Review: The Pomodoro Technique

Time Management for All of Us
How many times do you hear someone joke about being AD/HD? In the middle of a conversation we notice them losing focus, failing to follow instructions, or taking forever to organize their day. As adults, we might laugh and say, “Look, something shiny!” When it comes to our kids, however, the jokes may cover the worry that comes along with losing track of time, homework avoidance, losing assignments, being forgetful and making careless mistakes. AD/HD can cause anxiety, depression, and mood swings – and not only for the AD/HD sufferer, but for the whole family!

The Pomodoro Technique ( is something I stumbled upon recently and I’ve been using it for the past two weeks with some success. Although never officially diagnosed, I do sometimes feel like the poster child for ADD, and am always looking for ways to stay focused and on top of things. The Pomodoro Technique (PT) is a simple way of “chunking down” tasks into 25-minute bursts of productivity. By using a simple kitchen timer (or this) to keep on track, users do everything they can to not only stay attentive and focused but also to raise awareness of how often they are pulled away from their task (both internally and externally).

Ultimately, PT is a task list where you keep track of the things you have to do, and how long it takes you to complete the tasks. The technique book is available for free, as are simple Activity Sheets. You choose a task, set the timer for 25 minutes, work on the task until your timer goes off and then take a short (5-minute) break. The ultimate goal is to cut down on interruptions, learn how to estimate how long it will take you to complete a task, make plans and timetables, and ultimately become more productive.

Although not everyone who exhibits the classic signs of AD/HD can be (or will be) diagnosed, I do think that we are all looking for ways to be more productive, pull ourselves or our children out of the procrastination time warp, be more organized, and – ultimately, happier and more successful. Techniques that help AD/HD children and adults all over the world should be thought of as great suggestions for those who are just looking for another leg up in their careers or schooling. The Learning Curve can help – visit us at for more information, or check us out on Facebook (

April 24, 2011

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Debbie Rosemont - Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant says:

    I love this technique – they even have a cute timer shaped like a tomato (or Pomodoro) to use if that inspires you.

    I have taught adults the 50/10 technique in Time Management workshops before – a similar concept where in an hour's time, you work hard (and focused) for 50 minutes and then break for 10. I encourage participants to think about the things (or shiny objects) that typically distract them, and attend to those for the 10 minute break. This could include Facebook, getting up for a cup of tea, taking a quick walk around the block, calling a friend, putting on some music and just "moving", etc..

    The Pomodoro Technique of 25 minute bursts may work better or be a more realistic fit for younger kids, students and adults with ADD or ADHD for whom 50 minutes is too long to focus on one task successfully.

    What happens to some people when they employ this technique is that they find not only are they able to focus for the 25 or 50 minutes they choose, but that they get more done during that time than they usually do because they have taken steps to minimize distraction and eliminate interuptions before they begin. They also "get on a roll" and want to keep working when the timer goes off. Good stuff!

    Thanks for sharing this resource Kirsten! To your productivity …..

    Debbie Rosemont
    CPO and Productivity Consultant

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