image of work desk study
Written by Ella Siragusa

Effectively managing time can be a big task. Whether you are working a job or are still in school, the ability to effectively manage your time is extremely valuable, and rare. With constant distractions demanding attention left and right, staying focused on key tasks can seem impossible. Maybe you sit down to do your work and a notification pops up. There goes 10 minutes of scrolling. Or maybe you start multiple tasks at once and quickly become overwhelmed. Then you need a break before you’ve even accomplished anything. There goes another 30 minutes of scrolling. However you lose focus, this can be a frustrating cycle. This is why a 5-step method such as the Pomodoro Technique is such a valuable asset in staying on task and increasing your productivity.  

What is the Pomodoro Technique, and Why Does it Matter?

Pomodoro tomato on desk study environment

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed in the late 1980s by a man named Francesco Cirillo. As an overwhelmed college student, Cirillo had issues managing his time wisely. In an attempt to fix this, he started by setting a timer and asking himself to just work for 10 minutes, a less daunting task. After experimenting with multiple work intervals, Cirillo finally settled on an effective 5-step work-to-break balance. He named each interval pomodoro, meaning tomato in Italian, since he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer during the whole process. Since then, this technique has grown in popularity, with multiple success stories on how it transformed time management abilities. Hopefully, you can share this same success! So what are these 5 steps to transform a work routine? 

The 5 Steps of the Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Step 1: 

Choose a task

This one may seem simple, but choosing just one task may be a foreign concept to some. Rather than starting with a complicated list with multiple moving parts, start small. Break up your big tasks and choose one specific and doable item on your list. One part of the daunting list suddenly isn’t so bad. 

Pomodoro Step 2: 

Set a timer and work continuously

In this step, set a 25-30 minute timer and work continuously till it goes off. Anyone can do something for just 30 minutes. Turn off notifications and put your phone away if you have to because this is a time to work. Maybe put on noise-cancelling headphones or non-distracting music. The key here is not to take any breaks but to stay focused for the allotted time. 

Pomodoro Step 3: 

Take a productive break

After working diligently for 25-30 minutes, take a productive 5-minute break. Now, before you go on your phone or “just start” an episode of your favorite show, stop. That is not a real break. While scrolling on your phone or watching a show, your brain isn’t resting in a way that will make you feel refreshed and ready to continue working. And, if you are anything like most, that 5-minute start to an episode turns into a two-hour ordeal. Instead, try standing up and taking a short walk. Or, make yourself a healthy snack. This break is meant to reset your mind, giving you the ability to efficiently complete all the tasks you need to. 

Pomodoro Step 4: 

Repeat steps 2 & 3 for 4 rounds 

Once the 5-minute break is over, repeat the process for 4 more rounds or until you have completed your task. Remember, it’s important to listen to the timers, not over or underworking during any of the steps. 

Pomodoro Step 5:

Take a longer break 

After you have repeated the steps, and completed your task, take a longer 20-30 minute break, you earned it!

Quick Tip for the Pomodoro Technique 

Looking for motivation to start? Try downloading an app designed for interval timer work! Here are some of my favorites

So, next time you are overwhelmed by the amount of work you have or can’t seem to focus, try this technique. The Pomodoro Technique was made by a college student who saw a need and found a solution. Hopefully now with this technique, you can increase your productivity and find your own solutions to needs in this world! Remember, nothing is as overwhelming as it seems once it’s broken down. So work smarter, not harder, with the Pomodoro Technique!  

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