What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple system that helps to get your work done.
This method implies breaking work periods into 25-minute intervals followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 work periods (or Pomodoros) you can take a longer 15-minute break. Then you start the whole cycle again.
These breaks help to keep your mind focused and away from procrastination. And forcing you to stick to a structured framework also improves your productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. He realized that he was getting distracted and needed to find a way to study efficiently.
He took a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, set it to a 25-minute lapse, and forced himself to study during that time without distracting and doing anything else. Then he started a 5-minute pause and began studying again.
This method worked for him, and he learned to work with time and not against it.
Those small 5-minute rewarding breaks refreshed his mind and helped him to get better results with his studies.
A simple idea turned into a simple method to resolve a not-so-simple problem.
This technique divides a task into smaller ones and puts regular breaks into your timeline. Each 25-minute block is called a “Pomodoro.”
As you may already guessed, the name of the technique comes from “Pomodoro” that in Italian means tomato.
Which are the steps of the Pomodoro Technique?:
The Pomodoro Technique consists of 6 steps:
1-Choose a task you want to get done.
No matter what kind of task it is. It only has to be something that deserves your full attention.
2-Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes.
Promise yourself you won`t be doing anything else in the next 25 minutes. Make sure you will only engage with this task in the next 25 minutes. No phone answers, no social media checking…
3-Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings.
Don’t miss the focus. If you realize you need to do something else, write it down on paper and keep working on the present task.
4-When the Pomodoro rings put a checkmark on a paper.
Congratulate yourself after having completed a small achievement.
5-Take a short break.
In the Pomodoro break, you can do anything. Go for a coffee, take a walk, or whatever you want. But always something non-task related.
6-Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break.
Once you are done with 4 Pomodoros, take a 20- or 30-minutes break. Rest your brain and recharge your energy before the next round of Pomodoros.
What are the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique?:
The Pomodoro Technique has many benefits, and most of them come from the breaks that help to stay focused and keep your mind fresh:
- You are more engaged during certain periods of time, and this boosts the overall quality of your work.
- Is a good way to learn to manage expectations about the quantity of work you can deliver in a certain period of time.
- You work better because you are not multi-tasking and accepting interruptions.
- Your concentration gets better and improved since you focus on a short period of work time.
- Taking small breaks between tasks helps to recharge your energy and keep your mood in good shape for the next Pomodoro session.
- The Pomodoro Technique allows you to calculate and know how valuable your time is.
- Minimize health issues. You can use the breaks to get off your chair and take a walk or make some minor exercise.
- Boosts motivation and keep it constant.
- Transform time from being an enemy to being an ally to achieve your goals.
- Get psychological gratification when you feel you have done your work.
Since this is a very simple (and effective) method, all you need is a timer, a piece of paper and a pen to track your Pomodoros. But you can always use Pomodoro Apps (free or paid) to automate this technique and customize timers, sounds, and more.
Below you will find the best Pomodoro Apps. Some are quite basic (but good) while others offer lots of features and integrations.
Best Pomodoro Apps in 2021:
PC, Android, iOS
KanbanFlow is the right tool if you use Kanban diagrams regularly. This Pomodoro App is a Kanban board with a Pomodoro timer included, so you have here the possibility to add task management to your boards.
The dashboard is clean and user-friendly. You only need to hit the start button and choose to click a Pomodoro or a timer.
This Pomodoro App has a powerful task management system. If you are facing complex tasks, you can add sub-tasks for easier progress following. You can also add relations between tasks to indicate that they relate to or depend on each other.
Analytics and reports include a burnout chart to show tasks that remain to be done and track progress over time. This complements with a calendar, forecasting overview, time estimating, task count, and task history.
This software integrates with Zapier, so you can create a KanbanFlow directly from your Google Calendar or send a Slack message when a task has changed its state.
KanbanFlow price: Free for unlimited boards and tasks. Then $5/user/month for the Premium Plan to use file attachments, integrations, and priority support. The difference of features between free and paid plans is big, so if you like this app you should go for the paid plan.
Pc, Android, iOS, Chrome.
With Toggl you can track time with one click using the Pomodoro Technique. But this Pomodoro App goes further adding some project management features.
The project management dashboard shows project estimates and helps to determine how much time a project can take.
This app integrates with iCal, Asana, FreshBooks, Basecamp, GitHub, and Teamweek, making it easy to adopt Toggl into your current workflow.
Toggl price: Free plan with lots of features, next plan $10/month/user.
Pc, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome.
Focus To-Do is an all-in-all Pomodoro Timer and to-do list.
You may create projects to set priorities for your tasks. This app complements the Pomodoro Technique with an interesting project feature.
It’ also easy to also generate reports to track tasks and projects progress and add sub-tasks for detailed task management.
With the possibility to add notes, due dates, and reminders, this is a complete solution for task management and one of the best Pomodoro Apps available. With fully customizable sounds, project color coding, and synchronization across devices.
A “forest” feature empowers your motivation and helps to stick to the Pomodoro Technique. You contribute with your actions at growing a plant, but if you don’t complete your daily challenges the plant dies 🙁
Focus To-Do price: Free for basic functionality, next plan $0.99/month.
