Productivity Hack: The Pomodoro Technique

15/12/20193 minute read
Productivity Hack: The Pomodoro Technique

Do you ever feel burnt out after working tirelessly on tasks for hours upon hours? Fear are not alone.

With approaching application deadlines, regular schoolwork, and finals on the horizon, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Breaking down your workload into smaller tasks is a great way to manage the many different balls you juggle in your academic career. One technique we like to suggest at Crimson is the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique relies on using shorter time intervals with small breaks in-between rather than long hours of uninterrupted work.


The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s while studying as an undergraduate, struggling to figure out how to accomplish more in a limited amount of time. Cirillo got his inspiration for the name from his pomodoro (italian word for tomato) kitchen timer.

The Technique

  1. Create your to-do list and number each task in order from most urgent to least urgent.
  2. Start with the first task.
  3. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  4. Work on the task without interruption or distraction until the timer goes off.
  5. Put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  6. If you have less than 4 checkmarks, take a short break for 3-5 minutes. Then return to step 3.
  7. If you have 4 checkmarks (or pomodori in Italian), then take a longer break for 15-30 minutes. Restart your checkmark count and then return to step 3 when you’re ready.
  8. Once a task is complete, cross it off your list and move onto the next task.
  9. Continue in this fashion until your tasks are completed or your session is complete.

Why It Works

This technique works well because the timer creates a sense of urgency. It inspires the individual working to get as much done in a given amount of time. The physical act of setting a timer, rather than just setting a time mark, also makes the work period more concrete. The buzzer or timer going off at the end of each pomodoro announces a reward or break--which is exciting to work towards.

These smaller efficiency-packed sessions help break up the tasks and make the workload feel less daunting. It also helps to avoid long working sessions that tire you out and fail to result in productivity.

Crimson student, Samuel S., has been using the Pomodoro Technique to help him through his applications and beyond.

Samuel S

“The Pomodoro Technique is super helpful for me; I found that I get more work done when I take breaks with Pomodoro than when I just work for hours on end. It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to focus on the next task.”

“I use it for everything to do with work: essays, homework, business… it’s an amazing tool to help get more stuff done in less time, with less stress, and I feel like I have more energy throughout the day. When I focus for hours on end, I find that I feel super exhausted later in the day, either spending time on YouTube or just being unproductive. With the Pomodoro technique, it allows me to get more done, all while staying energized.”

Tools to use

For this technique, you don’t need any fancy tools! All you need besides a timer of sorts is a piece of paper and a pen. There are also apps that can help you with this technique, check out Pomodoro with white noise or Focus Keeper-Time Management.

We hope this technique works well for you. Feel free to share with others as you work through this application season!