Feeling unproductive? You should try the Pomodoro Technique


Recently, we wrote about the Most Dangerous Writing App for productivity, where the app forces the user into productivity by not allowing him to take his hands off his work. But there are other ways to be productive than resorting to extreme measures. The Pomodoro Technique, for example, has worked wonders for people across the world when it comes to productivity.

The technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. He used this technique during his college days, working in short time bursts of 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break. The technique works on the premise that we cannot concentrate for more than 20 minutes at a stretch.

The Pomodoro Timer

According to Cirillo's book The Pomodoro Technique, there are six stages or underlying principles:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally n = 25).
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.
  4. After the timer rings, put a check-mark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four check-marks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 1.
  6. Else (i.e. after four Pomodoros) take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your check-mark, count to zero, then go to step 1.

The word Pomodoro means 'tomato' in Italy. The founder named it after the mechanical kitchen timer he used during his university days. While not everyone will be looking to buy a mechanical clock or timer, there are other ways to follow this method. You can use this online timer, which automatically starts a 25-minute timer and rings an alarm at the end of 25 minutes, thus giving you a five-minute break. After the five-minute break you can just refresh the website to start the timer once again.

The technique is one of the best when it comes to attaining focus and managing distractions. Unlike few other apps that lock your open tabs on the browser, this technique is based on self-restraint for just 25 minutes. This is a good reward-based system as you know your reward is not that far away and you can go back to Facebook or other activities after you finish one cycle of Pomodoro.

We have tried this and it works for us. Do try and let us know in the comments if it works for you too.