The Tomato Method of time management

Pomodoro method
Ted Scott
Ted Scott
5 March 2024
7 min

Working more than eight hours a day, but still don’t have time for anything? It’s time to think about why that’s the case. Perhaps you should learn a couple or three time management techniques that will allow you to do more in less time. You can talk about time management techniques for a very long time, but there are techniques that are more effective and efficient at work.

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One effective technique that helps you become more productive, take control of your time and accomplish more tasks is the Pomodoro technique.

What is the Tomato Method

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple but effective Italian technique that allows you to work more efficiently, be more productive, and get to tasks faster. The popular method owes its appearance and name to student Francesco Cirillo.

The description of the story is as follows: in the late 80s of the XX century, studying at a university, an Italian was preparing for exams. On the wall of the house hung a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato. Then the young man came up with the idea to turn it on to measure and divide 25-minute sessions for studying, after which he took a short break. The method actually proved to be quite successful, so the founder of the technique suggested it to other people.

And the time intervals began to be called pomodoros in honor of the tomato timer. And the time intervals began to be called pomodoros in honor of the tomato timer.

How to apply the Pomodoro technique

The method can be used perfectly in professional, educational, and domestic environments. One tomato usually refers to a period of time from 25 to 30 minutes allocated for work. A certain interval (about 5 to 10 minutes) is also given, which implies rest.

The basis of the method is as follows:

  1. Tip. Make a to-do list for the day using a notepad and pen or electronic schedulers, taking into account the priorities and importance of the task. Opposite each entry, document or activity, write down its estimated time of completion.
  2. Start the timer for the first 25 minutes, active work begins.
  3. At the end of the tomato is supposed to rest: you can do exercises, get some fresh air, pour coffee, water the flowers, tidy up the table.
  4. After four short tomatoes, a big break is taken, which is generally accepted to be about 15-20 minutes (sometimes this time interval can be increased to 30-40 minutes).

A task is performed exactly until it is completely done. At the end, it is crossed off the task list and the person moves on to the next one.

The Pomodoro technique is extremely effective if a person in the process of activity often faces personal low performance, is easily distracted, lacks concentration, has zero motivation and feels exhausted.

time management pomodoro

Advantages and disadvantages

The Pomodor approach allows for the proper distribution of many tasks and increases daily productivity through periods of focused work. In addition, the method’s undoubted advantages include:

  1. Increased concentration. Gone is the habit of conducting several tasks at once, dispersing attention. Productive skill of concentration, concentration and effort of work on one task comes. The quality of the work produced increases, and less time is spent on any activity.
  2. Willpower training. There is no need to shift responsibility to other people, the Internet, distractions. Full concentration on the task is due to a personal decision.
  3. Keeping motivated. Staying productive and fighting procrastination is several times higher when you are clearly aware of the long break waiting ahead after four tomatoes. Time begins to be valued as you realize how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes of work.
  4. Improved planning. The ability to calculate the right amount of time intervals needed to write a report, create a project, or write a new program or book teaches you to plan tasks accurately.
  5. Strengthening relationships within the company. When using the Pomodoro method, it becomes easier for the entire work team or project group to understand personal responsibilities and respect the work of another person. Distracting conversations and chats are minimized. Meetings and business negotiations are time-limited to a certain period and are only held when the entire team is ready for them and not busy solving an important issue.
  6. Limiting distractions. The environment is optimized, allowing one to concentrate on current tasks. A person gets used to putting the phone in “airplane mode”, setting up an e-mail answering machine, reading messages from other people at strictly designated times, which significantly increases productivity.
  7. Reducing mental fatigue. Doing work for long periods of time greatly reduces the fruitfulness of activity, whereas short rest breaks between tasks allow you to keep your concentration at a high level. Therefore, the Pomidoro method is a cool way to give your brain a timely rest so that you can then quickly get back to work without feeling overworked.
  8. Preventing emotional and professional burnout. Small intervals of time for planned rest relieves from being overwhelmed, tense and stressed because of a large amount of work. They also allow you to preserve your resources and strength, allowing you to work without overwork.

