How to Avoid Multitasking – The Pomodoro Technique

16 thoughts on “How to Avoid Multitasking – The Pomodoro Technique”

  1. Hi Luis, your post is very timely – I first stumbled across the Pomodoro technique only last week and since then have been using it too!

    I’m not one for sticking at many of these ‘gtd’ techniques and especially those which use apps, and rarely take/make the time to reap the benefits they claim to offer, but this one seems to be working well for me so far.

    I’m currently using it in its simplest form, using the pre-printed sheets downloaded from the website and filling in my tasks by hand. I usually write lists anyway, which end up scribbled on or continually added to, especially in multi-tasking overload mode (!)

    I’ve tried many of the others out there, which are all fine, but do find especially when using an app, I tend to get distracted from my work in hand (based at a screen all day), or find using an app, I don’t remember all the tasks in hand so well; and find the old fashioned pen and paper helps so much more for me. But seeing your recommendation of the app, I may give it a try!

    Why do I do like this technique so far? It’s really simple, quick to understand the logic and it works with my flow of working too!
    {though, must add I have tweaked my activity tasks into 2 different timings – some the standard 25 minutes, and others at 45 minutes which just works better for some of my activities}

    Will be interesting to read others comments on this topic, and also hear how you get on with it in the coming weeks ahead!

  2. I use a similar technique when studying. I find the best way to study is when my brain is totally focused on the subject material.

    So what I do is I plan 10 minute study a night on a topic. After 10 minutes if I am bored at that point I quit that topic. If I am not bored then I continue that for another 10 minutes and repeat. I do that for a total of 30 minutes.

    Of course this is for casual studying of material, rather then for an exam with fixed deadline.

  3. Thank you for recommending my video and blog post. The Pomodoro Technique is the simplest way to beat distractions and procrastination that I have found.

    These days I only use the PT when I need help to concentrate – only a couple times a day. After using technique for a month, it was easier for me to start and sustain focus (with breaks) for the majority of tasks. Your brain can be trained!


  4. Thanks Elsua for hinting me to that technic. I practice it now for a couple of weeks and really love it. On top what you described I am fascinated about two more things: (1) that it has a relaxing effect, because you know all will be done once you start the pomodoro. Even the clicking clock is relaxing after a while or keeps you focused. (2) If you write all your pomodoros down, you have an excellent overview how much time your tasks usually takes and can make changes to your work habit.

  5. This is great stuff, there is a Pomodoro timer within PHPStorm as well for people who want use Pomodoro within Jetbrains products while developing. I have RubyMine, PyCharm and PHPStorm and the plugin is available on all 3 softwares so I’m sure it’s available on all of the others (Intellij IDEA, etc)

  6. That’s wonderful stuff. I love pointing out articles like this whenever my program managers start arguing that senior developers become good at multitasking over time. They don’t like my argument that serial single-tasking is far better due to the intense focus you can bring to each problem in the series. I’ll be adding this to my list of resources for sure.

    Great post!

    1. Hi Bret, thanks a lot for dropping by and for the kind comments! Single-tasking is, indeed, so undermined for heavily focused tasks / activities. I, too, wish people would acknowledge and embrace our inability to multi-task (Have written a few articles on the topic already ever since this one… hehe) and instead focus on completing tasks accordingly in a reduced timeframe. We would all be much much better off!

      I am putting together another article where I am picking up on this very same subject and hoping to be sharing it soon! As well as catching up with the other wonderful commentary over here on this blog post, too! Perhaps I should set up a pomodoro to be able to get through them πŸ˜€

  7. Hi, great post. The Technique is OK, but IMHO this is not enough. I recommend to especially track interruptions and train focus.

    In my daily work I’m using this application:
    – integration with Google tasks (I have several different lists and 4 different gmail accounts)
    – track interruptions – it helps me minize it
    – simple stats
    and every next version bring something new πŸ˜‰

    I don’t recommend paper and pencil. Paper less era is our future πŸ˜‰

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