The Accidental Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

Fight procrastination, improve focus, get better at planning and improve your health with the world’s simplest productivity technique.

Aryan Venkat
Ascent Publication
6 min readDec 2, 2019

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The Pomodoro Technique is a simple, but powerful time-management method introduced by Francesco Cirillo in his book of the same name. The technique is essentially about working on the task at hand for 25 focused minutes followed by a 5-minute break, and repeat.

I’ve introduced this technique into my work life as an antidote to my procrastination, but weeks after following the technique meticulously, I realized that it has not only improved my productivity, I even found myself unintentionally getting better at other aspects of my life.

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

The technique

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes, and work with full focus on a single task that you have chosen beforehand, no matter what. This 25-minute chunk is called a Pomodoro.
  • Once the timer rings, take a 5-minute break to relax, drink a glass of water, or move around a little. After your break, you’ll be refreshed and ready for your next Pomodoro!
  • After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes) and turn to a fresh Pomodoro.

It helps you fight procrastination

Procrastination is a deadly demon, a pure evil that lives within you, and kills you slowly. It doesn’t let you work on what’s important, often giving you a false sense of reassurance that there’s a lot of time. And it’s often too late when you realize that there isn’t enough time.

The #1 reason for procrastination is not laziness, but the lack of clarity. The Pomodoro Technique helps you find clarity and meaning of the work you should do as you will divide your task at hand into 25-minute meaningful chunks.

I personally prefer to create a Pomodoro Schedule, where I write down a description for each 25-minute chunk I will have to work on, as clearly as possible.

I’ve created a Pomodoro Schedule Template that I created for myself to use with everyday work as a software developer.

To give an example, let’s say I have to add a feature to my application to log user-activity, my Pomodoro Schedule will look like below.

An example Pomodoro Schedule for a software developer.

It helps you improve your focus

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Focus, is the hidden driver of excellence. You can complete your usually-tedious task in an astonishingly short time if you work with full focus.

But unfortunately, we human beings are evolved to be distracted.

From a survival point of view, it was important to be attentive to your environment as there could be something that’s an opportunity or a threat, says Psychologist Beatriz Arantes.

Thus, we can’t stay focused to one thing all day long.

But it’s relatively easy to stay focused for 25 minutes, and that’s what a Pomodoro is all about. We can trick our mind to be undistracted just for 25 minutes, because it knows there’s a break waiting around the corner!

Commit yourself to the Pomodoro within those 25 minutes and don’t let anyone invade your privacy during this window. Block all the sites which are unrelated to your work.

Use a trigger to get yourself into the mood to work, like by putting the headphones on, or wearing a cap that reads DND!

If someone disturbs you in the middle of a Pomodoro to get help or to simply chat, reject gracefully and say “Just a few minutes” until the Pomodoro ends.

It helps you get better at planning

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

At the beginning of every workday, if you create a solid Pomodoro plan that’s best for you, you will eventually find yourself getting better at planning and estimating.

Initially, the tasks you planned may be shorter or longer than you scheduled for the Pomodoro, but following the practice consistently makes you a great planner.

Next time when your boss asks you how long it’s gonna take, you know how many Pomodoros can suffice!

It makes you healthier

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

Breaks are not optional in the Pomodoro Technique. Once the 25 minutes are over, you should never leave out a chance to refresh your energies.

Make it a habit to drink a glass of water in every Pomodoro break, and by the end of the day, you would have consumed all of your recommended daily water intakes! I don’t have to tell you the benefits of drinking water!

Another unintentional benefit of the Pomodoro is that you can get off your seat every half an hour. Most people at work are busy or lazy to get off their chairs, and we all very well know that sitting all day is more dangerous than smoking.

So make sure you get up at the end of every Pomodoro. Do some easy stretches or go for a short walk to make the best out of the breaks.

It makes you feel happier

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Once you incorporate Pomodoro into your work life, you’ll procrastinate less in due course, and you complete your work much earlier than usual.

There’s no greater joy than doing a meaningful work and giving your best.

You will leave the office early with increased satisfaction, and you will have more time for your family.

To conclude, the Pomodoro Technique is the easiest of the productivity family that you can try right away. What’s important to remember is consistency is the key.

Bonus: Technology to your advantage

The technique has become widely popular, and many software applications, tools and even special hardware have been invented to help us applying the method.

Out of many things I have tried, I’m putting out my favourites below.

Apps

  1. Forest: Stay focused (Mobile)
    This app rewards you by planting a virtual tree if you stay focused for 25 minutes. The more focused you are, the thicker will be the forest you will build. They also have an initiate to plant real trees if you pay them!
    Get it on Android or iOS. Also has a chrome extension.
  2. Engross: Stay focused. Pomodoro timer & To-do list (Mobile)
    The best thing here is that you can plan your complete Pomodoro Schedule including the breaks.
    Get it on Android.
  3. Serene (MacOS)
    This app has a beautiful sunset like UI and plays inspiring instrumental music while your Pomodoro is on.
    Get it here.
  4. FocusMe (Chrome Extension)
    A chrome extension that blocks distracting websites while you are on a Pomodoro.

Tools

  1. The Pomodoro Kitchen Timer
    If you want to stay true to the technique, you would wanna buy something like this, or a beautiful cube-shaped timer like this.
    Proceed with caution: the sound may scare your coworker when the alarm goes off.
  2. The Pomodoro Technique book
    To learn more about the principle, buy the original source of wisdom here.

[Disclaimer: Contains Affiliate Links]

Good luck. Have a meaningful work day!

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Aryan Venkat
Ascent Publication

Full Stack Developer | Maker | Becoming a Software Craftsman!