Do you work remotely but find it hard to concentrate? Are you struggling to get everything done in your workday? Have you tried several productivity and time management hacks without success?

We’re going to throw tomatoes at you. No, not because of a bad performance. These “tomatoes” are pomodoros, the secret behind a method for working more efficiently and increasing productivity. It can be especially helpful for those who need a little something extra to stay motivated at their silo work-from-home site.

The Pomodoro Technique – named after the classic tomato-shaped (pomodoro) kitchen timers – was developed by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. He originally designed it to help him get through his college coursework, but it now helps people everywhere – even the most highly disciplined – get things done with fewer distractions and heightened focus. “Pomodoros,” as they are called, are 25-minute time intervals intended for hyper focus on one activity and one activity alone. Each 25-minute segment is separated by short (usually 5-minute) breaks. The idea is to work 25 minutes; break for 5 minutes; work another 25; and so on. After three pomodoros, you take a longer break.

The method was developed based on research that shows mental performance improves with frequent breaks. The theory is that a time-management system is most effective when it’s also a brain-management system. In order to have the brain work at its best, it also needs rest. The 5-minute short breaks are intended to be actual breaks without taxing the brain at all – for example, meditating quietly, going on a walk, or mindlessly reading an entertaining article. Anything more strenuous may not give the same benefits.


To use the Pomodoro Technique, follow these six steps:

  1. Determine the task you will work on.
  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the 25 minutes are up.
  4. After the timer rings, put a tally mark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four marks, take a short break. Then go back to step 1.
  6. Once you reach four marks, take a longer break (15-30 minutes), reset the tally marks to zero, and start over back at step 1.


This technique doesn’t eliminate distractions for you – they might still pop up – but there’s a built-in way to handle them. If thoughts or reminders of something other than what you’re working on invade your concentration, the Pomodoro Technique has you write down the distraction. This gets the thought out of your head, gives you a reminder for later, and allows you to continue with your task undisturbed.

All you need to use the Pomodoro Technique is a timer to keep track of your progress. There are also websites that have taken the concept of pomodoros and put them in digital form. The website TomatoTimer lets you easily time each of your pomodoros, short breaks, and long breaks, letting you know with a familiar “beep” when your time is up.

Taking breaks and working in a concentrated manner can help virtual employees stay productive and motivated throughout the day. When working from home, it’s necessary to balance independent work with scheduled video conferencing meetings. Pomodoros are an effective and easy way to get it done.

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Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

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