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Why is it called the 'Pomodoro technique'? And Pomodoro technique application

Time management has never been so fun and effective for me. I've been using the Pomodoro technique now for a month and it's a game-changer for project management, productivity, and focus.

Why is it called the 'Pomodoro technique'? Plus let's look at the Pomodoro technique application

We'll look at:

What is the Pomodoro technique?

Developed in the 80's by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is a time-management method based on the principle of short bursts of full focus on a single task or task type.


In short, the Pomodoro technique consists of working in blocks of around 25 minutes (1 Pomodoro), followed by 5 minutes of rest, then after every 4 Pomodoros, a longer break of 20-30 minutes, then repeating the pattern.

The idea is that during a Pomodoro you are fully focused, you avoid all external and internal distractions (more on this later), and you commit to the task you'd planned to use that Pomodoro for, no excuses, no 'I'll just check my emails', full focus! The amount of time for 1 Pomodoro is short enough that you do not get tired but long enough to reach a 'flow state'.


Why is it called the Pomodoro technique?

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Francesco Cirillo first used a tomato kitchen timer to time his study sessions, hence where the idea to call the technique the Pomodoro technique came from. Francesco would wind the timer to 25 minutes and physically hear the ticking and see the time counting down on the timer till it dinged.

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What is the Pomodoro technique used for?

In a nutshell, the Pomodoro technique is used for time management when studying or working for productivity.

The Pomodoro technique is ideal for those who easily procrastinate when trying to focus, those who juggle a lot of projects or subjects and struggle to balance progress towards them all and those who struggle to plan their day, perhaps way overestimating what you might get done.

Pomodoro technique applictaion

  1. Organise your projects and task list - I use Todoist for mine (more on this integration later.) Organise your projects into smaller manageable tasks.

  2. What available 'work' time do you have that day? How many Pomodoros can you fit into that day? I like to plan work in 2.5-hour blocks - enough time for 4 Pomodoros and a longer break after 4. For example, if I work 8am - 4pm that's 12 Pomodoros and a few minutes to spare - I may be able to fit a 13th Pomodoro in there, but I'll leave that open.

  3. Decide what tasks you want to get done that day and how many Pomodoros each task will take. Remember from point 2, how many Pomodoros you have for that day? For example, I might use my 12 (see tomato emojis) as follows:

(Screenshot from my Todoist task list for tomorrow)

pomodoro technique application

Notice how my 'sort supplements' task doesn't have a Pomodoro attached to it. This is because Pomodoros are effective with productivity and study, my personal todo's and life events, I wish to do and enjoy un-timed!

4. Stick to the plan. Even if you have not finished the task you were hoping to finish, stop when your Pomodoro time is up and move on. At the end of the day you can always set new Pomodoros for the next working day to complete the uncompleted tasks. By sticking to your plan and set of Pomodoro's you are making progress towards your intended goals, and not procrastinating on 1 project and neglecting others.

5. If you can Save 1 Pomodoro for 'things that pop up'. Life happens, and there's always something that will try to take your focus. Simply jot that thing that pop's up on a notepad and deal with it in your spare Pomodoro. In that time you can either schedule the task for a set day and time or complete it if it can be done within that Pomodoro. I usually use this Pomodoro time to plan when to respond to important emails that come in and also reply to the quick ones.

General Rules for application of the Pomodoro technique

  • If a single task takes more than 5 Pomodoro to complete - it needs to be broken up into smaller tasks and allocated Pomodoros for each.

  • If you complete a task much quicker than the length of the Pomodoro you can 'overlearn' or 'keep working' it. Re-read that email, re-edit the draft, learn more on that topic, think ahead to what the next tasks are on that project and spend time scheduling those. Use the time on that same project - keep your focus on that.

  • Group up smaller tasks. For example - customers' voicemails. Call them all back in 1 Pomodoro.

  • Do not exceed 16 Pomodoro's a day, trust me when I say - focusing that intently during Pomodoros can be mentally tiring, you will likely not work at your best after 16, rest and recharge.

  • If you get interrupted during a Pomodoro, and it takes more than a few seconds to deal with, that Pomodoro is void, strike it and start again. It can take up to 20 minutes to focus back on a task you were on if you are distracted for more than a few seconds.

  • Close all apps, and windows and turn notifications off, even pop some earphones in and listen to some instrumental tracks so you can't be tempted to procrastinate by any 'ding's', messages and emails or even background noise.

