you are in a meeting where teamwork is not moving forward, you can speed things up by being mindful of the time you have available.
It’s a flexible technique
Francisco Cirillo recommends that each pomodoro should be 25 minutes, however, you can adapt the technique to your own needs. There are tasks that are very difficult to initiate because we associate them with a negative feeling of facing the unknown. When these cases occur, it is best to set shorter pomodoros of 10 to 15 minutes.
If you have to write an essay, for example, and you need a huge flow of concentration, you can do 40-minute pomodoros to ensure you don’t cut off your creativity. The important thing is to plan your time and take breaks accordingly. Otherwise, you will end up exhausting yourself and losing motivation (3).
Tips for applying the technique
Although applying the Pomodoro technique is relatively simple, here are a few extra tips to help you get the most out of this method.
Plan your pomodoros
Don’t make the mistake of improvising your pomodoros on the day you are going to perform your tasks. Plan well in advance what you are going to do and how long each task will take. Ideally, make a list of all your activities and organize them into pomodoros the night before or very early in the morning before you start working.
How many pomodoros are there in a day?
The most usual is to work eight hours in a day, which is equivalent to 16 pomodoros of 25 minutes with their respective breaks. However, as mentioned in the previous point, this can vary according to the nature of the activity and the needs of each person. Making shorter or longer pomodoros will be your decision, as long as you maintain constant organization and concentration.
Have pomodoros in reserve
Whatever the duration of your pomodoros, always have two to three of them in reserve. These reserve pomodoros are to allocate urgent tasks that arise during your day. If the new tasks can wait, it is best to organize them for a different day and continue with your usual planning.
Stay away from screens during your breaks
It’s not the best idea to turn to your social networks when you finish an activity. Contact with memes, negative news or unexpected messages can cause your concentration to wane on the next task.
Stay away from screens as much as possible. This action will also have a positive effect on your physical and mental health. You will be able to rest your eyes and get away from thoughts that take you away from the goal you have set for the day.
Can you listen to music?
To do your work while listening to music, it is important to identify whether your concentration decreases when there is music playing in the background. If you are easily distracted, then better not to do it, it is better to look for a space free of noise and any kind of distraction.
Another point to keep in mind is the kind of music you are going to listen to while you work.
Music will influence your mood and can either decrease or increase your motivation at work. Consider the task you are going to perform before choosing the music you are going to work with and avoid getting distracted.
Use apps to help you control your time
There are different applications that you can download on your computer or phone to control your time and concentrate better. Using these applications is beneficial because they generally prevent you from checking your emails and social networks while you are working. Below we will show you our recommendations for each case (1,2).
Concentrate and repeat
It may be difficult at first to maintain a constant rhythm of concentration, but that is precisely the key to success in the Pomodoro technique. To begin with, the ideal is to do shorter pomodoros and increase their length as your concentration improves.
Consistency and repetition of the technique are essential to organize our activities. Apply a lot of willpower to eliminate distractions. Over time, the process will become easier and your mind will be prepared to concentrate and work for set periods of time. Never forget to take your breaks.
Which applications can be used to apply the Pomodoro technique?
There are several applications that will help you to better apply the Pomodoro technique. Here are the different options for your PC and smartphone:
|App Name||Features||Ideal for…|
|Tomatoes||Online timer with a clock to set the time according to your needs. It has a built-in ticking sound that you can mute or leave it off if it helps you concentrate.||Online use and Chrome extension.|
|Tomato Timer||This online timer allows you to set your study and rest time. You can choose different alarm sounds and adjust their volume to your convenience. You can also note down how many pomodoros you have to complete each day.||Online use.|
|Be Focused||As well as allowing you to adjust all your times, it shows you statistics of your performance and allows you to stop when you have an interruption.||Mac and iOS.|
|This app restricts the use of your phone while you are working, so you won’t be able to check messages or social networks. It has an interface that helps you gamify your activities, because while you finish a pomodoro a tree grows in your forest. If you break the rules and use your phone, the tree that was growing dies. The more you respect your work times, the more beautiful your forest will be. It also shows you statistics on your progress.||Mac, IOS, Android.|
|Brain Focus||This app is a timer with multiple options to customise it to your liking. It allows you to adjust times, volume, alarms and disable Wi-Fi so you don’t get distracted.||Android.|
|Marinara||A timer that you can pin to the toolbar. Allows you to set targets, download statistics, adjust volume and choose alarm sounds.||Chrome extension.|
The Pomodoro technique is a very useful method for proper time management, task planning and increased productivity. It was designed to facilitate performance during studies, but it can be applied in all types of activities that require some organization.
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There are numerous advantages of using the Pomodoro technique, mainly avoiding procrastination and lack of concentration. With work intervals of 25 minutes and short and long breaks of 5 and 15 minutes, it is possible to achieve the goals set for study, work or household chores.
1. López J. Development of a mobile application for efficient time management using the Pomodoro technique. Univ Nac Abier y a Dist. [Internet]. 2021. [September 27, 2022].
2. Valenzuela S. Development and validation of variants of the Pomodoro technique based on sound interfaces. Chile. Univ of Chile. [Internet]. 2020. [September 27, 2022].
3. Rodríguez B, Raposo I, Viñas S. Application of the pomodoro technique during master sessions. Univ da Coruña. [Internet]. 2020. Pág: 579-582. [27 September 2022].
4. Herbas B, Arandia C, Murillo N, Quintanilla M. Multitasking at school and university: implementation of the Pomodoro technique for the improvement of academic performance in engineering students. Univ del Rosario. [Internet]. 2020. [September 27, 2022.]
5. Sanchez F, Gallego F. Everything you always wanted to know about how you should study. Univ of Alican. [Internet]. 2020. Pg: 301-308. [September 27, 2022].
6. Correa I. Development of a technique for personal management based on an adaptation of the Pomodoro technique. Univ of Chile. [Internet]. 2020. [September 27, 2022].
7. Altamirano G, Chasiquiza M. Synthesis and pomodoro as techniques in the development of reading comprehension in students of seventh year of general education of the South American Pensionado Unit in the year 2021-2021. Univ Centr del Ecu. [Internet]. 2022. [September 27, 2022].