What is the Pomodoro Technique?

No, it's not an Italian pasta cooking technique, but in fact a time management system created in the 80's by one Francesco Cirililo that helps people stay focused at an optimal length of time (about the length of a sitcom). A friend of ours mentioned he's currently using an app version of the system to help him focus, which utilizes 25 minute intervals (the "pomodoros") for task completion. There is of course now a high tech version of what was once accomplished using a mechanical timer…

There are 5 steps to the Pomodoro technique:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

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Our friend is using an app called Focus Booster, now in beta mode and a free download. We like that the productivity app is minimal, and it's also available for both Windows and OS X users (an online version is also available). There's also an iPhone app for those who need to focus on the go for $1.00.

We're giving it a try all today to see if the Pomodoro Technique helps us wrangle in the stress of trying to manage the myriad of stress inducing tasks we juggle each day, since the idea of short bursts of complete focus makes a whole lot of sense than meandering throughout the day. We might also make every longer break, after the 4th Pomodoro, be designated as a moment to do an exercise, utilizing the technique to improve both body and mind at once!

Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique at the official site, where you can also download the free eBook explaining the full time management system.

Other time management solutions from our archives:

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