Remote Academy
8 min read

3 Signs the Pomodoro Method is Right for You

Published on
April 17, 2024
Contributors
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
Lana Steiner
Product Designer
Drew Cano
Frontend Engineer
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If you came across this post, chances are you’re either looking to increase your productivity levels and sense of achievement — or looking for an Italian recipe! 🍝

Well don’t let the name confuse you, as the Pomodoro method is not a complicated sauce recipe for bolognese, but rather a simple, yet efficient method to focus and get more things done.

If you came for the first reason, congratulations! You’re in the right place. We’ll be talking about how the Pomodoro method can be useful for modern workers and how that person can be you.

What is the Pomodoro Method?

The Pomodoro method was created by a college student, Francesco Cirilo, because he was worried about his lack of focus in completing his assignments.

During his struggle, he decided to commit to at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted work and study time while devoting his whole attention to the task.

He found this simple method so useful that he went on to write a 130-page book about the development of the method.

To save you from the doom of reading through many pages just to gauge a fit, we’ve come up with a list of signs that indicate whether this technique is the right one for you:

Signs that the Pomodoro method is right for you

tl;dr

1. You struggle to complete tasks in a determined amount of time and — worse — procrastinate on them.
2. You set unachievable expectations for your daily work routines.
3. You struggle to start your job tasks and get overwhelmed about how much you need to get done.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

1. You struggle to complete tasks in a determined amount of time and, worse, procrastinate on them

Some people love the rush of working on a task at the very last minute. For them, it’s like an extreme way of pumping up inspiration.

This might be good if you work as a freelancer, but what about if you work in teams?

Project management doesn’t work like that. In fact, it’s important that the whole team is on the move as they’re always feedback, fixes and bugs to find, so if you usually wait until the very last minute, the Pomodoro Method could help you a great deal.

The Pomodoro method revolves around time sprints of 25 minutes, in which an hour is divided into four and each interval alternates between focused time and restorative breaks (usually 5-10 minutes).

To start implementing this method into your routine you’ll need to:

  • Break down bigger tasks into smaller ones: Depending on your workload, you’ll probably need multiple Pomodoros (a.k.a more hours) to complete which can be overwhelming for someone just getting adjusted to a hectic work routine. Therefore, dividing a set task into smaller pieces could make it easier for you to complete your assignment.
  • Small pieces do a puzzle: If you have adjacent tasks that need can be completed within less than 25 minutes, for example replying to an email or even washing your dishes, those chores can go together on a one-time block only, which will allow you to set time aside to get more work-related assignments done later on.
  • Set a Pomodoro and wait for your timer to ring: To understand how the Pomodoro technique works, you’ll need to keep in mind that the 25-minute sprints are indivisible units of time that cannot be broken.This means that the interval used for focused work will only be used to complete tasks and avoid disruptions; while the time set for rest will only be used to take a break.

2. You set unachievable expectations for your daily work routines

Let’s say your problem isn’t a lack of focus but your terrible sense of achievement after work hours.

How can you not get anything done after working for 3 hours straight? This is not uncommon nor a work-from-home issue.

People can experience this at the office and working from the comfort of their homes. So, who can we blame for this dreadful feeling?

There are two possible suspects for this crime: lack of time and productivity management.

If your goals for the day are:

  • Fix the bugs for the recently launched feature.
  • Create an improved handoff process for the design and code team.
  • Set the KPIs and strategy plan for Q4.

Well, may the force be with you. These are definitely unachievable daily goals that need a better time span!

Here’s how the Pomodoro method can help here:

Once you give yourself some more (reasonable) time to tackle the goals above, you can break each individual goal into small 25-minutes bits.

If the team needs to fix the bugs of the new product feature, you first need to find them, if you can’t in 25 minutes, have a rest and then try again for another 25 minutes. Once the first bug is fixed, then you move onto the next.

Knowing that you clearly identified a bug is better than making little to no progress on each of the unachievable tasks above.

3. You struggle to start your job tasks and get overwhelmed about how much you need to get done

This is particularly true for startups. Developing new products and services is only for the brave.

There are so many things to figure out that it can feel overwhelming. If this is your case and you have so many things to do that don’t know where to start, use the Pomodoro method to do so:

Source: Todoist

Picture a fresh, juicy tomato – the kind that practically begs to be devoured.

The Pomodoro method is like slicing that tomato up to enjoy it in different ways, but for your work life.

Imagine each 25-minute chunk as a "Pomodoro" (which just means "tomato" in Italian, fancy, right?).

These are like those delicious bites you savor without anything else getting in the way. Focus time, no distractions – just you and your task, face-to-face (or screen-to-screen, I guess).

But just like you wouldn't gobble down the whole tomato in one go, there are breaks! Think of those as the other half of the tomato, getting chopped up into refreshing 5-minute slices. They keep your brain happy and energized, ready to tackle the next "Pomodoro" with gusto.

Since you’re breaking down big projects into bite-sized chunks and taking quick breaks, the Pomodoro method is akin to using the whole tomato – you get the most out of your work time without feeling burnt out.

It's all about working smarter, not harder (and maybe leaving some room for a post-work tomato snack, just sayin').

The Bottom line: implementing Pomodoros could be easier said than done

If adding Pomodoros into your routine sounds about as appealing as eating spoiled tomatoes, don’t freak out just yet.

Learning to plan your work groove and build habits around it can totally transform your relationship with work.

Even the biggest go-getter can hit a motivation slump by lunchtime. That's where your plan comes in handy, keeping you accountable and finishing lines in sight. In this picture, Pomodoros are like tiny task trackers, reminding you to work hard and rest easy.

And since habits are built through small steps, here are a few tips to remember while implementing the Pomodoro method into your routine:

  • Plan your Pomodoros: Try to figure out how many tasks you’ll need to complete in a week and depending on that, plan how you’ll divide them through your workday. Remember to break chores into smaller and more manageable tasks
  • Experiment with the length of your Pomodoros: Sometimes, depending on the tasks, you’ll need more than 25 minutes to focus on finishing an important part of your assignment, so it is a great idea to try extending work while taking shorter breaks. For most, these sprints last between 30 minutes and 50 minutes
  • Get away from your screen! While for most, their whole day is spent in front of their computer, it is essential to find time to take a break from screens and grab a snack, watch some birds from your window or even take a walk somewhere. Resting is just as important as completing your tasks for your productivity.

And remember, Pomodoros are your friends, not your drill sergeants. Find what works for you, experiment, and enjoy the feeling of crossing off tasks without burnout.

Now, who's up for a post-work tomato (or chocolate, no judgment)? ☕

The original 🍅 method, summarized:

1. Pick the next task to tackle
2. Set a 25-minute work sprint
3. Take a short break (5-10m)
4. Do steps #2 and #3 four times
5. Take a longer break (20 min)
6. Not finished the task? Start a new pomodoro!

A simple trick for running Pomodoros in your work chat

💡 You can use DailyBot to set up a Pomodoro timer right where the action happens: your work chat, whether that is Slack, Google Chat, Microsoft Teams or Discord.

We explained how to do so in another lesson to help you avoid tooling fatigue. Learn more →

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