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What is the Pomodoro technique?

Published: 2020-04-13

One thing I find fascinating about the industrial revolution is that we combined ideas and technology to create tools and equipment that would reduce the workload for mankind. What’s even more fascinating is the fact that we could be more efficient and productive at the same time.

Fortunately, this mentality is still going strong in the modern world and companies are constantly trying to use technology and thinking to optimize and manage industries of all kinds.

In the digital industry many methods have been invented throughout the course of time and one of them is the ‘Pomodoro technique’. Before I get into details about what Pomodoro is and how it can increase company efficiency, I want to declare that I’m not a scientist on the topic. This blog post is more like a reflection of my first-hand experience, using Pomodoro and what impacts I felt it had on my workflow. I was introduced to this technique during my internship at an award-winning digital marketing agency called IIH-Nordic.

IIH serves as a shining example to the rest of the world that you can have an ambitious working life and enjoy great commercial success without necessarily sacrificing your freedom, health or family time. If you prefer a more scientific reference I can highly recommend: The secret of the four-day week: – how to make your business grow by working less, written by the CEO of IIH-Nordic.

The origin of the tomato-technique.

The word ‘Pomodoro’ comes from the Italien word ‘tomato’ and was developed by the Italian consulting guru Francesco Cirillo in the late ’80s. Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to develop this technique.

What is the Pomodoro technique | Kodex

The basic theory behind Pomodoro explains how employees can increase their productivity by setting up defined tasks and reducing distractions. Within intervals of 25 minutes employees focus on one predetermined task, and cannot be disturbed by co-workers. The primary purpose of this is to enter a mental state of flow and focus.

Pomodoro now.

As technology has improved the tomato-shaped kitchen timer has been replaced with applications of different kinds. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to use an indicator to show colleagues when you’re in Pomodoro. Companies tend to use a light on their desk that turns on as soon as start your Pomodoro session. By doing this, employees avoid disturbing each other’s flow.

Luxafor light | Good pomodoro indicator | Kodex

To reduce disturbances further, you can replace background noise with music. I want to express that some genres are more suitable for work situations than others. Focus@will is a company that provides a neuroscience-based subscription service that uses phase sequenced playlists of instrumental music designed to improve users’ productivity.

I would highly recommend that you check them out.

Step by step

Pomodoro consists of multiple steps. Here’s a short overview of how it was used at IIH-Nordic:

  • Firstly, you declare what you’re working on by writing it down either on paper or in your pomodoro-application.
  • Next, you initiate your Pomodoro-session by turning on your timer and indicator.
  • The intention of this is that you are able to work for 25 minutes straight.
  • When the session is finished you can take 5 minutes off to clear your brain.
  • Then you’ll repeat the process.

The amount of Pomodoro sessions depends on the company. Employees who’s having multiple meetings throughout the day are more likely to do less Pomodoro sessions. On the contrary are developers or digital engineers spending more working hours behind their desks, meaning that they can do more sessions per day.

At IIH-Nordic the goal was to get at least 12 Pomodoro sessions done per employee throughout the week.

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Morgan Grage

Full-stack developer