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The Pomodoro Technique: Improving productivity one tomato at a time

The Pomodoro Technique: Improving productivity one tomato at a time

By Lela S. </3

What is the secret to effective time management? This is a question that I’ve asked many times, and it seems I’ve finally found the solution: the Pomodoro technique.

The Italian word for tomato, this method works by alternating fully-focused work sessions and short breaks.

  1. Get a to-do list and a timer.

  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes, and focus on a single task until the timer rings.

  3. When your session ends, mark off one pomodoro and record what you completed.

  4. Then enjoy a five-minute break.

  5. After four pomodoros, take a longer, more restorative 15-30 minute break.

This method also comes with a few simple rules:

  • Break down complex projects. If a big project requires, say, four pomodoros, it’s best to divide the project into four, pomodoro-sized chunks to complete.

  • Small tasks go together. If you have a lot of tasks to complete, group them together into pomodoros.

  • Once a pomodoro is set, it can’t be interrupted. Pomodoros are an indivisible unit of time, so it can’t be interrupted by any small ideas, texts, or requests. Instead, write them down in a notebook to come back to later.

Here are some tomato tips you might need that I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Don’t EVER skip breaks. Believe me, I tried that once, it didn’t work out at all. I finished my work not only feeling overworked, but feeling grouchy PLUS a headache (although that might have come from not drinking water). When you do take regular breaks, you finish the day’s work feeling like a weight has been lifted from your back.

  • Take note of the ideas, texts, or requests that come up during your pomodoro in a notebook. Once you’ve done so, go straight back to your work and don’t give those distractions any further thought. When you have free time, go back to that notebook.

  • Use a specific website or app to time your pomodoros. My personal favorites are and I like Pomofocus because it’s simple and concise. You can track your pomodoros if you log in, you can add tasks, and there’s even a leaderboard! I also like Lifeat because it’s a website where you can choose a specific study vibe. There are numerous locations to choose from, such as a cafe, an airport or a beach. However, I find it distracting at times, so I like to stick to Pomofocus.

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