How You Can Become More Focused-Try the Tomato Method

How You Can Become More Focused-Try the Tomato Method

As the legend goes, there was a guy from Italy that started the Pomodoro Method. Francisco Cirillo was a college student who struggled with his course work.  Sitting down to study, read and write for the college classes he was taking seemed like drudgery. He was on the verge of failing and stumbled on a technique that worked for him. If he set his timer for just 25 minutes, he could sit, focus, and work through his course work. He found if he set the timer four times and took breaks in between, he could get a lot done. That’s how the Pomodoro Method got started.

Cirillo had one timer, in the shape of a tomato. Tomato in Italian is Pomodoro. Let’s break down the Tomato Method.



First, decide on a task that you want to work on.

Next set your timer for 25 minutes.

Focus for the next 25 minutes on the task you designated as important.

When the timer goes off, take a 3 to 5 minute break.

Set the timer again for another 25 minutes and continue to work. Do this 4 times.

After four 25 minute ‘pomodoros’ take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

It’s interesting that Cirillo stumbled on this technique because it is in line with how our brains work. It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to ‘ramp’ up in concentration. Then we can work for about 90 minutes in total. After 90 minutes we begin to lose concentration, so it’s best to take a break.

The timer you use can help in confirming the work that you’ve chosen and can be a motivator. When you set the timer and wind it up you are setting your intention for the work you want to do. As you hear the ticking of the timer it reminds you that you are on task and to complete the task. When the timer rings, it’s a signal-Yahoo! It’s time to take a break.

There are a few ways that you can handle the Pomodoro method. Some task masters that will say if you start the timer and are interrupted that you reset the timer again. Some say you can or should document your time and what you did in that time. You can get a sense of accomplishment when you track the actions you’ve tackled with each Pomodoro. Others say it’s helpful to track other ideas and thoughts that come into your head by writing them down and get back to task.

Like many productivity techniques these are guidelines not hard rules. Try the Tomato Method and find out what works best for you. In using this technique, you will gain a sense of control, focus and accomplishment.

Yes, they have an app for that. Check out these apps Pomodoro Time Pro or try Focus Booster My favorite is Repeat Timer simple to use. There is both a free and paid version. You can set many intervals of time so that you can jump into work once the timer goes off.

Do you use the Pomodoro Method? Are you going to give it a try after reading this? Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Margo Brown is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She serves the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. If your struggling with the Pomodoro Method or other time management issues and you want to get more focused and productive in your office call 602-677-8275 or email


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Guest Wednesday, 18 July 2018