The Pomodoro Technique: what is it and how it will make you more efficient

At SoftwareDevTools, we know what it’s like trying to find a work method that is both easy to follow and brings efficient results. While going back and forth with different options, we came across one that was inspired by Agile practices like backlogs and sprints as well as explicitly marking our activities by priority: the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80’s as he was searching for a way to make his studies more successful while he was in University. He used a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato -- which the method is named after for its translation in Italian-- and would break down his work in intervals of 25 minutes (called ‘pomodoros’).

Before starting any activity, you should have a list of the tasks you need to do and estimate the effort each one requires in order to prioritize them. The key for this method to work is that you must concentrate on one task and one task only per Pomodoro. Once you select the activity that is more important to you, set the timer to 25 minutes and you're ready to go. When the Pomodoro has finished, you must take a break of 5 minutes to assimilate and rest by distracting your mind and doing something else: sending emails, checking your phone, using the restroom, etc. Everytime you complete four full pomodoros, you should take a ‘long break’ which can range from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your project and working style.

While the original technique involved pomodoros of 25 minutes and short breaks of 5 minutes, either can be customized to suit your needs: some people go for 30 minutes of work while others do 20. With the Pomodoro technique, you and your team should be able to reduce distraction and improve focus and workflow by giving your full attention to a task during a specific timeframe.

Having checked and tested this method out, we decided to launch our own project based on it called Tomatoro, which makes it easy to set up your intervals’ timing as well as the short rest and long rest.

Trying to improve your #Agile practices? OR are you getting started with Agile? Are you in a remote team? Check out our products for Agile teams at SoftwareDevTools. We focus on making agile ceremonies more effective and easier to adopt for remote teams.

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Jocelyn Ledezma

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