Why Does The Pomodoro Technique Work: The Real Reasons Behind it!

Written by Domantas Vanagas

November 11, 2021

Many people have heard about the Pomodoro Technique, but how much do you really know about it? If you use the technique often, you will know the basics off by heart: 25 minutes of work, 5-minute break, rinse, and repeat. You will also know from first-hand experience that using the technique produces great results – but have you ever wondered why?

Here are three research-backed reasons why the Pomodoro Technique is so effective. 

 

Pomodoro Works with Your Brain’s Natural Tendencies 

Have you ever been in a great workflow, but found that after a while your mind started to wander? There’s no need to be hard on yourself for this.

It’s natural to lose your focus after working for some time.

woman lost focus while working

Your brain has a limit on how much-focused work it can do before it needs a break. It naturally works in a cycle of ‘pulse and pause.’ It can do sprints of work but then needs to rest. This cycle is what makes the Pomodoro Technique work so well! 

When you use the Pomodoro Technique, you are taking advantage of the pulse and pause cycle. You work for a 25-minute ‘pulse,’ and rest for a 5-minute ‘break.’

Working this way allows your brain to recoup so you can head into your next work session with a clear, ready mind. But what if you get to the end of your work session and still feel motivated? 

While it is recommended to start with 25 minutes of work and a 5-minute break to get comfortable with the technique you can set smaller time intervals for work part and longer breaks.

After you have some experience, you are able to adjust the times to suit your own natural pulse and pause cycle. You may also find that 25 minutes of work is perfect for you!

For me, the recommended times work great now. But at first it was a bit difficult. Soon you learn how to focus better, and seeing the progress is very motivating! Now I don’t adjust them at all. In the end, it’s all about finding your best workflow. 

 

Visual Reminders Keep You Focused

Research has found that seeing something is the best way to give yourself a reminder.  This is called a reminder-through association. An example of this would be placing a letter you need to mail beside your keys, reminding you to grab the letter on your way out of the house.

Another example is the timer you use in the Pomodoro Technique

The timer for your Pomodoro does more than let you know how much time you have left to work. It actually acts as a cue to get back to your task if you get distracted. How does this work? Think about this scenario: 

You set your timer on your phone and put it to the side of your desk. After working for a few minutes, you hear a notification buzz. When you go to check your phone, you see that your timer is still going for your Pomodoro. Great to keep you focused if you work from home!

Instead of checking the notification, you think, ‘Right! I’m supposed to be working’ or ‘Right! I’m supposed to be studying.’ Either way, you know that you will be able to check the notification on your break, so you return to work. 

In this situation, the visual of the timer is connected to the need to focus on work. This is one of the Pomodoro Technique’s hidden strengths. If you don’t believe it now, keep it in mind the next time you use the Pomodoro Technique. Once you notice it, it’s hard to forget! 

 

It Keeps You from Multitasking

When faced with a long to-do list, doing multiple things can feel like the most efficient way to get it all done. However, research has shown that multitasking is not effective, or even truly possible.

Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. What we call multitasking is more accurately described as task-switching. Research has found that 40% of your productivity is wasted when you switch between tasks. Your time could be much better spent working on one task until it is completed.

This is where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.

Pomodoro is great for focus, but is also an incredible planning tool. When you plan out your Pomodoros, you make it easy to work on one thing at a time.

This is because you know exactly what you are going to work on and how long you are going to work on it. There is no need to worry about your other tasks, because you know that you have a system that works.

It’s clear that the Pomodoro Technique saves you a lot of stress as well as time! That’s the mark of a great time management technique, don’t you think?

 

Conclusion

The Pomodoro Technique is there to work with you. You can take advantage of its customizability, or stick with its ready-to-use structure. While you are working, it keeps you focused by curbing distractions and eliminating multitasking. These components work together to make the Pomodoro Technique the successful, efficient tool you can’t live without!

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