Time management

How did the Pomodoro method come about?

The emergence of such a technique as Pomodoro, we owe the Italian Francesco Cirillo. In the 80s of the last century, as a student, he somehow thought about why the exam time comes faster than he prepared for it, although the young man spent, as it seemed to him, all his time and energy on his studies. The diligent and meticulous young man suggested that he was distracted a lot during the execution of tasks, and decided to find a way to concentrate on the goal at least for a while.

To begin with, he determined a segment of 10 minutes. Time was measured using a conventional kitchen timer, which had the shape of a tomato – hence the name of the method that became widespread throughout the world in the future, in simply “tomato”. True, for introducing it into the field of time management on a daily basis, you need to say “thank you” no longer to the Italian guy, but to Staffan Neteberg. Little is known about him. From the publicly available facts – for about two decades he has been engaged in independent software development, is a mentor in flexible methodologies for developing information systems.

So, it was he who, thanks to mathematical program thinking, created a manual on using the Pomodoro method and called it “Tomato Time Management”. In it, he not only explained this principle in an accessible way, but also diversified his story with vivid illustrations. As a result, he spread the “tomato” theme among professionals and amateurs of time management.


The Pomodoro system is as simple as everything ingenious. The main rule is to break your day into small segments, each of them is called a tomato. The optimal time allotted for “eating” one tomato is 25 minutes. So, we set a timer, you probably have one in the kitchen, perhaps not in the form of a tomato, but some other, if it is not there, just set an alarm.

The next 25 minutes you should focus on solving the task.. Nothing should distract you – neither phone calls, nor the sound from the radio, much less the TV. Coffee with a sandwich will also have to be postponed. And only after the signal about the end of the allotted time goes off, you have every right to take a break. Thus, you kind of enter into an employment contract with yourself. For each working “pomodoro” day, you set yourself a certain task and will certainly fulfill it.

It is unlikely that you will allow yourself not to fulfill the obligations under the contract, if we are talking about a large fee, and in this case – a deal with your own conscience works in the vast majority of cases without fail.

Why is it needed?

This method of time management is especially in demand in the modern world, when a person is simply shrouded in temptations to “get distracted for a second.” Messages in social networks, SMS, phone calls, advertising mailing. But “not to think about seconds down” we have long been recommended by the classics of the national stage. In essence, the Pomodoro Technique allows you to follow the rule sung in the song. It can be used not only by businessmen, but also by schoolchildren and students during their studies, it is no coincidence that it was a university student who came up with it. By the way, according to the Italian author Francesco Cirillo, his method helps to achieve the following goals:

  • maintain determination and achieve your goals;
  • improve the quality of the educational or work process;
  • increase the efficiency of labor or the process of obtaining knowledge;
  • give courage in difficult situations.

However, do not forget that you will not be full of tomatoes alone. This method must be used for greater efficiency, along with competent business or educational planning.

But the method, born in the mind of an Italian student, will certainly help you achieve your goals.

The principle of application of technology

Before you start the timer, make a list of tasks that you intend to complete on that particular work day. Make a description of them. In order for the method to work, you need to clearly understand what exactly you want to achieve. If you decide, turn on the timer.

The duration of the “pomodoro”

In general, it is believed that the optimal time for “ripening a tomato” is 25 minutes. That is how much the aforementioned Staffan Neteberg indicated in his textbook. Recently, however, some researchers argue that this time can be increased. Maybe they’re right but for starters, it’s probably still better to use a 25-minute segment that has been proven over the years and by different minds.


They are no less important than those 25 minutes during which you are focused on work. So, did the job – and walk boldly for 5 minutes. That is how many experts in the field of “tomato” time management recommend giving for a break.


It’s almost impossible to get rid of them. After all, there are important calls to which we are obliged to digress, there is a possibility of an unexpected visit to your office or home, and there are urgent natural human needs that are understandable to everyone. The author of the method, Francesco Cirillo, recommended in such cases to pause the timer, and after the completion of urgent matters, start it again.

Some of its modern followers believe that the degree of need for distraction should be assessed on a 10-point scale. And if you yourself rate something urgent as one point, then it means that it is not worth it to “undereat our tomato” in one sitting.

If the urgency on a 10-point scale exceeds 7, then the timer will have to be activated.

Rules and Tips

If the task is not too difficult, or you can not immediately concentrate for 25 minutes, then divide your “tomato” into “slices”. Start with intervals of 10-15 minutes. If, on the contrary, you understand that your task will not “fit in your mouth” in 25 minutes, increase the time you eat it.

If you completed the task before the timer sounded, do not try to turn it off. Consider this your bonus rest time. You can use it to plan your next tasks, chat with colleagues, read something, answer a phone call. And only then arrange a “legitimate” 5-minute break.

There are people who do not use this method because they are afraid not to be in time for the “fateful” call. Try to overcome these childhood fears in yourself.. To get started, set a pleasant signal for the alarm. By the way, now there are a lot of computer programs and applications for phones that are created specifically in order to correctly use the “pomodoro” method. According to most experts, it does not matter what kind of assistant you use – an old kitchen timer or a newfangled development. The main thing, remember, “a half-eaten tomato” is like wasted time. And we never have enough of it. In addition to work, study, there is still so much to do in life.

Therefore, let us once again recall the Russian proverb, which the author of the book about tomato time management, Staffan Neteberg, could well use as an epigraph – “Do the job – walk boldly.” We have plenty of time ahead of us. The main thing is to use it rationally.