The Pomodoro Technique: Optimise your time management

Author: Nena Julia Aichholzer, 07.10.2021

Exams, seminar papers and one homework assignment after another. University has just started, but you already feel overwhelmed by all the open to-dos and your time management could need an upgrade? Then this blog is for you!

Today we’re introducing you to the “Pomodoro Technique”. This is a studying technique that helps you optimise your time management and organise your working time more efficiently. The Pomodoro Technique uses 25-minute work units and short breaks in between to give your brain rest periods and thus create an optimal workflow.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method designed to help you study more efficiently. Francesco Cirillo, who was a university student himself, invented this technique in the 1980s. He was prone to procrastination and therefore didn’t make any progress with his studies. So, he decided to take baby steps and start working in 25 minutes intervals at first. His goal was to get a good piece of work done in 25 minutes. Since it was such a short period of time, he didn’t get distracted. No sooner said than done. He stopped the 25 minutes with an egg timer shaped like a tomato and the Pomodoro Technique was born. Pomodoro, by the way, is Italian and means “tomato”.

How does the Pomodoro Technique work?

The Pomodoro Technique is very simple and easy to use. You don’t need any expensive equipment and hardly any preparation. All you need for the Pomodoro Technique is an alarm clock, your timer on your mobile phone or someone to tell you the time.
Before you start timing, prepare your documents and choose the task(s) you want to finish.

Important: In each Pomodoro phase, you should only work on one task to help you stay focused. Then you can start the first Pomodoro phase.

One phase is 25 minutes of focused study. As soon as the timer goes off, you have a short break in which you can go to the toilet, eat something or maybe make some coffee. After a 5-minute break, the second Pomodoro phase starts (another 25 minutes of focused work). This is followed by another 5-minute break. Repeat this process four times, and then take a longer break.
This is what the Pomodoro cycle looks like:

  • Pomodoro 1
  • 5 minute break
  • Pomodoro 2
  • 5 minutes break
  • Pomodoro 3
  • 5 minutes break
  • Pomodoro 4
  • 30 minutes break

After the last session, you have a long break. Try to avoid doing anything related to your work during your breaks. These breaks are important for your brain because it needs time to recharge to stay focused during the next Pomodoro phase. Try to stick to the 25 minutes of intense study. It’s easy to be tempted to just keep going because you’re feeling good, but the short breaks are essential to this technique. After your timer goes off, finish what you were working on. You can write down keywords so you don’t lose your train of thought. But then it’s really time to put down your pen and take a break.

What should you do during Pomodoro breaks? As I said: Nothing that has to do with your work! The aim is to clear your head and recharge your batteries.

Why is Pomodoro Technique so popular?

Simple but effective. The Pomodoro Technique has become so popular partly because of its simplicity. You don’t need a lot of equipment or preparation, you can start any time. Moreover, eliminating all distractions and focusing on one task (even for short periods of time) will help you getting it done much faster.

If you’re pulled out of your work by an email, a phone call or a knock on the door, it takes you an average of 11 minutes to get back to your task. Without distractions you can stay focused on the task. The Pomodoro Technique also helps you not to overwork yourself.

Tips for a successful Pomodoro cycle:

  • Make a list of tasks that you want to complete in one session.
  • Limit distractions: switch your phone to do not disturb, close the office door or let your flatmates know that you do not want to be disturbed right now.
  • If you’re working on a computer, you can use the online Tomato Timer to simplify your workflow.
  • You prefer to time yourself on your mobile phone? The Flat Tomato app will help you!

Why should you use the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique offers better time management, productive workflows and more focus. Here are all the advantages and disadvantages of the popular studying method so that you can find out whether the Pomodoro Technique suits you!

Advantages of the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Simple: You only need a timer.
  • Impulse control: This technique helps you to suppress the desire to be distracted for 25 minutes.
  • Low-threshold: You don’t have a 10-hour long session, but small intervals that make it easier to get started.
  • Productive: The Pomodoro technique prevents multitasking and increases your efficiency.
  • Motivating: You will see how much you can get done in only 25 minutes, which will keep you going.
  • Restful: Regular breaks help you stay productive.

Disadvantages of the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Inflexible: If you don’t have a lot of time at a stretch, this method may not be perfect for you. But you can still change the sessions to fit your schedule!

The Pomodoro technique aims at better time management and optimised workflows. If the Pomodoro technique doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. Try to adapt the time intervals to your learning routine and use them in a way that works for you. Do you need more tips against procrastination? Here you will find the best tips against procrastination.


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