Why I don’t recommend this popular productivity method

Let's talk about the productivity technique that is named after a tomato and why I don't necessarily recommend it.

How the method works

The Pomodoro Technique is a very popular productivity method where you spend 25 minutes fully focusing, and then you give yourself a five minute break. Then you spend another 25 minutes fully focusing, followed by another five minute break, and so on. Every pair of 25 minutes working with a five minute break is called a "pomodoro". And once you have done four pomodoros you get to take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

The Pomodoro Technique gets its name from the fact that the person who invented it used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato to time their 25 minutes of work and their five minutes of break, and "pomodoro" is Italian for tomato.

Why I don't necessarily recommend it

Like I said, the Pomodoro Technique is a very popular productivity method. So I may not be getting myself many popularity points here, but I actually don't necessarily recommend it as a tool for getting your most important work done.

You should avoid this popular productivity method.

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The reason why is this: Research shows that it actually takes us 15 to 20 minutes to fully focus our thoughts on the task at hand. If you are then spending only 25 minutes in total on that task before you switch your attention, that means you actually only get five to 10 minutes of full focus out of one pomodoro. Then because you take a five minute break and you switch your attention elsewhere, when you come back, you need to spend another 15 to 20 minutes getting fully focused on that task.

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For this reason, I think the Pomodoro technique can be useful for getting some short, sharp tasks done and out of the way, but it's not that great for your most important and most focused work. If you have a project that you really need to sink your head into, then I would recommend spending a longer period of time focusing in one block. Something more like 60 to 90 minutes rather than just 25.


So that's the productivity method that is named after tomato and the reason that I don't necessarily recommend it. If you would like to get my hot take on any other productivity questions, then leave them in the comments below.

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