What Is the Pomodoro Technique? A Guide

What is the Pomodoro Technique, and how can it help you accomplish more?

Let’s find out!

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time-management method invented by Italian Francesco Cirillo. It is part of the Pomodoro core process whereby you track blocks of focused time and how you spend it.

It’s useful for writers, coders, university students, and anyone who needs to get more done, fast. It can also help you beat productivity problems like procrastination.

Cirillo said,

“I discovered that you could learn how to improve your effectiveness and be better able to estimate how long a task will take to complete by recording how you utilize your time.” 

It’s portable and easy to learn, too. In this article and podcast interview, I’ll explain the Pomodoro Technique and how to use it more effectively. I’ll also reveal some extra tips from its inventor!

What You Need to Use the Pomodoro Technique

  • A kitchen timer or Pomodoro timer
  • A writing pen
  • A notebook or journal
  • Something to work on
  • Somewhere to work

Tip: Turn off notifications for or remove all distractions from where you’re working, like email, social media and your phone.

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

  • Pick one part of your project to focus on.
  • Set a timer for 25-30 minutes, and start working.
  • When the buzzer sounds, take a two-to-five-minute break.
  • Repeat.
  • After four sessions, take a longer break.
  • Count the number of Pomodoro sessions at the end of the day
  • Use this information to optimize your work time

The Pomodoro Technique is useful if you get distracted during a workday or want to understand how long a task takes. I’ve used it for writing, studying, and admin work.

Unlike trying to concentrate without a break for hours, the 25-minute intervals will help avoid burnout. And they’re an achievable type of focus booster. Anyone can work for 25-minutes!

This time management method is also ideal for many types of creative work, including writing first drafts, editing a manuscript, and researching articles or stories. 

Four Pomodoro sessions can represent a productive, creative morning. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish in short bursts of focused work at home. After that, it’s time for lunch or even a nap.

Case Study: Using the Pomodoro Technique For Writing

Professional writers can use this technique for other business tasks, such as wading through a busy inbox. A 25-minute Pomodoro session is long enough to write several hundred words but not so long that it feels painful or overwhelming. 

I read about the Pomodoro Technique in 2012. I use it to write first drafts of articles I am procrastinating about and also for self-editing sessions. 

These days, I use the Pomodoro Technique for creative work early in the morning when I’m fresh and want to write fast. When I start a 25-minute Pomodoro session, I know I can’t check email, social media, or the news. It’s like brain training.

Sometimes, I go hardcore and disable my internet access during a Pomodoro session. As I have a Mac, I use the app Be Focused Pro. I also use the apps Freedom and RescueTime to disable my internet access and track my focused work blocks. 

I wear noise-canceling headphones and listen to ambient music on repeat during a session. That said, fancy apps and equipment are an extra step. All you need is a timer, pen, and notepad for tracking sessions.

Don’t forget those short breaks!

I increased my Pomodoro sessions to 30 minutes, as I prefer a round number. Some advocates aim for 60-minute blocks of focused work.

You can go the other way too. If 25 minutes feels too long, try 15 or a random amount of time, like 18 minutes. Remember, the goal is to cultivate blocks of focused, creative work.

When the timer rings, always take that 5-minute break.

You don’t need to stack four Pomodoro sessions on top of each other like the technique prescribes, although it helps. One or two Pomodoro sessions a day sets a tone whereby you feel more focused and creative, even if you’re not up against a self-imposed timer. 

I’m guilty of occasionally stopping and resuming a timer rather than avoiding Pomodoro sessions altogether.

That’s because I have small children. I try to get around this by regularly setting myself goals to see how many Pomodoro sessions I can complete in a day, week, or month, depending on the creative project I am working on.

What Is The Pomodoro Technique? An Interview with Francesco Cirillo

Italian Francesco Cirillo is in the inventor of the Pomodoro core process and technique. If you’re confused about the difference, don’t worry. So was I.

In this podcast episode, we talk about:

  • The difference between the Pomodoro core process and the Pomodoro technique
  • Seeing time as a predator and using it to your advantage
  • How to use the Pomodoro Technique for writing and other work sessions
  • The importance of including regular breaks in your workflow 
  • How to count your Pomodoros
  • Mistakes to watch out for when you start to use the technique

Listen now


Pomodoro Technique Guide by Cirillo


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  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.