When confronted with interruptions and competing responsibilities, it can be difficult to effectively manage our time. Believe it or not, a kitchen timer may be your secret to a more productive day. The Pomodoro method is a productivity system that helps with time management and task completion.

Tomato Timer


In the 1980s, Francesco Cirillo developed a technique inspired by his kitchen timer shaped like a tomato, or in Italian, pomodoro.  When faced with a large task, a useful way to accomplish the task is to break the work down into smaller more manageable pieces. The Pomodoro method encourages you to budget your time into short increments to complete a particular task, motivates you to complete a task within a set period of time, and trains your brain to focus on short periods to improve your attention span and concentration. By working in short sprints and incorporating scheduled breaks, you’re able to stay fresh and focused. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or unproductive, give the Pomodoro method a try!

Once you select a task to be done, follow these simple steps.

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  2. Focus on the task and only on the task.
  3. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on the paper. You have completed a Pomodoro!
  4. Take a 5-minute break.
  5. Repeat the process and take a longer break (about 20 minutes) after you have completed four Pomodoros.


cell phone

By committing to an interruption-less Pomodoro, you’ll be able to keep distractions at bay. We often feel tempted by social media, text messages, and emails, and this method can keep you in check. The Pomodoro method also structures time in a way that makes us focus and wait to take that coffee or snack break. Try putting off doing things that end up being procrastinations during the Pomodoro. Once you’ve earned your break, take the time to recharge and refuel your creativity. Breaks are important for productivity too.

Keep in mind that a Pomodoro is an indivisible unit of work. You must focus on only the task, and if you’re distracted you must end the Pomodoro and restart a new one to fulfill the full Pomodoro. It’s understandable that some interruptions require immediate attention, but if there is a distraction that can be postponed for 10 minutes or the remaining minutes in your Pomodoro, try to stay true to the method. You may be surprised by your efficiency when you focus on one task at a time. Plus, you can add an extra layer of accountability by creating Pomodoro goals for a particular project or your entire day.

There are many apps for this method if you like keeping things electronic, but an old-fashioned timer will do as well. Focus Timer and Marinara Timer are our favorite apps.

For more information on the Pomodoro method, visit https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique.