Make the Pomodoro Technique Work For You in 4 Steps

Make the Pomodoro Technique Work For You in 4 Steps

The Pomodoro Technique is one of the most popular productivity strategies, loved by students, professionals, and creatives alike. While it’s certainly a straightforward way to get you off the procrastination train and back into productivity mode, there are some problems with the Pomodoro Technique that might make you think it won’t work for you.

Read on for our breakdown of the most common problems with the Pomodoro Technique, and what we think you should do about them and make the system work for you.

To help you see if the Pomodoro Technique works for you, click here for your free Pomodoro Tracker!

WHAT IS THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE?

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80s, while he was at university.

A pomodoro lasts for 25 minutes. It requires complete focus and attention until this timeframe is up.

Completing a pomodoro session officially involves the following steps:

  1. Decide on the task to be completed in the pomodoro session.
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task, uninterrupted.
  4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes).
  6. Repeat until you’ve completed four pomodoros – you’ve earned yourself a longer break!
  7. After 15-30 minutes, return to step 1 and repeat as many times as you’d like.

We gave the Pomodoro Technique a go! Watch our video where we discuss the pros and cons of the productivity strategy.

THE 4 MOST COMMON POMODORO TECHNIQUE PROBLEMS

We’ve identified the following core problems people face when trying to use the Pomodoro Technique:

POMODORO PROBLEM #1: 25 minutes isn’t long enough

If you’re a creative person, you know it’s very hard to get anything done within a 25-minute time frame. It can sometimes take you at least half of that time getting into the groove!

What creatives aim to do is enter a flow state – that feeling where you’ve lost track of time because you’re so deeply immersed in your work. This is where breakthroughs happen.

How to make it work for you:

If you feel like the Pomodoro Technique might take the joy out of otherwise sustained, untimed moments of creativity, reserve these shorter sessions for time-batching, and those annoying admin tasks. Maybe you want to share your work on social media, or engage with other creatives online. Setting yourself a timeframe to focus purely on this will make you productive without compromising your sense of creative freedom.

Setting yourself a timeframe to focus purely on admin-based #Pomodoros will make you productive without compromising your sense of creative freedom. #productivepenguins Click To Tweet

POMODORO PROBLEM #2: The rules feel too rigid

make the pomodoro technique work for you

The issue that comes up with these systems is that they have prescribed rules that can feel a little too restrictive. The last thing you want is to feel ashamed if you can’t stick to what a system insists is the key to success!

How to make it work for you:

Our solution to this is simple: don’t follow the rules.

Customising your Pomodoro sessions is more than okay! Observe your current on-task timeframe and tweak your sessions so they stay challenging – over time you’ll extend your productivity stamina.

Customising your #Pomodoro sessions is more than okay! Observe your current on-task timeframe and tweak your sessions so they stay challenging – over time you'll extend your #productivity stamina. Click To Tweet

POMODORO PROBLEM #3: Using a phone/desktop timer opens up the potential for distraction

make the pomodoro technique work for you

While it would be ideal, most of us don’t have standalone timers. If you’re using a phone or desktop timer, this brings with it its own problems with distracting temptations.

It can make a Pomodoro session feel like longwinded meditation – and you’re stuck in the hell of checking the clock to make sure it hasn’t actually died and will go off when it promises to.

How to make it work for you:

Something you can do to make distraction less tempting is putting your phone on Do Not Disturb mode – only enabling emergency calls from those closest to you. This way you can put the phone in another room, just far enough that you can still hear it go off!

Computer-wise, install an extension on your Internet browser that blocks certain sites. This can feel too restrictive, but might be necessary if you’re consistently struggling.

POMODORO PROBLEM #4: It’s hard to go back after a break

make the pomodoro technique work for you

Five minutes can get eaten up pretty quickly. You hear the timer go off, scan your notifications, and start replying to your friend and BAM! The end of the five minutes is gone, and you’re expected to put your head down again.

This can have a real negative effect on how you view your work sessions.

How to make it work for you:

If you find Pomodoro is having the opposite effect on your productivity levels, try these tweaks:

  • Lengthen your break time – this way you don’t feel so restricted.
  • Decide on how many Pomodoro sessions you play to do, then plot out the tasks for each – this gives you a bigger picture to work toward.
  • Tweak the 25-min rule to “however long it takes to get done” – if it takes you longer, reward yourself with a longer break. If it takes less, hooray! Add the leftover Pomodoro time to your break if that will help you recharge.
  • Use an app like Forest that gamifies the sessions.
  • Change what you use the breaks for – consider leaving communication to the longer break after the fourth session. Use your shorter breaks for getting fresh air, making a cup of tea, or moving your body before it seizes up.

FREE POMODORO TRACKER!

The Pomodoro Technique is a great first step for the Beginner Productive Penguin who’d like to dip their toes in the productivity industry. If you’re someone who wants to minimise overwhelm, combat procrastination, and feel productive in small amounts, follow the above tips to make the Pomodoro Technique work for you, and get some sessions under your belt!

To help you try out the Pomodoro Technique and see if it works for you, click here for your free Pomodoro Tracker. Here’s what you need to do to follow it:

  1. Write down each task you would like to complete today.
  2. Set your timer to 25 minutes. Turn off all distractions.
  3. Go! Don’t stop for 25 minutes!
  4. When the timer is up, colour in one tomato (pomodoro). Take 5 minutes. You deserve it!
  5. Keep repeating Steps 2-4 4x, then you have earned a 20-30 minute break!
  6. Repeat until you’re happy with your productivity level.

MAKING THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE WORK FOR YOU

Our goal at Productive Penguins is to help you create your own, completely customised productivity system. There’s no point following existing systems to the letter if they make you dread sitting down to work.

What you want to do is trial the tried-and-true systems, and take only the elements that work for you. You need to learn the rules in order to break them.

What you want to do is trial the tried-and-true systems, and take only the elements that work for you. You need to learn the rules in order to break them. #productivity #productivepenguins Click To Tweet

We definitely agree that it doesn’t suit every person, or work with every type of work environment or task. To make the Pomodoro Technique work for you, you need to use it in specific moments that are appropriate to your personal goals.

Pop in the comments below – have you tried the Pomodoro Technique? What are some things you like (or don’t like!) about it?

PIN ME!

Share with your friends!

One thought on “Make the Pomodoro Technique Work For You in 4 Steps

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top