5 Reasons Why I Love The Pomodoro Technique

Time and success

In my last blog post I talked about time. More specifically, I talked about how the management of time is the difference between success and failure. Strong words, I know, but it’s true. If you missed that post you can check it out here here.

I also shared a technique that I use to manage my work time called the Pomodoro Technique. As a brief review it consists of:

  1. Choose a single task or project to focus on. The more specific you are the better.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work intensely on the chosen task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head write it down, set it aside and immediately get back on task.
  4. After the timer rings put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than 4 checkmarks take a short (3-5 min) break then start another cycle.
  6. If you have 4 checkmarks take a longer (15-30 minute break) then go back to step 1.

That’s the “how”… Today I’d like to look at the why. It seems so simple, after all. Can it really make that big of a difference? For me, the answer has been yes and here are 5 reasons why.

#1 – It breaks things down into manageable chunks.

Have you ever had a work project that was big and intimidating? Even if you know what the next step is it can be hard to dive in because it seems like there’s no end. How does this technique help? Well, no matter how big the project is you’re only diving in for a 25 minutes cycle. No overwhelm. Just 25 minutes… That’s it. Surely you can handle that, right? The great thing is, once you’re started it’s pretty easy to keep going. It’s the first step that’s the hardest and this technique makes it easier.

#2 – It puts you on the clock.

It’s hard to be “on” if you don’t have a way of differentiating between being “on” or being “off”. This is especially true if you are working from home or from a workstation that is also used for play (ex: laptop or computer). By using the timer technique you let yourself know that this is work time; that it’s time to be “on”. This makes it easier to stay on course in spite of distractions.

#3 – It helps you to stay focused.

This one is bit of an extension of the previous point. Knowing when you are “on” helps you to stay more focused. That youtube video that you might have clicked on is less tempting when your timer is there as a reminder that you are on the clock. Finally, the strategy of writing any distracting thoughts that come up during your work session is exceptional. By doing this the idea isn’t lost but it can easily be set aside for later when you’re not working.

#4 – It gives an easy way to measure how much focused work was done.

There’s a big difference between doing a few hours of focused work vs just sitting there staring at a screen. This is especially important if your work station can blur between work and play. Using the timer technique gives a very easy unit of time that you can use for tracking focused, uninterrupted work time in 25 minute blocks. This is useful for setting goals (ex: I will complete 6 cycles daily) and for tracking progress over time.

#5 – It allows for reasonable rest to keep you fresh and creative while avoiding fatigue.

If you are always “on” you’re never really on at 100%. Breaks are needed in order to avoid fatigue, reward your focus and to stay mentally fresh. Some people try to cheat this by working for long periods of time while avoiding breaks. Every research study I’ve seen indicates that when no breaks are taken creativity and quality of work goes down. It doesn’t have to be long… Even 5 minutes way from your work station can make a huge difference. Put your breaks on the clock, though, in order to stay accountable.

And there you have it… My top 5 reasons for loving the Pomodoro Technique. If you have ever wondered how to structure your work time I hope that you give it a try. May it bring as much progress to your business as it has to mine.

~To Your Success


  • Caterina Christakos

    Reply Reply December 7, 2018

    I love this technique! It prevents distractions and keeps you totally focused on the task at hand.

    • danielhanscom

      Reply Reply January 30, 2019

      Agreed, Caterina. I find it works especially well for banging out large amounts of small tasks. With big stuff, though, sometimes I find “deep work” can be a really good fit. It uses larger blocks of uninterupted time in order to really get into “the zone”. All about using the right tool for the job. Thanks for the comment.

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