Pomodoro Technique: A Way to Overcome Procrastination

2021-02-08 17:07:32
Rene McFey

What is Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a form of time management invented in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique uses a timer to break down work into periods separated by short breaks, traditionally 25 minutes in duration. After the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student, each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for 'tomato'.

Here’s how the basic process of Pomodoro Technique looks like:

  1. Choose a task you want to work on.
  2. Set the timer for the Pomodoro to 25 minutes, the normal length of the Pomodoro.
  3. Work on the assignment until the Pomodoro timer rings, then place a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  4. To do something non-work-related, such as stretching or making a call, take a short break of 5 minutes.
  5. After every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. Before the next batch of pomodoros, this will help you regroup your thoughts and relax.

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is a challenge we have all faced at one point or another. For as long as humans have been around, we have been struggling with delaying, avoiding, and procrastinating on issues that matter to us. One of the first things I discovered was that it is a human condition to procrastinate. According to Piers Steel, author of The Procrastination Equation, about 95 percent of individuals confess to putting off work. And the remaining 5% are lying.

Research in behavioral psychology has revealed a phenomenon called "time inconsistency," which helps explain why, despite our good intentions, procrastination seems to pull us in. Inconsistency in time refers to the human brain's tendency to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

This is one reason why you may be inspired to go to bed to make a change in your life, but you find yourself slipping back into old habits when you wake up. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future (tomorrow), but when it comes to the current moment, it values instant gratification (today).

Image from James Clear, Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating

Tips to overcome procrastination

From what is been said above, below are tips that will help overcome procrastination.

  1. Realize that it creates tension to have stuff hanging over your head.
  2. Adjust the inner dialogue with yourself.
  3.  Use your calendar, or a Pomodoro Technique App to help you.
  4. Start the day with your toughest task.
  5. Split demanding behaviors into chunks. This is like being Agile.
  6. Keep your overall objective oriented.
  7. Build a routine to do something that you do not want to do.
  8. Along the way, reward yourself.

Pomodoro Technique Apps

Instead, a dedicated Pomodoro app eliminates the need to manually split your day, telling you exactly when to work and when to take a short break. Below are our picks for best Pomodoro timer apps, here's a quick look at how the system works.

  • PomoDone (Web, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android)

PomoDone connects with a wide variety of project management tools, allowing you to directly import tasks and time entries from the ones that already have a time tracking module – like ZenTao.

If you are looking for modern and customizable all in one project tools that have already a time tracking module, here’s a list with software project management tools.


  • Free plan with up to 2 integration and up to 5 projects synced
  • Lite plan ($2.29/month), with 3 integrations included
  • Ultimate plan ($4.01/month), with unlimited integrations and unlimited log access

Focus Keeper (iOS)


By far, the Focus Keeper Pomodoro app is the closest one to the authentic Pomodoro experience. It features a red background that lets you change the length of the pomodoro through a simple swipe (breaks have a blue one). And a ticking sound to know it’s focus time.

You can also set a goal in terms of the number of sessions you wish to accomplish each day, which I find very helpful. Too bad you can’t name them to know what you’re working on. The app has a notification centre though to remind about your session if you browse other apps on your phone.

The Pro one brings 10 premium ticking sounds to get more productive or relaxed, depending on the moment of the Pomodoro cycle, and a full view over your stats.


  • Free, limited charts for the past 3 days
  • Pro ($1.99/month), unlimited charts plus 10 ticking sounds

There are plenty of choices, as you can see, to help you be more efficient. Try any of the above-mentioned applications and see what works for you best.

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