Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a time management method designed to curb distractions and reward you for your focus with regular breaks. Essentially, it trains you to work with the time you have, not against it. The technique has grown increasingly popular, changing how thousands of professionals see their workday.

Throughout this article, we’ll explore the history of Pomodoro, the benefits it offers, and how you can start implementing it into your next project or study session.

A simple explanation of the Pomodoro Technique

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is actually quite simple. All it asks of you is to take regular breaks at certain intervals: 25 minutes of focused work with 5 minutes to take a break, rest, and recover. Every 4 sessions, or Pomodoros, you take an extended break lasting 15-30 minutes.

These frequent short breaks are designed to release stress and promote sustained concentration. Bye-bye procrastination and burnout, hello productivity!

Who invented the Pomodoro Technique?

Three tomatoes

The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He developed the technique as a university student, using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to break down his work into 25-minute intervals. The system was designed to help him increase his productivity and concentration by breaking them up into shorter, more manageable chunks, with regular breaks in between to avoid burnout.

So, why is it called the Pomodoro Technique? It all comes back to Francesco’s tomato-shaped kitchen timer! “Pomodoro” comes from the Italian word for tomatoes, Pomodori.

Pomodoro Technique today

The Pomodoro Technique has only grown more and more popular over the years and has evolved to include several variations. The basic structure still remains the same: breaking work into 25-minute intervals, known as Pomodoros, separated by short breaks.

Some people and apps have adapted the technique to increase or decrease the time limit of their focus session. The breaks can also be extended, depending on the needs of the individual user.

There are many apps and time tracking tools, such as websites and mobile apps, that have been developed to assist people with implementing the productivity technique into their lives, both for professional and personal use. Some apps even allow users to customise the break intervals and work sessions depending on the task at hand. With technology being an integral part of the modern-day workplace, alongside an increased focus on mental health, we predict that the Pomodoro Technique will only grow in popularity in the years to come.


How to use the Pomodoro Technique to improve work productivity

Two men discussing time tracking app

The Pomodoro Technique is easy to implement. All you need to do is follow these 5 steps:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes and choose a task to work on.
  2. Work on that task for the full 25 minutes, without any interruptions or distractions (most digital timers will allow you to pause if necessary).
  3. When the timer goes off, start a 5-minute timer to track your break time. You can use this break to stretch, grab a quick snack, or do any other activity that refreshes your mind.
  4. After 4 rounds of this, or 4 “Pomodoros”, take an extended break of 15-30 minutes. Use this time to take a walk, eat a small meal, or do something else to relax and get rejuvenated for the next Pomodoro.
  5. Repeat this process throughout your workday.

Tips for using the Pomodoro Technique at work

  1. Use An App

To keep track of your progress and stay motivated, we recommend using a Pomodoro app. There are several options and variations available, from simple timers to habit-building progress trackers. An app will also hold you accountable for actually keeping work within the allotted sessions and not going too overboard on the breaks.

  1. Breaktime = No Screens

This does not have to be followed strictly, but it’s best to focus purely on yourself during those 5-minute breaks. Give your eyes a break from the strain! Stand up, stretch, and step away from the devices (it’s only for 5 minutes, we believe in you!). For the workaholics out there, this is also the best way to prevent your work sessions from overflowing into your breaks.

  1. Plan Your Pomodoros

Take 10 minutes at the start of your day to plan out the tasks ahead and estimate how many Pomodoros you’ll need to get each of them done. If your workday is a typical 9-5, try to make sure you don’t exceed 16 Pomodoros a day. It’s okay to leave the least urgent tasks for the next workday.

  1. Experiment With Pomodoros

For certain types of tasks that require extended periods or a creative “flow” — things like writing, coding, meetings, etc. — the traditional Pomodoro length of 25 minutes may be too short and become more of a distraction than a productivity tool. In these cases, we recommend experimenting with longer work sessions and longer breaks.

If you’re having a difficult time working through mental fatigue, shorter work sessions are beneficial. Everyone has their own unique approach to work and focus, so feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.


How to use the Pomodoro Technique to improve work-from-home productivity

Woman looking at phone

The Pomodoro Technique can easily be used to work from home, and may even be better than a professional setting for some people. This may be due to workplaces frowning upon frequent breaks (no matter how short) or walking around the office. For individuals in work environments like these, the opportunity to use the Pomodoro Technique from home can offer another level of freedom and comfort.

Tips for using the Pomodoro Technique when working from home

  1. Create a “Work Zone”

To truly break up your work sessions from your breaks, we recommend having a dedicated “work zone” that you step away from when it’s break time. Ensure that this space is free from distractions and has everything you need to complete the tasks at hand.

