the pomodoro technique - how to focus and stop procrastinating

You’re sitting at your desk at work and you realize 45 minutes has gone by and you haven’t actually worked during that time. Maybe you were shopping online or reading news articles, whatever it was, it wasn’t productive work. The bad thing is that you didn’t even realize a whole 45 minutes had passed! Whoops! How can you focus and stop the procrastination? The answer is the Pomodoro Technique. It will help you focus and stop procrastinating in as little as 25 minutes.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool that helps you be more productive by breaking your tasks into 25-minute increments and 5-minute breaks. Each 25-minute interval of work is a Pomodoro. After each Pomodoro, you take a 5-minute break – go to the bathroom, stand up, look at your phone, etc. After four Pomodoros, you take a long break, about 15-30 minutes, depending on how long of a break you’d like.

How does it work?

Here is an example: Let’s say you have a task that should take 3 hours to complete, but with your usual procrastination and inability to focus, it will probably take you 5 hours. To help you focus, you set a Pomodoro timer for 25-minute intervals of work. There are Google Chrome extensions and phone apps for this, you will find plenty of options if you search.

  1. Set a Pomodoro timer and start working for 25 minutes.
  2. After 25 minutes, the timer goes off and you take a 5-minute break. Then, the timer will go off again letting you know your break is over.
  3. Work for another 25 minutes.
  4. Take another 5-minute break.
  5. Work for another 25 minutes.
  6. Take another 5-minute break.
  7. Work for another 25 minutes.
  8. That was your fourth Pomodoro, so it’s time for your longer break. Take 15-30 minutes. At this point, you should already be more than half done with your 3-hour task.
  9. Continue with the Pomodoro Technique for the rest of the day.

Why does it work?

Do you ever feel like you work well under pressure? The less time you have to complete an assignment, the faster and more efficiently you work? That’s why the Pomodoro Technique works. It gives you that sense of “I only have a limited amount of time to complete this task.” It gives you a sense of urgency. It should also help you because it gives you planned breaks. You know you will have 5 minutes to check your personal email in another 25 minutes, so focus and have a productive 25 minutes and then you can goof off for 5.

The Pomodoro Technique is basically time blocking. You block out time to work on specific tasks or certain projects and you also plan out your breaks. Time blocking is a time management method I already discussed before. I use time blocking every day. The Pomodoro Technique can help you go into more detail and block out smaller increments of time.

Does it help me be more productive?

The short answer is YES! I will admit though that I do not use the technique every single day. I use time blocking every day but not necessarily the Pomodoro Technique. When I want to be super productive at work or if I’m feeling like I’m wasting too much time, then I will turn on that Pomodoro timer and get to work. It really does help me focus.

Any tips for those new to the Pomodoro Technique?

As with everything, try it out multiple times, not just once. It may take a week for you to learn and get used to the technique to really start to benefit from it. It may not take a week, this isn’t rocket science, but don’t just use it for an hour and then give up if you think it didn’t work for you. You wouldn’t be giving yourself a fair chance. Good luck!

Do you use the Pomodoro Technique already? Do you benefit from it? Do you have any other techniques you like to use? Share in the comments!

the pomodoro technique - how to focus and stop procrastinating