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How Can a "Tomato" Help You Achieve Greater Productivity and Quality "Deep Work"?

What's the problem? We all have job assignments that require more than a quick text, email, or entering some information on a website. These may include writing a clear job description, reviewing a contract, updating a project, creating a budget, gathering requirements for a software development project, or producing a new workflow. These require undistracted and concentrated "deep work."

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (see additional information below). It aims to improve productivity by breaking work into focused intervals, usually 25 minutes long, called "Pomodoros," followed by short breaks. Here's how you can use the Pomodoro Technique effectively:

1. Set a specific goal: Define a straightforward task or purpose you want to accomplish during the Pomodoro session. It could be writing an article, studying, or working on a specific project.

2. Set a timer: Set a timer for 25 minutes, representing one Pomodoro session. Many apps and online timers are available that you can use or use a regular timer (Amazon for $11.68).

3. Work without distractions: During the 25-minute session, focus solely on the task. Minimize distractions by turning off notifications on your phone, closing unnecessary tabs on your computer, and creating a quiet working environment.

4. Avoid multitasking: Concentrate on one task at a time. Multitasking can lead to decreased productivity and errors. If other jobs or ideas come to mind, jot them down on a notepad and address them later.

5. Take a short break: Once the timer goes off, take a short break of about 5 minutes. Stand up, stretch, or do a quick activity to recharge yourself. Avoid getting caught up in lengthy distractions like checking social media or emails.

6. Repeat the process: Start another Pomodoro session after the break and continue working on your task. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This break allows you to recharge and reflect on your progress.

7. Track your progress: Keep a record of completed Pomodoros. This practice helps you understand your productivity patterns, estimate the time required for specific tasks, and track your accomplishments over time.

8. Adjust the technique as needed: The Pomodoro Technique is flexible, and you can adapt it to your preferences. If 25 minutes feels too short or long, adjust the duration of the Pomodoro sessions and breaks to find what works best for you.

Remember, the Pomodoro Technique is a tool to enhance focus and productivity, but it may not be suitable for all tasks or individuals. Experiment with it and find a rhythm that suits your work style and preferences.

Where Does the Term "Pomodoro Technique" Come From?

"Pomodoro" is an Italian word that translates to "tomato" in English. Francesco Cirillo, the creator of the Pomodoro Technique, named it after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer he used when he developed the technique in the late 1980s. The timer, which he happened to have in his university kitchen, served as a visual and auditory cue to track his work intervals and breaks. As a result, he named the technique after the timer, giving it the name "Pomodoro Technique." The tomato-shaped timer became an iconic symbol associated with the method.

About the Author

John Seville is an entrepreneurial technology and business leader. He has successfully launched four businesses during his career, Computer Consultants of Colorado, Chief Technology Consultants, (the) Center for Transformative Coaching, and his most recent venture, Ascent Leadership Group, which he started in 2018 and serves as the Managing Principal. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, John has served in multiple corporate CIO and COO roles. In 2013, the Denver Business Journal (DBJ) and the Society for Information Management (SIM) nominated John for the Colorado CIO of the Year award as one of three candidates. Outside of his vocational career, he serves on the Colorado Society for Information Management Board and is the Board President of the Colorado State Shooting Association. His recreational activities include horseback riding, participating in the Roundup Riders of the Rockies (3R), hiking, fly fishing, and hunting. Connect with John by emailing him at


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