How To Do The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Effective For Time?

If you’re working on a report due the next day, you may end up getting little done if colleagues interrupt you. Or worse, having your cell phone go off or seeing constant email notifications popping up on your computer screen. Learning how to do the Pomodoro technique can help you approach these constant distractions.

In this post, I’m going to discuss Cirillo’s book. The Pomodoro Technique has helped save people time doing tasks while avoiding all the everyday distractions.

Also, I’ll go into the differences between internal and external distractions and how to avoid distractions whenever you can.


The Pomodoro Technique: This picture is the book cover by Cirillo.

What is the Pomodoro technique?

The Pomodoro technique refers to a tomato size timer that helps you keep track of your time spent doing tasks. You work on assignments in 25-minute time blocks, followed by five-minute breaks. 

Small-time blocks are better since you’re not spending time much time on one task. Instead of blocking out an entire day to work on a project, break down the process into smaller time frames. 

Or as Cirillo suggests, do 25-minute work periods, then five-minute breaks throughout the day.

How do you use it?

Stick to time and breaks

Cirillo stresses that Pomodoro is always 25 minutes long. Also, no half time, no 80% time spent on a task. It’s just a full 25-minute working period. If you happen to finish a job before the 25 minutes are up, stick with it and keep going.

What else can you do with the spare five or ten minutes you have left? If you finished writing a report, proofread it to yourself and check for spelling or grammar errors. Especially when writing stories, you’ll probably find a couple of mistakes that need corrections.

How to do the pomodoro technique: This technique is referred to as a tomato-sized timer.

Breaks are essential if you want to make the most of your time. Cirillo suggests five minutes because your mind needs to rest briefly.

Use pauses to get up and stretch or walk around to clear your mind before the next time block. After about four Pomodoro (roughly 100 minutes of working), Cirillo says to take a more extended break between 15-30 minutes.

The longer intervals can be used to do things such as checking email, making a follow-up phone call to a client, or grabbing a quick bite to eat.

The Pomodoro Technique Tools

A Timer

It doesn’t have to be the tomato-shaped timer that Cirillo demonstrates in his book. It can be an alarm clock, your smartphone, or a stopwatch if it’s more convenient for you to use.

As long as you can set time limits for yourself, any timer device will work. When I practiced this technique, I used a regular alarm clock along with an app on my Mac book called “Red Hot Timer.”

To-Do Lists

1. To-Do Today

This list includes tasks that you intend to get done today. In other words, the priorities need to be put front and center before anything else.

Once you put those tasks together, then separate them by how much time you think it’ll take you to complete those tasks. Will it take three Pomodoro (about 75 minutes of work), or 1 Pomodoro (25-minute time block)? It’s up to you.

Below is a short list I wrote out earlier.

How to do the pomodoro technique: Writing out a list of what you need to do can help. This list is an example I did earlier.

2. Inventory

If you cannot complete some tasks today, then make some notes to determine how long it will take you. So if there is a PowerPoint presentation that you know, it’ll take a couple of days to finish, then divide it up into smaller units one day at a time.

Would you instead get smaller groups done in a two-hour block instead of dragging it out for one full day? I think we know what the obvious choice would be to go with the shorter time frame whenever possible.

The Pomodoro Technique: Distractions


These are distractions that can range from random thoughts scrolling around your mind or shopping online. But keep in mind, these internal distractions can end up taking a good 20-30 minutes away from accomplishing your work goals.

How to do the pomodoro technique: It's good to stay away from common distractions. It can take away time from doing work.


These distractions can vary. They can be colleagues interrupting you throughout the day. Other ones include email notifications going off on your desktop or smartphone notifications going off every couple of minutes.

Of course, interruptions by colleagues or your manager are inevitable, but keep in mind that you can control these kinds of distractions. If one of your coworkers needs you to help them out, kindly say you’ll get with them in 5-10 minutes.

Those types of conversations can end up being a massive time-waster at work. Unless it’s urgent, earning a couple more minutes working on a project won’t hurt. Getting used to this practice will help you be more disciplined with your time.

A relevant article from

Read next on “How To Start Your Workday: 5 Things To Avoid When Possible“, to learn how to kick off your workday on the right track.

Final Words

The Pomodoro Technique has proven to work for many people managing their time. Cirillo doesn’t stress enough the importance of practicing the technique.

In other words, stick to 25-minute time blocks and 5-minute breaks to follow. If you want to change the way you work, then stick to the time limits.

Even I tried the technique for a few days, and it was quite challenging. But after sticking with it for a week, I noticed some changes and found I was getting more things done. So I benefited a great deal from practicing the technique because I was doing tasks at a much slower rate than usual.

Your Turn: Do you believe the Pomodoro technique will help you out?

I would like to know some of your thoughts. Do you think the Pomodoro technique is effective for time management? Can it help you be more productive, or keep you away from getting distracted?

Feel free to leave your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading them, and I’ll respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

2 thoughts on “How To Do The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Effective For Time?”

  1. Hi Eric, I have heard about working in 25 minutes blocks with 5 minute breaks, but didn’t know it was called the pomodoro technique. Getting distracted by notifications on my telephone, is often my biggest challenge, so I know that I must leave my phone where I cannot see or hear it. 

    Twenty five minutes sound like a very short time for each block, but I guess that way you are always working at top concentration. I will start implementing the pomodoro technique and actually set the stopwatch, and see if I can then be more productive. 

    • Hi,

      Some people are not aware of that term, but they understand the meaning of the pomodoro technique. So you’re not the only one who may have not known about it. It’s interesting since that term has been around for quite some time now.

      25-minutes intervals may sound short, but I think it’s 25 minutes for a reason. One of them may be for a sense of urgency. In other words, there is a bit of motivation to get things done in a timely manner.

      Also, I think it helps to give your mind a break and refreshen before focusing again. So those 5 minutes breaks are beneficial before going back into focus sessions.

      It’s great to know you’re going to give the technique a try. You never know if it’ll make a difference in managing your time.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. They’re greatly appreciated.


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