How to Use the Pomodoro Technique Timer to Boost Your Productivity

Updated: 7 days ago

00 - Featured Image DreamGravity - How to Use The Pomodoro Technique Timer
One of the secrets to productivity is focus. But staying in focus all the time is not an easy feat. Enter the Pomodoro Technique timer, a simple method that can help you focus and boost your productivity.

The year is 2021 and WFH is the norm. Albeit being a reason to celebrate for many who don’t love interacting with people directly, WFH is not all fun and games. It's easier to get caught between the hectic work and home affairs and ends up not knowing what to do.

Even if you're doing WFO, it's easy to lose focus and get distracted by menial things. If you have too many things on your plate without knowing the priority, you'll just do whatever comes your way - or play those cat videos and do nothing at all. Imagine turning off the computer at the end of your workday, feeling exhausted, but achieving nothing. Sounds familiar?

Meet your savior: The Pomodoro Technique timer. It is a productivity-enhancing technique that will help you manage your work time and finish your tasks. It also helps you understand yourself better, reevaluate your understanding of productivity, and improve your approach to project management.

01 - The Pomodoro Cycle DreamGravity - How to Use The Pomodoro Technique Timer

What is the Pomodoro Technique Timer?

In its basic concept, Pomodoro is a time management technique that breaks your regular working (or studying) hours into 25-minute chunks of work sessions and five-minute breaks in between. At the end of every fourth set, the break is set to be longer - usually around 20-30 minutes. You can restart the sets from the beginning if you need to.

Why 25 minutes? One interval - or commonly said one Pomodoro - is set to 25 minutes work sprint because it's the perfect length of time to stay in focus before one starts mind wandering. This setting will also keep the productivity level high and stop procrastinating.

In a single Pomodoro, you must focus on doing ONLY ONE task. You'll learn to resist the self-interruptions and re-train your brain to focus. The breaks are designed to reset, refresh, and help bring your attention back to the current task at hand.

The technique becomes popular because it's simple. Different from many productivity methods out there, there are no complicated rules and conditions to memorize. All you need is a timer. Even glancing at your watch or wall clock is enough.

02 - Focus on Doing ONLY ONE Task DreamGravity - How to Use The Pomodoro Technique Timer

A Brief History of Pomodoro Technique Timer

Where did this Pomodoro method originate from? And why named the productivity slash time management method "tomato"? Pomodoro is the Italian for tomato.

It goes back to the late 1980s, the time when young Francesco Cirillo needed extra time to live as a college student. Since he couldn't exactly create more time, he needed to improve on his productivity to free more time. Thus, the Pomodoro Technique was born.

There was no Pomodoro timer app back then because the mobile phone hasn't been invented yet. And also, because he's just invented the technique. So, he used the available tool in the vicinity - a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to time the 25-minute and 5-minute chunks.

And, like everybody always says, the rest is history.

How Could the Pomodoro Technique Timer Improve Your Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique timer allows us to be human. We do love our regular breaks, be it a 15 or a 5-minute break after some amount of work periods. The breaks keep us sane. That said, having more frequent breaks than your focus time will kill your productivity. You need to find the best balance.

And how do you use the Pomodoro technique to optimize your productive days? The key is effective planning. Here are a few pointers that you can implement.

Set Up Your Priorities

How do you expect to achieve anything if you don't know what to do? And how do you know that you don't end up doing random things just to look busy?

So, before you do anything else, list down all the important and urgent things to tackle first. Limit the number of tasks to handle each day so that you can work efficiently and won't get overwhelmed.

How many tasks should you put on the list? Only you know your capacity. Don't overestimate yourself, but don't undersell yourself either. The rule of thumb is between three and six important and urgent tasks per day.

To know more about setting up priorities, read the INI UNU - Ivy Lee Method.

Decide on the Number of Pomodoros

The next step of the Pomodoro Technique is to plan how many Pomodoro slots you need and how many Pomodoro sessions per day that you can fit into your schedule.

This calls for an honest review of what you can do and how you work. You’re the only one who knows how many slots you need. It questions you about how much real work you can do in each twenty-five-minute sprint.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s just an objective question about how much you can produce, and once again, only for you to answer.

For example: if you predict a task will take you about one hour or two to finish, then you'll need 2-5 pomodoros - 25+5 minutes each. Take into consideration that at the end of the fourth Pomodoro, you'll have a longer 30-minute break. So, the total time you'll need is about two and a half hours. But remember, you might finish your task faster as you'll be more focused during the pomodoros.

The key is to practice, experiment, and refine your workflow. You'll get better over time.

Do The Routines

When you know what to do and estimate how much time you need, the next step is to do it.

Go with the first item on your task entries, and get your hands dirty. Use the Pomodoro technique timer to do only that task until you complete it, then move on to the next items until you call it a day. If you have any unfinished tasks, move them to tomorrow's list while you plan your next day.

Repeat the routines every day until it becomes your habit.