Staying focused: the pomodoro technique

How do I stay focused when life is full of distractions?

I’ve recently been trying the Pomodoro Technique, it’s Italian for tomato. It was created by an Italian guy who used his tomato shaped egg timer to create a technique to stay focused.

You simply chunk your time into 25 minute slots:

  • Work for 20 mins solid – jot down any distractions, but don’t follow them; then
  • Have a 5 minute break, where you can check your distractions
  • Every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15-20 mins)

I’ve tried using this at work with reasonable success. The key is to break your work down into chunks that can be managed in 20 minutes. Once you have this down pat, you become really productive, and the time spent on distractions decreases over time.

How do you stay focused?

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

3 thoughts on “Staying focused: the pomodoro technique”

  1. I too follow the same technique when working on personal projects.
    I did also try this in the office for a while, however there were simply to many interruptions, such as people approaching me, skype, email etc, and being the lead I encourage those activities so didn’t work too well in that instance.

    However I still do the approach of breaking work into the smaller tasks, I can’t complete the work always in 20 min stints, but it does allow be to see progress in my tasks, and not see something, “Arghhhhh when the hell am I going to get that done!”


  2. At longer breaks stand up and do some physical activity. Run up the stairs to next floor. Helps a lot to stay productive!


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