Pc, Mac, Android, iOS
Focus Booster is a Pomodoro app that allows setting Pomodoros for different clients. If you are a freelancer, this may be the right fit to track your work.
You can set up Focus Booster in a matter of minutes because this app has a clear and simple dashboard.
Sessions are logged in a timesheet area, but you can add manual entries too. And if you need to invoice, it’s easy to export them in CSV format for easy data management.
Focus Booster price: Free with only 20 sessions and next plan $2.99 per month. Free 30-day trial available.
Marinara Timer is a web-based application. It has a simple approach, and you don’t even need to register to use it.
There are three different options to choose from: Pomodoro, Kitchen, and Custom.
The Pomodoro timer is the default option with 25- and 5-minute timers. In Custom mode, you can customize timer lengths to suit your needs, and Kitchen mode is for setting a time limit and letting the timer count backward.
Where this application stands out is with the unique feature of timer sharing. You get a single URL for each time that you can share with others. Interesting if you are working with someone else or a team.
You can also set an administrator link, and the person with that link has the permission to start or stop the timer. But the app also provides a viewer link, a useful feature to avoid stopping other timers by accident.
Marinara Timer price: Free
Pc, iOS, Android.
PomoDone tracks time using the Pomodoro Technique, but with a unique integration style.
This Pomodoro app integrates with popular task management tools like Trello, Basecamp, Todoist, Paymo, and more. It’s easy to connect your task management service and start using the app in just 3 minutes. Also features Zapier integration so you can add Google Tasks and more.
But tasks can be added directly into the app if you are not using a task management tool.
You can change the standard 25-minute and 5-minute intervals to the best depending on your situation. A useful browser extension allows for quick access and even block certain websites for a certain time.
PomoDone price: Free plan with 5 projects and up to 2 integrations. Lite Plan $2.29/month with 3 integrations. Unlimited Plan $4.00/month with unlimited integrations and unlimited log access.
FocusList is a daily planner and focus app based on the Pomodoro Technique. It helps you plan your day, stay focused and track your time.
With a minimalist and simple approach, FocusList helps to get your work done with no bells and whistles.
This may look kind of a basic app but is quick and easy to add items to your list of the day. You cannot set up FocusList for multiple days, so you will have to spend a while every morning ordering your things.
If you are looking for an easy to use and simple productivity task app, this is for sure the right one.
FocusList price: $4.99
Pc, iOS, Android.
Pomotodo is a full workflow management platform. It combines Pomodoro timers with To-Do lists and you can use it as a timer, like a to-do list or both.
This app is based on the Getting Things Done +LINK technique, which considers that a timer is not the only thing you need to complete your tasks.
Within the app, you can set up a series of to-dos for each day and add tags to categorize them or simply drop them into priority order. Once that’s done, you can activate the Pomodoro timer, which will monitor your focus sessions and breaks. It works well as an in-between solution for two core productivity techniques. You don’t have to use both at once either: you can always use it just as a timer or just as a to-do list.
Pomotodo Price: Free plan with a To-Do list and Pomodoro timer. Then $3.9/month including advanced task management, goals setting, calendar, work report, and additional sounds.
Pomodoro Tracker is one of the simplest Pomodoro Apps that does a good job. It’s so simple you don’t even need to install or register.
A big 25-minute red window on the website with start/stop buttons is all you need to start tracking your progress with Pomodoro Tracker.
Timers are fully customizable, as well as ticking and alarms sounds and volume. You can also change theme color, language, time format, and time zone for a personalized experience.
Pomodoro Tracking price: $2.99 from Apple Store or Microsoft Store.
Tomato Timer is a web-based app with a clean and crisp interface.
This app features audio and desktop notifications, custom timer intervals, and the ability to pause or reset the timer intervals.
Don’t expect more. An app that just does the job right using the Pomodoro Technique.
Tomato Timer price: Free
Does the Pomodoro Technique work?
If you have difficulty focusing on one single task and tend to go forth and back chasing several tasks, then you should consider trying some of these Pomodoro Apps.
There is a good chance this technique increases your productivity and help to deliver better results.
The Pomodoro Technique is best suited for developers, writers, students, copywriters, and creatives. Those who work on an individual-based schema are the best candidates for these Pomodoro Apps.
Adapting yourself to a fixed time scheme will help to focus on one single task and avoid distractions.
But it’s difficult to use this technique if you work in a fast-paced environment. And if your work involves heavy team collaboration this is not the best choice.
The Pomodoro Technique focuses on time, but not on task planning. You should go for other tools if your work requires lots of planning in advance.
If you are trying to adopt the Pomodoro Technique for the first time, maybe some friction comes with your current workflow. But it all depends on your personality and the nature of your work.
The idea behind Pomodoro Apps is to build a sustainable and natural way to do your job. It isn’t going to be your best choice if you feel yourself forced and working against time.
But if you need to improve your daily job workflow, pick a free one and give it a try. Perhaps a better task management is easier than you think.
Pomodoro Technique® and Pomodoro® are registered trademarks of Francesco Cirillo