The Pomodoro Technique: Working with the Tomato Timer

Podomoro technique

Have you ever found yourself struggling to focus on a task? Distracted and derailed from your work? Have you ever felt your hands itching to type your favorite show on Netflix’s search bar and spend your entire day watching it? If you feel like you’re getting caught, The Pomodoro Technique might be a perfect solution for you! 

Pomodoro itself means tomato in Italian. This time management system was developed by Francesco Cirillo when he was a university student in the late 1980s. He found himself struggling to focus on his studies and get his assignments done, so he challenged himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. He then found a tomato-shaped timer in his kitchen to help track his time; this is why the technique is named after a tomato. Without realizing it, there’s a possibility that you’ve done this method without knowing its name.

So, how exactly does this method work? In brief, this method challenges you to focus on a task and work on it in time intervals. 

  • Choose a task you’d like to get done.

Tip: you can break down huge tasks into much simpler ones and write them on a to-do list to make it easier to track what you’ve done in one Pomodoro.


  • Set your timer for 25 minutes and work on a single task.

Start working on your task. Stay focused and committed to it! It’s only 25 minutes after all.

  • After the timer rings, record what you’ve done.

Congratulations! You’ve spent 25 minutes of work without interruption. You can now put a checkmark on the things you’ve done.

  • Enjoy a five-minute break.

Leave your work and let your brain relax for a while. This moment is when you do your usual interruptions outside work-related things, be it replying to an email, making yourself a drink or a snack, petting your pet, etc.

  • Get back on track

Now get yourself back on your work, and repeat step 1. Every four Pomodoros take a longer 15-30 minute break.

Have a question

You might wonder, how does such a simple method make a huge change? Think about the times you got distracted from your work. You tend to happily leave what you are working on, even for a mere phone call. Pomodoro helps you cut down the interruptions and gets to your work as soon as possible. No disruption is allowed once the timer starts. It also helps you eliminate burnouts since there’s a break taken after each session to keep you fresh.

Another possible question, why does it have to be 25 minutes? Since the method itself is created to handle interruption and stay focused on the task at hand, the time required shouldn’t be too long to discourage people even from the start. It shouldn’t be an overwhelming amount of time that makes people get bored or tired easily to the point they end up leaving their work. Since 25 minutes is such a short amount of time, it creates a sense of urgency that makes people focus on their work and get them done before the time ends. Even so, you can adjust the time according to your preference. 

“What if there’s an unavoidable disruption during the work time?’ It’s okay! It happens sometimes. Take the five-minute break earlier, and start all over again. Cirillo recommends tracking the interruptions so that you can reflect on and think of a way to avoid them next time. “What if I finish the task before the timer goes off?” Great job! You can either turn off the timer and take a break or use the remaining time to overlearn other things. 

Finally, when you get yourself used to this method, it’s time to say goodbye to your procrastination habit. Challenge yourself to hit a certain number of Pomodoros each day. Adjust for a longer time for each session. It will surprise you how much you can accomplish in a short time of focused work. This article was written in 8 Pomodoro sessions.

Writer: Ias Aprilia

Editor: Hasna F