What's a pomodoro?

At eden, we often use the Pomodoro Technique™ to manage our time effectively. What exactly is a pomodoro? You could find out on the Dizionario di Italiano but i’ll give you a clue: it’s a tomato.

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A tomato?! How does a tomato help us manage time and increase our productivity? Well when we talk about pomodoros, we’re actually talking about a 25-minute block of time followed by a 5-minute break to reflect and assess how we’re doing and what we will do in the next 25 minutes. After four of these we take a longer break. If we’re really serious about the technique, we aim to do 12 pomodoros in a day.

This is the Pomodoro Technique created by Francesco Cirillo in 1992. It is called Pomodoro because Francesco used one of those kitchen timers shaped like a tomato.

These are the five simple steps of the Pomodoro Technique:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

We don’t actually use a kitchen timer (though i think it would be cool to have some!) but we use software tools instead. We use Apple’s Pomodoro timer which has Growl integration and keeps track of tasks and interruptions. When pairing remotely we use http://tomatoi.st/ which enables both people to see the time as it counts down.

At eden, pomodoro time is highly respected in terms of not interrupting unless it is really urgent. It’s very easy to say, “We’re on a pomodoro” and people know that you’ll talk to them in your next break.

We find that the Pomodoro Technique increases our focus, keeps us on track with what we’re doing, and keeps us in control of our time, rather than time controlling us. For ideas and resources, visit PomodoroTechnique.com.