How to Get Twice Done in Half the Time: The Pomodoro Technique

Focus and Flow

While the invention of computers and smartphones have fundamentally changed our lives for the better by making almost everything we do easier, they come with the added side effect of easily enabling us to become highly distracted.

I work from my laptop each day in an office all by myself without ever having a boss looking over my shoulder. Some may say that this is the dream but for me it can be absolute torture – especially knowing that I could be working on my own business by just opening another tab in Chrome.

However, I have recently learned a fantastic method from the creators of Screw the Nine to Five – Josh and Jill Stanton that doesn’t just prevent me from battling with an angel and devil on my shoulders all day but it actually enables me to get twice as much done in half the amount of time.

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by entrepreneur –  Francesco Cirillo  that teaches people how to learn how to use their time in a more effective and focused manner.

The Wikipedia definition;

 “The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

The best part about the Pomodoro Technique is that anyone with a smartphone, computer, or even a kitchen timer can use it.

Here’s How it Works

1. Decide on the task to be done 

By deciding to work on the ONE thing  that is the most important task at hand, you eliminate every other trivial task or distraction that can often lead to becoming unfocused.

2. Set the pomodoro timer to 25 minutes 

Francesco Cirillo has discovered that working in 25 minute intervals is the sweet spot for optimal effectiveness and minimal fatigue.

3. Work on the task until the timer rings 

Close all other applications, programs, web browsers and any other distracting elements that are not needed to complete the task at hand. Turn your phone on silent and close you email client. This means disabling your Facebook and other social media apps too!

4. Take a short break (3–5 minutes) 

Stop what you’re doing and take a break. You could take a bathroom break, get a drink, check emails and missed phone calls to ensure there are no “emergencies” etc. I highly recommend that you atleast get up out of your seat and stretch. It is said that sitting can greatly reduce your lifespan – So get up!

5. After four pomodori, take a longer break (15–30 minutes) 

If there are no “emergencies” to attend to, this is the time I often use to work on my own business. Firstly of course I always get out of my chair for a stretch and if I haven’t done so in my shorted breaks, I’ll grab something to eat.

How many Pomodoro cycles can I fit on per day?

Throughout the work day I am usually  able to fit in 3 Pomodoro cycles. which enables me to have a full 90 minutes to do whatever I like whilst  producing the highest amount of quality work in the shortest amount of time.

By combining the Pomodoro technique with other great productivity hacks I can stay focused and enter a state of flow that can only be achieved without the usual constant distractions.


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is your biggest distraction? Leave your comments below.

Resources mentioned in this post:

Image credit: Pomodoro timer