Pomodoro also has certain remarks or disadvantages, because of which the method is not suitable for all people. Let’s consider them in more detail and offer options for solving the problems.

Too little time to work

Some people do not have time to concentrate and immerse themselves in the task during a quick tomato when time is running out. Such employees are recommended to adjust working intervals to 45-50, and sometimes 90 minutes, with rest intervals of at least 15 minutes.

A sense of hurry, a sense of the eternal race to be productive

Other workers may suffer because the basic principle of tomato forces them to hurry, requires them to be constantly within strict limits. A part of such people increase internal tension, appear carelessness, lose focus.

It’s important for them to realize that it’s not a disaster to fail to complete a task in a tomato. It is absolutely normal to spend the whole day on one task. If the degree of tension still does not go down, in this case, you can increase the duration of the intervals of labor and rest.

No pleasure in work

People who can’t concentrate, obey structure and prefer to live without any plan have their own rhythms. It is quite difficult for them to work according to the tomato technique, because with its application they lose productivity, feel like robots, and burn out faster from lack of inspiration.

They need to accept that this methodology is not for them, look for other powerful time management strategies.

Individual characteristics of a person

The recommended time allocation interval of the Pomodoro method is not a scientific study, not the experience of generations, but only a technology proposed by a particular person. Therefore, the interval may not be suitable for everyone. Also, other factors can affect productivity: divorce, bad moods, environmental conditions. Therefore, you should not blindly follow the instructions of the method, it is better to adjust them to yourself.

pomodoro technique

Suitable for

The Pomodoro method is most useful for people in creative professions: developers, programmers, designers. In addition, the technique fits perfectly into the life of a person who carries out long monotonous work during the day, for example, a person making reports, writing a term paper on studies, so it can be used by ordinary office staff, as well as managers, secretaries, accountants, students. The technique is also great for setting short-term goals, reading, work that can be broken down into steps.

The worst adaptations to the method are:

  • people with a floating work format (sales managers, project managers);
  • figures who need a certain psychological mood for labor, a state of flow (writers, artists);
  • employees who by nature need more time to concentrate on a task.

If the Pomodoro method applied to you in your professional or personal activities has worked ineffectively or in the opposite direction, try to adapt it and create your own style of work, choose a convenient system to suit your preferences. To do this, use a few simple ways listed below.

Changing the duration of time intervals

The duration of tomato breaks and rest periods varies according to your biological clock and work rhythm. If necessary, you can increase or reduce the breaks. Or make longer time intervals for labor activities, for example, 40-45 minutes each.

Combination with other time management strategies

Organizing tasks can be done using several methods, which only increases their productivity. For example, the Pomidoro technique is great to use in conjunction with the Tidying Up Method (GTD).

Using the method at certain times of the day

There is no need to start working in tomato mode all day, it will only interfere with the work. Use the Pomodoro when the technique is useful and necessary. For example, in working with a particular project where a constant change of components is expected. It is best if the time interval coincides with the peak of morning or afternoon activity.

LeaderTask is an online service for working on the Pomodoro technique

Best Planner Apps for Android

If there is no timer at hand to perform the division of tasks by tomodoro using the above method, an excellent solution will be to use special applications. The choice is huge, so we only want to tell you about the most interesting option for time management by Pomodoro – the LeaderTask service.

The app has a built-in to-do list compiled for the day, which can be used instead of the Pomodoro timer. Using the flexible timeline, tomato sprints are tracked effortlessly, indicating the right amount of time to complete each task. Short or long rest breaks can then be set up. The start of each period is notified by pop-up notifications.

At the same time, the service has a lot of other advantages and tools for effective time management. It works perfectly in both offline and online versions. It offers different formats of work: in a team and individually. There is a free tariff and trial test versions for paid tariffs.


If you haven’t tried the Pomodoro Technique yet, we highly recommend trying it out today. It’s a pretty simple, convenient and effective way to reduce time spent on work tasks.

And to avoid the agony of setting an alarm clock or timer in the practical application of the Pomodoro method, our online service LeaderTask will come to the rescue with handy materials to work with. Good luck!

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