Job Advice Blog

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique

One of the hardest parts about any job (especially any self-directed job) is just staying focused. In a world chock full of flashing screens and distraction machines, staying on task is becoming increasingly difficult. Today we are going to look at a tried and true method of increasing your focusing power by using Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro technique, all you need to start is a timer!

How it works- Instead of working for hours at a time, and then taking long breaks, the Pomodoro technique suggests that you work in small intervals followed by micro breaks (the two together are called pomodoros). A standard Pomodoro consists of 25 minutes of work followed by a 3-5 minute break. After each Pomodoro you put a tally or check mark on a sheet of paper, and after you get 4 check marks you allow yourself to take a 15-20 minute break.

The timer is the backbone of this method, it is very important that you actually set a 25 minute timer for work and a 5 minute timer for your break. The effectiveness of this method is in the preciseness of it- if you attempt to estimate your timeline instead of setting a timer you will get very little out of the process.

Why it works- When we are pressed for time we work harder. Most people who are given 5 hours to complete a project that takes about an hour will do it in the last hour. The Pomodoro method makes this incredibly difficult, you have a 25 minute deadline every half hour- which gives you very little time to procrastinate. When the timer is down to 5 minutes (and you know you get a break after it runs out) you will be less likely to check your social media accounts, and more likely to continue working on your project.

The other fantastic benefit is that you get to stop looking at your screen for 5 minutes every half hour. The blurry-eyed, washed-out feeling that we all get after staring at a screen for hours disappears. Every half hour you can take a short walk, stretch, or just focus your eyes on something that is not a screen. If you use your breaks like this you will find that you feel much better and healthier at the end of the day!

We are also wired to work towards rewards, and the reward system of the Pomodoro technique is elegant. Every 25 minutes you get a small reward, and every 2 hours you get a larger one. This constant looming present makes the work much more pleasant! Remember that you will enjoy your breaks more if you feel like you accomplished something to get them, and that your work will be better if you know that you will enjoy your breaks!


Staying on task can be (but does not have to be) difficult, but if you try this method you will be impressed with the results! Remember that you lose nothing by trying it, so if you are having difficulty gives this a try during your next work day!