The Science Behind the Pomodoro Technique

Posted November 4, 2020 by Sachin Neravath ‐ 3 min read

The Pomodoro technique is a time management strategy designed to boost concentration by dividing tasks into small, manageable 25-minute chunks with breaks in-between.

What is the Pomodoro Technique and where did it come from?

The Pomodoro Technique was created by Italian student Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. He discovered that if he broke up his study time into small intervals, it helped him to focus better.

The Pomodoro Technique is extremely simple to implement. The basic premise is that you work on one task without break or distractions for 25 minutes – this is called a Pomodoro. Each Pomodoro should be followed by a 5-minute break, and once you have completed four Pomodoro’s you should take a longer break (30-60 minutes).

It is recommended that you use some form of timer and there are many digital options for this. You could consider using an app on the screen that you are working on in order to integrate it into your working routine and boost your productivity. The very act of setting your timer for 25 minutes can signal to your brain that it is time to focus and will reduce the temptation to clock-watch while you are working, since the app will let you know when your Pomodoro is complete.

The science behind it

There have been innovative studies into the theory of attention that shows even brief breaks away from a task can dramatically improve your ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.

The human brain isn’t made for multi-tasking. In 2001, there was a study into multi-tasking and switching between different tasks in which young adults were observed switching between different tasks such as solving math problems and classifying geometric objects. The results of this study showed that people took significantly longer to switch between tasks and became less productive/focused as the tasks became more complex.

The benefits

  • Better focus and concentration: Eliminating distractions and focusing solely on one task for a set period of time can boost your focus and concentration.
  • Better time management: Knowing what you need to work on for the next 25 minutes is a lot simpler to manage, and consistently planning and evaluating how you spend your time will lead to better time management.
  • Less stress: Having a plan in place for your to-do list can decrease stress and improve your mental health.
  • Better motivation: Motivation can slip if you have a daunting task ahead of you. By simplifying the process and working in short, 25-minute increments, you can boost your motivation.

Conclusion

The Pomodoro Technique, when used properly, can be a great asset to your working routine and help you to improve your focus, productivity and quality of work. There have been numerous studies into the science behind why and how it works, and there is arguably plenty of proof that it works. Would you consider using an app to track your the Pomodoros?