Pomodoro Technique: The Secrets Behind Productivity Lifehacks

Posted on 06/07/2018

In the modern world, productivity has become a major concern for many professionals, entrepreneurs, and students who want to increase their daily production and enhance the quality of their work while optimising time and results. This is the reason many people are interested now in time hacking techniques, productivity tricks, and any other possible way of finding a better balance between work and personal life. Most of the times the results are mediocre and people tend to give up on their efforts, that is why today we are going to examine one of the most popular productivity techniques.

 

Productivity, Lifehacks, and Motivation

The online communities focused on productivity, time hacking, motivation, and how to stop procrastinating are nowadays bigger than ever. Just as an example, this is the Reddit community r/GetMotivated, where users have even created a complete Wiki summarising the most important techniques, books, and topics covered by the community. Only in this forum, there are more than twelve million users involved, no doubt this is one of the biggest concerns for the new creators of this generation.

One of the most popular techniques in the field of time management it the famous ‘Pomodoro Technique’ developed in the late 80s by the software industry entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. The core focus of this technique: improving productivity and efficiency using a timer (traditionally a kitchen tomato-shaped timer, that is the origin of the term Pomodoro technique) to count the time, making short breaks in between blocks or pomodoros. This a priori simple and straight-forward method has been highlighted as very useful in order to focus on the current task and enhance the periods of rest in between tasks. Let’s dig into a bit more on how it works and the science behind it.

 

The Technique & How It Works

This method consists of a series of steps starting with the decision of a task to be done, and setting the Pomodoro timer to – traditionally – 25 minutes. Once the timer is set, the only thing left to do is start working as the time is ticking and, after the 25 minute period, take a short rest (2-5 minutes) and write a mark in a piece of paper, that way you will have one Pomodoro. Repeat this cycle until you do it four times (that is, four Pomodoro or a “set”), then take a longer rest (around half an hour, traditionally) and start again setting the counter to zero.

In order to enhance concentration, the pomodoros are indivisible, that way the impact of internal or external disturbances is reduced: you work on a task until you finish the Pomodoro or the task. Also, it gets easier with time to find internal flow while working.

 

Benefits Of Using Pomodoro

According to the developer of this technique, the Pomodoro method helps you by working using time as a friend that regulates when to work and focus on the task you are performing, rather than using time as an enemy who sets goals against you and puts pressure on your mind.

Another benefit of this technique is the elimination of work burnout by controlling time and setting concrete moments to rest, which enhances your ability to focus and eliminates potential distractions. Also, using this technique appropriately helps managing time and makes you feel that you are working with good rhythm and accomplishing goals, which is good in order to avoid the carving feeling of procrastination.

Use time as a friend, eliminate burnout, reduce distractions, accomplish goals, and reduce procrastination.

 

The Science Behind Pomodoro

But the real question here is: is the Pomodoro method backed up by science? Is there any evidence behind it? Not surprisingly, most of the premises of this technique are to some extent arbitrary because, after all, it is just a productivity technique. Things, like working 25 minutes and setting the break times to 5 minutes, are not based on any scientific criteria, neither the larger rest breaks of half an hour. This is actually a good thing, as it leaves you the freedom to adapt the method to your own study/work rhythms, maybe you need shorter “small breaks” and a good and long break of one hour after 4 pomodoros. Make it work for yourself.

However, there is some scientific evidence proving that the essential core of this method is, in fact, helpful for memory and attention. The Pomodoro Method is a time management technique focused on optimising the allocation of short breaks in the middle of work blocks. Research published in the prestigious scientific journal “Cognition” [DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.12.007] has shown that short breaks and diversions can cause a significant improvement in one’s ability to keep focused on a task for long periods of time.

In conclusion: the Pomodoro technique has some scientific background, basically because it is based on the distribution of work/rest blocks and the strict control of time and distractions which is proved to be useful in long periods of attention, that is why it could be very useful for you in order to improve daily productivity.

This is all for now, however if you want more serious and reliable information about productivity life hacks and how to set and achieve your goals, just keep following our blog and helping us grow. And remember, never trust “lifehacks” with ambiguous explanations and no scientific support, the internet is full of ignorant pseudo-scientific wizards with magic solutions for everything.

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Written by
Juan A. Arias López
Biólogo y Máster en Neurociencias nacido y moldeado en el noroeste ibérico. Alma de científico y naturalista recluida en un cuerpo de Homo sapiens. Fundador del blog de divulgación 'Iguanamarina: Divulgaciones, en plural" y colaborador habitual en el blog de EDUopinions.