  1. Be Consistent

Working from home can offer a lot of temptation to take longer breaks and leave behind any sense of urgency. Use an app to remain consistent in your timing, stay away from long-form videos or endless social media scrolling during your short breaks, and keep your work area separate from your break zones.

  1. Add Variety

When using the Pomodoro Technique in an office setting, it’s a great way to regularly catch up with your coworkers during break times. Working from home, however, tends to be lonelier. To break up the monotony and add variety to your breaks, you can try scheduling video or phone calls with friends and family, or taking walks with a friend during the extended break time. 


Best Pomodoro timers for workload management

While any timer will work for the Pomodoro Technique, a dedicated time app can almost completely automate the method for you. It also offers ways to track your work across multiple sessions, types of projects, and other factors.

Here are 4 Pomodoro timer apps we recommend trying:

1. Forest

Forest tree logo

This aesthetically pleasing Pomodoro timer app is designed to keep you away from all the other apps on your phone — at least until it’s for your 5-minute break. Basically, you plant virtual seeds and watch them grow into trees as you work on your tasks. If you’re unable to complete your daily tasks or quit before your 25 minutes of focus are over, the trees wither. This visual representation of work completed can be incredibly powerful for some users. Plus, the creators of the Pomodoro app plant a real tree for every full forest grown in-app. Win-Win!

2. Flow

Flow brand logo

Flow offers a minimalistic approach to the Pomodoro Technique for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s a simple timer that sends you a notification after each interval. There’s a free version of the app and a low-priced version that provides added quality-of-life features. These include customisable durations, session titles, Apple calendar syncing, and more.

3. Focus Keeper

Orange focus keeper logo

Focus Keeper is another minimalist timer app that’s specifically designed for the iPad. You can manage individual tasks within categories, review your progress with analytics and charts, and even share your progress with other members of your team. The built-in Pomodoro timers will send you automatic notifications upon completion and get you ready for the next session.

4. Focus To-Do: Pomodoro & Tasks

Focus to do logo

If you’re an Android user looking for the right Pomodoro app, look no further than Focus To-Do. It combines the Pomodoro timers with to-do lists, keeping all of your tasks in one place for reviewing your schedule at a glance. You can customise the length of your sessions, switch on a “continuous mode” to get in the zone and create recurring tasks and subtasks.


Benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique

What makes such a simple method so effective?

Unlike most productivity hacks, the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t require any special products or even a change in mindset (although it will change the way you work for the better). If you don’t want to download an app or use a website, it works just as effectively with a clock or kitchen timer.

Here are the biggest benefits of this time management technique:

  • Increased Focus: By breaking work into shorter bursts of attention, the Pomodoro Technique reduces distractions and increases focus on the task at hand.
  • Improved Time Management: The technique helps users to develop an efficient workflow by prioritising tasks and setting clear goals for each Pomodoro.
  • Enhanced Motivation: The regular breaks built into the technique can help to prevent burnout and increase your motivation to work.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: By adding regular breaks to your schedule, the Pomodoro Technique helps you avoid working for long stretches of time, promoting rest and balance as part of your routine.
  • Increased Productivity: By focusing on one task at a time and eliminating the act of multitasking, it allows you to be more productive and get things done in shorter periods of time.
  • Improved Memory: The Pomodoro Technique also helps to improve memory retention and recall by giving the brain regular breaks to process information.
  • Better Estimation Of Time: You can better estimate how much time certain tasks will take, thanks to the focus on consistent working intervals, which will improve your ability to plan tasks in the future.

Challenges of using the Pomodoro Technique

Despite being such a popular method for productivity, there’s unfortunately no “one size fits all” technique. Here are some common challenges associated with the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Difficulty staying focused: This method relies on the ability to stay focused on a single task for a set period of time. If you struggle with keeping uninterrupted focus, even after adjusting the length of your work sessions and breaks, there may be other productivity techniques that would work better for you.
  • Interruptions: It can be difficult to avoid interruptions completely, particularly if you’re working in an environment where distractions are common — either from home or in a loud office.
  • Difficulty breaking up tasks: This technique works best for small, manageable, and individual tasks. If you have a big project that requires extended focus or collaboration, the Pomodoro Technique may not be the most effective method to use.

Despite these challenges, Pomodoro is a great technique for increasing your productivity and improving your focus. With a little practice, it can become a valuable time management tool for organising your workload and improving your overall productivity.


If you’re interested in trying other methods of managing your time at work, Priority Management offers a range of time management courses designed to help you master the skill of productivity. There’s a time management method out there for everyone, you just have to find what works for you!