  • Keep a log of completed Pomodoros, it keeps you accountable to your plan and helps you notice how productive you are or where, as well as how much you are getting distracted so you can plan to avoid those distractions in future.

  • Always set your Pomodoros and what will be done in them the day before.

  • Evaluate after each week if you are estimating the time tasks take well. Adjust the amount of Pomodoros for said tasks accordingly.

Free Pomodoro Tracker

Download my free Pomodoro tracker sheet here.

Download PDF • 10KB


The best Pomodoro app for iPhone or Android

Personally, I love the simplicity of a mechanical kitchen timer doing the job, however, I have given these 2 well-recommended apps a try, they do the job, easy to use and they are both available on android and iOS

  1. Forest - Set your focus/Pomodoro time, and grow a virtual tree in your virtual forest, if you cut the timer short or leave the app in the middle of a timer, your virtual tree will die, can you grow a forest of focus?

  2. Bear Focus Timer - Tom the friendly bear helps you keep time, however, if you don't concentrate and you break the focus time, he's not so friendly! Super simple to use and fun imagery to enjoy.

Pomodoro and Todoist

For me using Todoist with the Pomodoro technique is a match made in heaven. I'm a huge fan of Todoist the task management software that's available on multi-platforms.

Firstly here's an overview of Todoist:


Todoist is used for task management and tracking productivity for individuals and businesses, or both, like me! Each of the main categories that tasks fall under are known as 'projects'. I can 'filter' 'tasks' down into cross-project categories, see each day's tasks clearly laid out and colour coded by time/priority order, plus each task shows what project it belongs to.

Todoist offers me an easy-to-use, customisable to-do-list type app that works seamlessly across devices, including iPhone and on web.

Why is the Todoist App good / why do I love it?

  • Easy navigation

  • Quick add tasks

  • Many integrations

  • Organise projects easily

  • There's a free version

  • Works on many platforms

  • Handy Chrome extension

  • iPhone Widgets available

  • Customisable view options

  • Additional team and filter features

What are the disadvantages of using Todoist?

  • None for me!

And bonus, there is a free version! Feel free to read my article on Todoist Free vs Premium

3 ways to use the Pomodoro technique with Todoist

1. You can schedule Pomodoro's as recurring tasks - So for instance, say you work 9am - 5pm on weekdays. You could schedule 12 Pomodoros to recur every weekday, named Pomodoro 1, Pomodoro 2 etc.. and check them off after each one. You'd need a separate project for the actual tasks you'll complete in that day.

2. Keep your projects and tasks within them as normal in your Tododist app, but assign emoji's to each task - the emoji being a tomato 🍅, 1 for each 25-minute focus you'll give it. I always add my tomato emoji's to my next day's scheduled tasks the night before so I know exactly what equals progress for me.

Number 2 is my favourite way of using the Pomodoro technique and Todoist. For example today, I have enough time to complete 10 Pomodoros in the office before I have to go teach at the studio. I've added a tomato emoji for each block of time allocated to the day's tasks.


This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase through one of the links. Thank you for your support. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.

Where to buy a Pomodoro timer?

Any timer, digital or analogue, or an app will do the trick, but if you want to go with the original - it's gotta be a tomato kitchen timer. Here's one on Amazon:

The Best Kitchen timer UK for Pomodoro technique

I love the idea of the visual counting down of time, so the timer I've been using is mechanical and clearly shows the time in red. Check this one out from Amazon that comes in varying colours:

Here's mine in action right now!

My conclusion to the Pomodoro technique

I've used a time-blocking technique for the past 2 years, and that change alone had really helped my productivity, but I'd still find myself underestimating how long tasks would take, being easily distracted by my emails and working slowly when in long blocks of work-time.

This past month using the Pomodoro technique has seen my productivity take a huge jump up. Having the shorter focus times allow me to stay fresh and in the flow during each Pomodoro, then after each break I’m ready and eager to go in the knowledge that it’s only 25 minutes, I can go hell for leather then recharge in between.

I don't feel overwhelmed by bigger projects anymore, as everything is split into smaller tasks/Pomodoro sessions. I've never felt so in control of multiple projects.

I hope this post has helped you understand the Pomodoro technique better and encouraged you to give it a try! Happy Pomodoros!

Jenny - Author


This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase through one of the links. Thank you for your support. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.


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