The foundation of the Pomodoro Technique is a simple, powerful method to improve time management and focus that demands nothing more than a timer of some kind (ideally mechanical or a good simulation), a pen, and paper. Then:
- Choose the task to work on.
- Set your timer to 25 minutes.
- Work until the timer ends.
- Record completion of the “pomodoro’ and rest for 5 minutes.
- Repeat. Every 4 “pomodori’ take a 15-30 minute break.
That’s it! A simple approach that millions of people have found an indispensable part of their productivity toolbox.
The timing technique is often enough to boost productivity significantly. But the complete Pomodoro Technique (covered in the free book linked below) provides a context for the timed work sprints based on a “planning, tracking, recording, processing, and visualizing’ system you might find interesting.
Rules are made to be broken! You might be tempted to change the duration of the work and/or break times. But consider starting with the 25+5 minute combination–a sweet spot for many people–so you have a baseline to work from.
There are hidden depths to Pomodoro, particularly the implicit context of routine and implementing cues and triggers (thus the mechanical timer), both of which are significant contributors to achieving the ideal psychological “flow state.’ But that’s a subject for another Teaching Tip.
Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato.’ The Pomodoro technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer the inventor, Francesco Cirillo, used when he first developed the technique.
Chris Lott, M.Ed., was the Associate Director of Teaching and Learning at UAF eCampus. He has 25 years of experience at the intersection of education and technology.