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Pomodoro Technique: The Key to Staying Disciplined and Mastering Your Time - 2 min read

Like many students — and most people — I procrastinate. Homework due? You can bet your bottom dollar I wait until the last possible second to complete the assignment. And while I’m no longer a student, I’ve tried many productivity techniques through the years—to-do lists, Google Calendars, a schedule book, exercise and even meditation. You name it, I’ve done it. Luckily, a friend of mine introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique, which is by far the most effective method I’ve ever tried. In this article, we’ll discuss what the Pomodoro Technique is and how you can stay disciplined and master your time by implementing it. 

Divide Your Day Into 25-minute Chunks

Francesco Cirillo, an Italian software designer, invented the Pomodoro Technique in the 90s. And for all you multilingual chefs out there, “Pomodoro,” as you may know, is the Italian word for “tomato.” You may be asking, “what in the world does a tomato have to do with time management?” To answer your question, the Pomodoro Technique is named for the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used when developing his philosophy. 

And the idea behind it is simple. Start by creating a list of tasks. After creating the list, set a timer for 25 minutes. At the end of those 25 minutes, take a quick break (5-10 minutes). During your break, go for a quick walk, read a blog post, check your Instagram account or grab a snack. Once your break is over, repeat these blocks (Pomodoros) three more times. Following your fourth block, take a longer break (20-30 minutes). 

Repeat these series of 25-minute blocks throughout your day, breaking for lunch or dinner and restarting as necessary. 


Let’s break those steps down:

  1. Create a list of tasks
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  3. Focus your studies for the entire 25 minutes
  4. Take a 5-minute break
  5. Repeat blocks three more times
  6. At the end of your 4th block, take a 20-30 minute break
  7. If you’re up for it, keep on going or call it a day.

Why Does the Pomodoro Technique Work? 

The Pomodoro Technique works because it’s scientifically proven. According to a 2008 study that analyzed fatigue in pilots, it was revealed that long duty hours reduced alertness in the cockpit. As a result, taking short breaks between long sessions significantly improved awareness and focus. Several other studies suggest that we have various cycles of peak productivity every day and taking short breaks renews our energy and helps us perform at our best. 

Not only that, the Pomodoro Technique is uncomplicated and is catered towards those, like me, who get easily distracted. For example, I struggle to remain focused for long periods of time, but I’ve found that focusing for 25 minutes works really well. And after a small break, I’m able to repeat the sequence again and again. The small study breaks aren’t just desirable—they actually increase focus. It’s self-care at its finest! 

Find the Pomodoro Timer Right for You

Kick it analog-style and buy a physical tomato timer or use the timer on your phone. I recommend keeping your phone on flight mode to limit distractions. But because we live in an app-obsessed world, there is no shortage of free Pomodoro timers out there. Do a little research and find the Pomodoro app that’s right for you. Here’s a list of some of our favorites. 

Final Thoughts

While the Pomodoro Technique is great for discipline, at some point, you won’t even need that timer. Through the technique, you’ll learn how to study optimally and become more organized and disciplined in the process. 

And if you feel like you can keep going after 25 minutes, do so. Maybe you find that 45 minutes followed by 15-minute breaks works better for you. Keep experimenting to see what works best. 

Now, you’re ready to add the Pomodoro Technique to your time-management arsenal.


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Kristy is a copywriter and former student at Columbia University. Having lived in New York City, Berlin and Auckland, she's a bit of a nomad, but has found a home away from home (wherever that is) in Copenhagen. When she's not busy writing on everything 'study-related,' she can be found in vintage shops and coffee parlors all around Copenhagen.

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