The Pomodoro method has now become synonymous with productivity.
And, if you’ve ever used it, it’s no surprise why.
Personally, I attribute a huge part of my productivity to the effectiveness of the Pomodoro method and find a noticeable difference when I use it vs. when I forget to.
Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, the Pomodoro method (also called the Pomodoro technique) uses a timer to break down work into chunks, typically anywhere from twenty-five to fifty-five minutes in length, and separated by regular five-minute breaks.
It’s deceptively simple and hard to wrap your brain around if you’re like most people, working hours on end without allowing yourself to stop (because you think you can’t). However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
– Paul J. Meyer
Most of us think that if we stop at any point in the day, we’ll lose out. It’s something that runs so deep for the lot of us that it’s become a part of our conditioning. Fortunately, it’s incorrect, and the proof is pretty compelling.
Desktime published a study of their workforce which isolated the top ten percent who were consistently the most productive. What they found, as in so many other studies on the subject, was eerily similar:
The most productive people worked fifty-two minutes with a seventeen-minute break.
To be clear, this means about every hour they took a nice long (fifteen~ minute) break. Every. Single. Hour.
This goes completely against what most of us think is necessary to maximize productivity. And, as highlighted in Cirillo’s original book, it’s definitely not the only study to show this.
And the implications of this are huge. It means sacrificing ourselves in the name of productivity and achievement isn’t just unhealthy – it’s unproductive. With this knowledge, we can begin to take better care of ourselves while becoming more productive. It’s a win-win.
So then, how do we take full advantage of the Pomodoro method? Does it have to be fifty-minutes of work and fifteen minutes of break or can we mix it up to fit our preference?
How to practice the Pomodoro method
The Pomodoro method is simple but highly effective. To utilize the Pomodoro method, follow these steps:
- Work for 25-55 minutes: Some studies have shown that shorter twenty-five-minute bursts lead to greater productivity. How long you work is up to you, but take a break at least every fifty-five minutes.
- Break for 5-15 minutes: Same as the above, how long you break is up to you. Take a moment to meditate, read, catch up on news, or whatever else you prefer on your off time.
- Use a Pomodoro time-tracker: By using a Pomodoro-oriented timer app like Pomello you can maximize your use of the Pomodoro method and make yourself even more productive.
A Pomodoro time-tracker like Pomello (my personal favorite and something I use daily) is great because it further focuses your use of the Pomodoro method.
Simply type in a task using Pomello’s native task tracker, or integrate it with your Trello board, and it will time you for a set period, letting you know when that block of time is up, when your break starts and ends, and even allowing you to schedule in extra-long breaks every few hours automatically.
The Pomodoro method is a simple but powerful technique for increasing efficiency and productivity. If you’re interested in maximizing your productivity and getting more done each day, and doing it the smart way, the Pomodoro method may be exactly what you need. But don’t take my word for it – give it a try and see for yourself.