Is Pomodoro right for you? It doesn't work for me.

blog Aug 10, 2021

If I had a nickel for every time someone asks me for tips on how to stay focused, I could have bought my own island by now! 

Most people are easily distracted and can’t stay focused when sitting down to work on a task.

When it comes to staying focused, there isn’t a silver bullet that works for everyone.  That is why I am always researching, testing and reporting back on different techniques.

Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s been around for about 30 years and some people swear by it. Today, I will share with you exactly what it is, insight on my experiences with it, and more importantly, who may benefit from it and who may not.

Pomodoro Technique is advertised as a productivity tool, but it’s really a time management technique.

Pomodoro was developed in the late 1980s by a gentleman named Francisco Cirillo. To use this technique, you will need a timer. When you are ready to sit down to work on a task, set the timer for twenty five minutes and work consistently until the timer goes off.  Then, when the timer goes off, you take a five minute break. Reset timer and repeat. Once you have repeated this four times, you will take a longer break (30 - 60 minutes.) 

Around six or seven years ago, I tried the Pomodoro Technique. However, I didn't have much success with it. So, a few weeks back, I decided to try it again. Again….no luck. 

Why doesn’t it work for me?

First, I rarely have 2 hours of available time to work the technique the right way.  Second, when I am “in the zone” in creative work, if I take a break after 25 minutes I will lose my train of thought and have a hard time picking back up where I left off.

Note: I 100% believe in the importance of taking frequent breaks and not sitting in your chair for hours on end. I wear an Apple Watch that notifies me every hour if I have not gotten up and I always make sure to take a quick stretch or lap around the house. 

The Pomodoro Technique creates more stress for me.  While I love structured time, this particular structure is not a good fit for me.  And, if you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that I do not believe that there is such thing as one size fits all. 

With that said, I have recommended this to clients and will continue to do so when I think it could be a good fit for them.  

Who do I recommend it to?

If you are someone that wears a lot of hats every day such as an entrepreneur that also has young kids at home, this may work great for you.

If you are someone that really struggles with distraction and you have a hard time staying focused and your mind wanders easily, this could be a great solution for you. 

There is something about short timers that can really help some people stay focused. 

Another subtle benefit of using the Pomodoro technique has to do with priorities. When  you know you're sitting down to work for twenty five minutes, it forces you to get very clear on what exactly you are going to work on.  It allows you to ask the question, “what is most important to me right now?”

I often see that clients working the Pomodoro technique get  the most important things done first. 

If you currently use the Pomodoro technique and love it, I would love for you to share how it is working for you!  If you're someone that hasn't used it but are going to give it a try, let me know how it goes!  Feel free to share this out and tag me @megansumrell with your results! 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Megan Sumrell for all things time management, organization, and productivity. You can also grab my free time management cheat sheet at www.megansumrell.com!

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