How to Implement the Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro method is a productivity technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, and is something many people use to help them stay focused and be productive over an extended period of time. It’s a simple technique that uses a timer to break up your work into intervals that are separated by short breaks.

So, instead of hunkering down and trying to power through an hour or two of uninterrupted work you intentionally build in shorter sprints with frequent small breaks so you can have a series of easily-reachable time milestones during your work.

The pomodoro method looks like this:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set your timer to 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a 5 minute break and return to step 1.
  6. After 4 pomodoro cycles take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1

So, a full “session” is roughly 2 and a half hours:

  • 25 minutes of work, 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes of work, 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes of work, 5 minute break
  • 25 minutes of work
  • 30 minute break

If you’re just starting out with the pomodoro method, you’ll want to try and stick to this schedule at the beginning. But as you get more experienced, you may find that you prefer longer pomodoros. Some people prefer to double their blocks, opting to work for 50 minutes at a time and then take a 10 minute break.