2 minute read

All too often there is more to do than we feel we have time. More often than not in these circumstances, we frantically try and do it all. We’ll write down all the things we need to accomplish on a list and gradually work our way down. For most small tasks, this works fine, but too often there are one or more larger tasks that sap our energy, sometimes even before we get to them because we know they are going to take a long time. That’s where the “tomato” (pomodoro in Italian) technique comes in.

tomato timer

The Pomodoro Technique is an organizational idea based on working in short segments of time with regular intervals of breaks in between. The word “pomodoro” is Italian for tomato. The Italian who came up with this idea used a tomato-shaped timer from his kitchen to regulate his working time frame and his resting time frame.


What is the Pomodoro Technique?

What situations would you use this for?

Benefits of this technique

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a used for organizing time on projects. The idea is that you break up your list of things to do into 20-25 minute chunks of time. At the end of the day you grade yourself on how many solid chunks you completed in your day.

When to use it

As Dave works from home, he uses this as he is working on the computer, taking regular breaks to get up, walk around, let his mind take a break, and then get back to work.

You might use this when you want to organize a part of your home. You work on it for 25 minutes, then take a break to check on the kids.

You could use this when doing a physical project. One example might be if you have a bad back. If you’re gardening, you would schedule breaks to give your back a rest just before you know it’s been too much for your physical limit.

This idea is good for mental breaks, social breaks or physical breaks.

Benefits of using this technique

Breaking up big projects into smaller manageable parts keeps them from being mentally draining.

Knowing you’re working on a dreaded project for only 20 minutes is less intimidating.

It helps keep you from getting burned out.

Also helps prevent procrastination, because 20-25 minute chunks of time are easier to find than 3-4 hours for a project.

It’s easy for parents to get so focused on a project that the kids tend to be neglected, so using this regular break technique gives parents a chance to stop and reconnect with those little ones.

Regular breaks to move around from a sitting project, gets the blood flowing again and helps keep back and legs from aching.

Taking a break from a steady, difficult project also helps provide fresh perspective in solving problems and may even provide a breakthrough after walking away for a minute.

Some may try this technique with exactness using a timer. Some may be more loose about the time frame and use it as a general guideline. The idea is to just take regular breaks to help stay productive in your day.

The image for this post comes from the Amazon.com listing for a tomato timer.

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