Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pomodoro Time Management Timer System

All Time Management systems are based on the same principles (including my own Time Leadership one). Basically - list what needs to be done (the old fashioned TO DO list), Prioritize it then do it.

What "new" systems tend to offer are tricks. I am playing now with the Pomodoro system. The Pomodoro system is based on using a timer and breaking everything into 25 minute blocks called a Pomodoro. In order to use the system, you need to know what to do (the to do list) and it needs to be prioritized.

The trick of this system is it helps with focus. For a 25 minute block, 100% focus on one task. Then take a 5 minute break.

I bought an inexpensive timer from Amazon. What I like about it is no batteries and it ticks. What I don't like about it is that it ticks. The ticking can help me focus but sometimes it distracts me.

What I have learned in doing this system for a couple of weeks are:

1 - I often get interrupted. Fortunately many of these interruptions are of my on making and can be avoided (like reading the email that comes in).

2 - I have less 25 minute blocks in a day than I thought. Simple maintenance (like email again) can suck a lot of time from my day.

3 - 5 minutes is a long break.

4 - I can get a lot done in 25 minutes of high focus. (like write an article)

5 - in order to be high focus and high productivity for the 25 minute, I need to be well prepared. Often the preparation itself can take 25 or more minutes.

Interesting system and I think I will use it some.

You can download a free timer at


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

I'm sure you will agree that there is no "one size fits all" solution. The Pomodoro system may be one tool in a larger tool-box one could consider.It may work for some people with certain types of "to-dos".

I was a bit surprised to infer from your note, that you allow emails to interrupt you. For Heaven's sake, turn off your audible or visible email notification! Remember: Interruptions occur to the extent you allow them to happen. If it's an emergency, let them call 911.



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