Learning Techniques Productivity

Getting Things Done with Tomatoes – The Pomodoro Technique

Problems with focusing on task? Feeling overwhelmed with a huge or annoying project? This is my go-to-method to tackle these challenges!
Find out how tomatoes can help you effectively!

Measuring and managing your time and productivity with tomatoes? How could these fundamentally different things even be connected? Sounds ridiculous!

However, crazy ideas always have interesting background stories. Let me tell you the tale of the Pomodoro Technique!

In the late 1980s Italian the young student Francesco Cirillo was struggling to focus on his studies and getting his assignments done. Instead of getting demotivated though, he challenged himself to just commit 10 minutes of his time to focused studying. To measure the time, he grabbed himself a kitchen timer in the shape of – you guessed it – a tomato or “pomodoro” in Italian. A new technique was born!

So, should you measure your time in tomatoes now as well? How exactly do you even apply the technique? Stick around to find out!

When is the Pomodoro Technique most effective for you?

If you find the following points to be a reoccurring problem in your daily work-routine, then be sure to try out the technique at least once:

Difficulty of focusing on a task

Working on a project, may it be learning or writing a text, often requires a lot of focus. Many people already flinch (myself included) at the thought of a 2h-study session. Luckily, the tomatoes enable you to split up that workload into several short and highly effective intervals!

Difficulties of starting long tasks

This also is an obstacle that I repeatedly encounter. We usually tend to feel overwhelmed by huge open-ended tasks like writing a research paper or studying for the finals. Consequently, instead of starting at all we delay it further and further, making it seem impossible. The Pomodoro Technique provides you with many small manageable small goals that can be tackled more easily!

Working past the limit of ideal productivity

This means working until your brain slowly but surely is not able to clearly bring thoughts to paper, until you feel mentally exhausted, until your ability of focus is completely depleted. Many of you probably have encountered this feeling after an exam that lasted for hours.

So how can you effectively overcome these obstacles now?

How to incorporate the pomodoros into your worklife

Some last personal advice

First of all, I want to state that work-mentality and how exactly you tackle a project are very subjective concepts. Especially with this sort of rigid technique you might find yourself stuck with something that doesn’t at all suit your style.

Therefore, I recommend mixing it up to your liking. If you’re more open for longer pomodoros then extend their time to 40, 50 or 60min. So, first and foremost, it’s important to pay attention to the underlying concepts like keeping a good mental focusing hygiene!

Personally, if I’m working on something I enjoy, I just go with the flow and my intuition and don’t care about set time limits. The Pomodoro Technique serves as my go-to-method for the really annoying tasks like writing reports or my German homework when I was still in school.

When using it, it feels like a secret weapon against anything that is robbing your motivation!

Whatever you choose to do, just keep it consistent so that procrastination has no chance!

Other than that, it might also happen that you find yourself distracted by a bunch of thoughts of what could or should be done other than working on your project during a pomodoro. This could include doing the dishes, answering mails or checking your stock revenues. If that’s the case, write down your ideas so that you get them out of your mind and can return to them after work.

If these thoughts are small enough, then you can quickly address them during your breaks. Otherwise, you should return to them at a later point of your day.

That’s it already with this productivity method. I hope you can welcome it into your collection as another powerful weapon for getting things done!


  • The Pomodoro Technique is a powerful tool whenever high levels of focus are needed
  • It’s perfect for getting annoying things done
  • Vary the technique to your liking in order to make it match your working style


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2 replies on “Getting Things Done with Tomatoes – The Pomodoro Technique”

Great article – I’ve found the pomodoro technique helps me become a much more efficient writer as well. If I set a timer, I think less about writing ‘perfect’ sentences and can create first drafts much more quickly.


Perfectionism usually tends to reduce my output as well. Whenever I notice that, I remind myself of the Pareto Principle – 80% of the output can be achieved with only 20% of the effort. The drafts that are produced that way are usually quite easy to improve, due to the overview you acquired over the whole process. Keep up your great work!


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