View Full Version : Anyone familar with the pomodoro technique?

12-09-10, 01:55 PM
I ran a search and didn't come across too much information, so I thought I'd just throw it out there. It seems like it's right up my alley... if I can turn it into a game of sorts...

The Pomodoro Technique ( is basically:

Choose a task to be accomplished

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

The website has some free spreadsheets, a free e-book download, and a cheatsheet I haven't really checked any of it out...

There's also an article over at lifehacker ( about rebuilding focus and attention span as far as computer related tasks go... it's actually what perked my interest in the pomodoro technique...

I also found a free windows timer (;1) and a free mac timer ( as well... I thought about using an online timer... but anything that requires me to bring up a web browser is a fatal distraction. Truthfully I just need an egg timer!

I'll try it out and see how it plays out for me, and report back with my "findings." This homework stuff is killer, I need to be doing it but I've been playing on the internet for 45 minutes! aaaaaaaah.

I know a lot of people use timers in general from what I've found on the boards, but has anyone heard or tried this particular method?

12-12-10, 11:24 PM
Yup, I used to use it in first year. I can't say it improved things greatly for me though, I just couldn't pay attention long enough :o

12-20-10, 04:59 AM
I hear you... the whole chart thing requires more attention than I feel willing to give it.

My results were mixed... the first two hours went very well (I basically had to do 8+ hours of writing essays because... I waited until the last minute!)... from then on, I just found myself ignoring the timer to meet the deadline's and then burning out for an hour at a time - then reminding myself I had a paper due that was worth half the letter grade for that semester.

Good in theory... might have been better if I wasn't in such a poor state when I gave it a go. The timer aspect really made the most difference... I've always done my best work under pressure (or so I argue)... so racing against a clock watching seconds tick away was a nice little boost for a bit.

02-01-11, 02:44 AM
I LOVE this technique... but instead of using a physical timer I use an app on my droid call pomodroido - it tells you how many pomodoros you did today, how many you did this week, and you level up as you do more. It's exactly enough motivation to make me stick with it. I also cut down the timing - I do a 20 minute session with a five minute break because I would always lose it in the last five minutes.

04-27-11, 07:59 PM
I was almost positive this said "porn-odoro" technique. It's been a long day (or maybe I just need to get my head out of the gutter for once!!

04-28-11, 02:31 PM
I was almost positive this said "porn-odoro" technique. It's been a long day (or maybe I just need to get my head out of the gutter for once!!

The porno-doro technique is very simple to implement, just follow these 3 steps:

Make a to do list.
Watch porn.
Repeat step 2.

12-06-11, 05:36 PM
I use the pomodoro method regularly, either for administrative work tasks (email this person, review that document) or for longer projects that require hacking away at.

Good parts:
-25 minutes is a good window for me. Long enough to get in the groove and get stuff done, usually short enough to avoid wandering off into dangerous-tangent territory.
-regular use gives you a good rhythm and, I think helps cultivate a better sense of time
-it's very satisfying to mark off each completed pomodoro, and easy to set a daily goal or goal for a specific task (# of pomodoros)
-short breaks keep you alert, help remind me to eat/drink water. Sometimes I do sit-ups in between.

Not-so-good parts:
-just saying "I did 10 pomodoros on my project today" doesn't mean you got useful work done. Pomodoro measures effort, not results, which isn't always enough.
-you really have to name the specific task and decide what outcomes you want for each pomodoro to make them work.
-the method doesn't incorporate a review process. How was that last pomodoro? How good was the work you actually completed? Most complex tasks require this and it isn't built-in to pomodoro.

This just means it isn't perfect and doesn't do everything.
But does it help me stay on task? Yes.
Does it help me put in a good chunk of work each day? Yes.
Do I feel silly doing it? Sometimes.

For what it's worth, I use the PomodoroPro app on my ipod touch, because I wanted something that wasn't on a computer.

I once tried to convert my department at work to a scrum+pomodoro system but it failed miserably. If the nature of the work is unpredictable, it's hard to make a rigid system like this work. But for personal use I highly recommend it.

01-26-12, 01:14 PM
I tried it for a while, and I found in its original incarnation it was not very effective. What I did instead is just use a timer, and if I had a task that I thought would take 10 minutes, set a timer for 10 minutes. If I had a task that would take an hour, I would set a timer for 50 minutes. This way, you don't get lost in any task and realize 5 hours later that you've been doing "internet research" for the whole time.

This way, with small tasks, it makes it easy to get a lot of them done quickly and stay on task. If you're doing a task that will legitimately require 3 hours though, I find it helpful to skip any breaks until you finish it, but to just stop when the timer goes off and quickly evaluate your progress to make sure you're on track, and then continue. If I do take a break in the midst of a long task, it will be hard for me to restart my process. With small tasks though, the break is important as it does keep you checking what you should be doing, and if this is still important.