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  • Réka Szalai

The Pomodoro technique

Updated: May 13

In the 1980s Francesco Cirillo had problems paying attention to the college material. He was trying endlessly to get motivation to study and do not procrastinate but it was not so easy. One day he thought maybe breaking up the periods in an organised way will help him. He studied in 30-minute blocks which was built up from 25 minutes of concentrated work (called pomodori) and a 5-minute break. After 4 blocks there is a 15–30-minute break to let your brain properly rest before the next blocks.


Why “pomodoro”?

Francesco Cirillo was Italian (I know, shocking) and when he developed this technique, he used his kitchen timer shaped like a tomato, translating to pomodoro in Italian.


Preparations and recommendations:

  • make a TO DO list for the day

  • estimate how many pomodori you will need to complete all the tasks

  • never switch tasks during one block

  • leave your work environment for a bit during breaks, stand up and fill your lungs with fresh air.

Why does Pomodoro work?

1. Those 5-minute breaks can help you DEFEAT cognitive boredom.

It ensures that you will be doing focused work for 25 minutes continuously. When studying for the same exam your brain basically gets bored, so a break and the change of the task motivates you to keep going.


2. The work-break pattern BOOSTS your effectiveness and reduces stress.

It was shown that long stretches of work contribute to stress. Breaking work into smaller chunks can be also more fulfilling, since it increases the incentives for reward.


3. The timer also PREVENTS you from multitasking.

As I have mentioned before, multitasking simply does not work. The pomodoro technique bans you from switching tasks in a pomodori which leaves no room for multitasking.


4. Pomodoro ENHANCES your decision-making

Research also showed that the Pomodoro technique helps decision fatigue and prevents you from losing your reasoning ability and willpower.


A very interesting study was made in Israel where the judges’ decision-making ability was inspected. When they took breaks, they were able to assess each situation better and far more paroles were granted. However, when they worked all day without breaks the decision was very often just saying no.


5. It helps you BEAT Parkinson’s law

Parkinson’s law says that if you have a time-range to finish a task you are likely to stretch the task and use all the time you were given rather than finishing it as fast as possible. Since you are given time-slots, and they are only 25 minutes long, you simply beat the law!


Apps for Pomodoro:

1. Web-based apps:

  • Pomodor

  • Marinara timer


2. Mobile apps:

  • Forest

  • Be Focused

  • KanbanFlow

  • Toggl Track


Forest is not just a great app, but also contributes to planting real trees through donations to Trees For The Future. It helps you while working, studying or when you want to spend quality time with your friends. It is a great app for battling phone addiction, give it a try if you can!


Try it and let us know how it went in the comments!


If you want to study faster and more efficiently, download our app, which is available on App Store and Google Play.



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