The Pomodoro Technique: How To Super-Charge Productivity And Stop “Pretending” To Work

November 15, 2011 · 18 comments

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Whether you work for yourself or are employed, maximising your productivity during your working hours is essential. When you understand the connection between time management and success, you manage your resources more effectively and place a value on your time professionally.

If you’re not “that person” already, I’m going to take it as a given that you want to be.

I’ve heard various suggestions for managing your time effectively and I’ve dabbled with a few, but in all honesty nothing seemed to stick. Then during Project Getaway, I was introduced to a new technique that helps me:

  • Structure my workload for the day
  • Complete tasks to a higher standard
  • Spend less time each day “pretending to work”
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day

For me that’s kind of a big deal and I figured I really should share it.

The power of intense focus

Multi-tasking is how many of us work; we use this ability to try and accomplishment as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.  As the saying goes, “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person”. But there is something to be said for one-track mindedness. For applying the full power of your complete focus, on only one task, for a prescribed period of time.

The benefits of ‘time-managed’ solo-tasking

  • The task at hand gets your complete attention
  • You are able to batch tasks and effectively save more time
  • Positive pressure helps you get more done
  • You improve your creative problem solving skills

What is The Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francisco Cirillio in 1980s and the idea was that you would work for short intense spurts with little breaks in between. By maintaining your focus and applying your concentration, he showed that you were able to maximise your work processes and get more done in less time. The method, is that you work for  25 minutes of complete concentratio, and at the end of the 25 minute pomodoro you break for 5 minutes, before going into another pomodoro.

If you completed 10 pomodoro’s per day, you’ll have worked 5 hours with full concentration!

It could look a little something like this

p1:Insert task – 5 minute break

p2: Insert task – 5 minute break

p3: Insert task  - 5 minute break

p4 :Insert task – 5 minute break

1/2 hour break

p5: Insert task – 5 minute break

p6:Insert task – 5 minute break

p7: Insert task – 5 minute break

p8: Insert task – 5 minute break

1/2  hour break

p9 insert task 5 minute break

p10 insert task – 5 minute break

Most of us only have 5 good hours a day anyway; 5 hours where we are at our most creative and productive best. But with the distraction of multi-tasking, email, Skype, Blackberries and other digital noise, very few of us get to experience the accumulative power of our best 5 hours.

Imagine you; working intently for 5 hours per day, purposefully eliminating distractions and assessing your productivity at the end of each cycle.

What would you achieve with the accumulative power of your best hours? What could you achieve; when you stopped pretending to work and actually…err…worked!

The Pomodoro Technique helps you  tap into your optimum hours and with some discipline, your business idea starts to becomes a business, the junk room becomes an office and that books starts to write itself. For an idea so simple, it’s genius how effective it is really.

The tool I use to help me get the most out of my daily Pomdoro’; is from Beat Points .  The software adds a ticking tomato shaped timer to your tool bar, which once started, will ring an alarm at the end of your pomodoro. And to make this little tomato shape tool even more tasty, its totally FREE!

You can also use the mini  dashboard that pops up at the end of each session to help  you rate your productivity, and set a reminder for when to start your next  25 minute session.

The Pomodoro technique has become a well-used tool helping me to plough through my never ending list of things do to. But it also leaves me with a great sense of achievement at the end of the day as I know what ever tasks I’ve been working on; have  had my full concentration. It also leave me to free to enjoy some guilt free down time each day.

By helping me set goals, stay focused and assess how I use my time, I’ve seen great improvements in my productivity in the last few weeks. Whilst I’ll be experimenting with other techniques, Pomodoro’ are here to stay. It’s simple and it works.

Download the software here, try it out and comeback and tell us how you find it. You can also find out how other entrepreneurs are using this technique to super charge their productivity. I’m not the only one getting excited about tomato shaped productivity tool.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy Cross
Twitter: BetsyKCross
November 16, 2011 at 5:38 am

Hi Stace!

