The Pomodoro Method for Increased Productivity, Explained in 37 Seconds 🎥

Jessica Guzik
Dec 29, 2016 · 2 min read

I remember fondly my first week a self-employment: It was a free-wheeling, hedonistic period of sleeping in, slurping ramen, and celebrating my 32nd birthday.

Oh, and making zero progress on the my nascent startup. The one that was ostensibly going to pay some bills.

I began to recognize my own looping behavior: I would do ten minutes of work, then check Facebook (just a peek — what harm could it do?), then check Instagram, then check email (wasn’t that kind of work?), then check Facebook again…and so on. I didn’t even notice this behavior at my standard office job. Or if I did, there wasn’t much incentive to correct it.

For most of us who commute to work, the minimum expectation is that you show up sober.

You are paid to stay put for eight hours and do your work. But that means there’s little incentive to work efficiently. Even if you complete your daily tasks in 4 hours, your presence is requested for all 8.

All of that changes once you’re self-employed. If you do what you need to do in 4 hours, you can go to an art museum. You can go for a run in the afternoon sun. You can enjoy a pint over lunch. One day, I did all three. And afterwards I put my head down and concentrated on my work for three monk-like hours.

To do that, I use the Pomodoro Method (or the Pomodoro Technique, same thing). There’s a whole book about it and I’m not sure what they fill the pages with because my understanding of the technique — or maybe just my version of it — can be explained in the 37-second video below. If that’s not time-efficient, I don’t know what is.

To summarize:

  1. Write down your tasks
  2. Estimate how many 25-minute periods (i.e., pomodoros) it will take to finish each task
  3. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  4. Focus completely on the task at hand
  5. Check the task time against your estimate
  6. Set a timer for 5 minutes
  7. Chill
  8. Repeat

After four 25-minute periods, take 30 minutes off. Repeat until you’ve completed all your work or it’s lunch time. Whichever is soonest.

Here’s what I want to know: Do you Pomodoro differently? Does this method work for you?

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