Manage Time with the Pomodoro Technique

pomodoro technique timer

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

Basic Principles

#1: Decide on the task to be done.

#2: Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).

#3: Work on the task until the timer rings. (If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.)

#4: After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.

#5: If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go back to Step 1.

#6: After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go back to Step 1.


Pomodoro is a widely adopted method, like the Getting Things Done (GTD) system, and there are many desktop and mobile apps to help with it. Note that similarly to GTD, the creator of Pomodoro suggests to use a mechanical timer, paper and pencil.

Click here if you feel like discovering more tools based on the Pomodoro Technique.

This blog post is an excerpt from The Lean MBA program. The Lean MBA is 1-year, 100% online program teaching 12 functional areas of business administration.

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