I downloaded it because I like having an open mind about new things. My concern is that MY focus is broken by kids needing something. But I typically open 5-7 tabs in the morning. One is my blog and another is The others range from email to Twitter. After opening Triberr, and seeing this post, I started reading and said to myself, “You know you’re doing exactly what she’s talking about.” So I went back to work, finished my post, and came back. So your post has been open for about an hour! Sorry.

“Multi-tasking is how many of us work; we use this ability to try and accomplishment as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. As the saying goes, “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person”. But there is something to be said for one-track mindedness. For applying the full power of your complete focus, on only one task, for a prescribed period of time..”

Just reading that made me know I really am easily distracted, and DO feel better when I focus on one thing at a time.

I’ll let you know how the tool works!
Betsy Cross recently posted..The Devil’s In the Details


staceyjamie November 17, 2011 at 6:00 am

Ha ha Betsy I laughed when I read this, because I used to do something similar, open all the tabs and go back and forth between them, easily getting distracted with from what I should have been doing. I’m glad you left my post to get on with the important stuff. I can only imagine the sort of distraction children give you, how you juggle it all and stay so active in blogging is amazing to me!


Twitter: adriennesmith40
November 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hey Stacey,

Well what I do is I work in 50 minute intervals and then I break for 10 minutes. I do my best to take some time for lunch but I don’t always accomplish that. I usually eat at my desk as I continue to work. But I do take breaks, I get up and walk around, I take my dog out when needed, I get something else to drink, I’ll just get some fresh air, I do my best to just get away from the computer.

You are right though, this technique will work wonders if people just apply it. Concentrate only on the task at hand and during your break you can do anything else you want. I dare people to give it a try. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish within this time.

Thanks for sharing, I know others will really find this helpful.

Adrienne recently posted..True Inspiration From My Most Popular YouTube Video


staceyjamie November 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

Hey Marianne, I thought we used a similar technique and I was right. I find sometimes that after 25 minutes, I’m tempted to just keep going especially if I really got into what I was doing…but I like the buzzer as it helps me stay focused. xx


Sjoerd November 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Awesome! I REALLY want to work on my website more effectively, since being a teacher next to trying to change teaching for the bettter offers quite the time-management challenge. It’s installed and ready to go! Will keep you posted :)


staceyjamie November 17, 2011 at 5:54 am

Hey Sjoerd, let me know you how you find it, it has increased my output ridiculously.xx


kime November 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm

my favority technique,
in fact there is a RPG GAME based on pomodoro technique called Pomodorium.


Simona November 17, 2011 at 3:20 am

And where is The most complete platform for pomodoro technique!!! I’m really disappointed Stacey.


Twitter: late_bloomers
November 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

Thanks, Stacey, for taking away another excuse of getting sidetracked!
Barbara recently posted..Trees in my Backyard


staceyjamie November 18, 2011 at 6:15 am

Hi Barbara, I get side tracked on a nearly hourly basis, that’s why this took works so well for me


Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech
Twitter: carpathia16
November 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Hi Stacey, I’m like Betsy, that I get enough interruptions from my kids. If I get a chance to focus uninterrupted, I want to take it and run with it, I’m afraid your tomato timer would be much more irritating than my kids interrupting me.

I need to make the most of my uninterrupted time, while they’re in school or late at night, when they’re asleep.

But if I were able to have loads of uninterrupted time, this looks like a great plan! I love the Pomodoro tomato idea. I just don’t think it fits with my lifestyle.

Did you see President Obama in Bali today?

Have a great weekend!
Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech recently posted..Tech-Knowledgy: Why Does Siri Hate Me?


Christopher Campbell December 5, 2011 at 4:06 am

Hmmm. I’ve thought all along that Pomodoro is part of Italian cuisine.

Kidding aside, I would like to thank you for sharing this. I find it to be something that I can use at work.
Christopher Campbell recently posted..Feel Good Friday: Green Holiday Gifts


Sjoerd December 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Hey Stacey!
Ok, I’ve been trying the pommodori and I love it! I use it almost daily.
Whenever something really needs to get done, I put it on, I also put on whatever playlist I want and get to work :)
Thanks again for sharing!
Sjoerd recently posted..Our legacy: why the next generations need teaching to change now, and so do you.


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