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The Pomodoro Method & Work-Life Balance | Milton Park

Published on: 09/02/2018

The Productivity Paradox: How the ‘Pomodoro Method’ can transform your approach to work and lower stress


Stress and burnout caused by an intense job and a heavy workload can be counter-productive. The more stressed we are, or the more tasks we have, the more ‘frozen’ we feel. This leads to an increase in procrastination and a nosedive in productivity – which only makes the situation worse!

How can we break this cycle – tackling the tasks we have while still leaving home on time?

In a recent study by the ONS (Office of National Statistics), hourly output dropped by 0.5% in the first three months of the year.

Understanding how to be productive will offer a better way of getting work done.  One of the most common phrases attached to productivity is, “work smart, not long”.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the way to do this is through “tight prioritisation - allowing yourself a certain amount of time per task - and trying not to get caught up in less productive activities, such as unstructured meetings that tend to take up lots of time.”

A proven way to tackle an intimidating to-do list is the Pomodoro method.

Named after the tomato-shaped timers one often finds in a kitchen (‘Pomodoro’ is Italian for ‘tomato’), this method lets you focus on a task at a time with great concentration while still allowing plenty of time for your brain to recharge.


How to follow the Pomodoro Method

The technique goes as follows:

  • Decide on the task you want to tackle (it is usually recommended to tackle the more difficult ones first!)
  • Start your Pomodoro timer (there are plenty available online, or there are several free Pomodoro apps which can help you) for twenty five minutes.
  • Focus on that task alone for the full 25 minutes. No emails, no phone calls, no checking your phone. Pure focus for 25 minutes, a manageable chunk of time which will fly by.
  • When the timer rings, stop what you are doing and mark a piece of paper
  • If you have fewer than four marks on your paper, take a five minute break (we recommend a bit of 'chair yoga') and make sure you relax your brain.
  • After four ‘pomodoros’, take a long break (15-30 minutes) and give your brain a proper relax.
There are several reasons why the Pomodoro Method works:
  • It encourages planning and organisation
  • It helps you track your work
  • It helps your process your work task by task, instead of getting overwhelmed from an avalanche of tasks
  • It encourages a sense of accomplishment
  • Through short intense periods of focus and regular breaks, you will find yourself getting more done


It’s the best way to reach the goal of work smarter, not harder.

Give it a try and tell us how you get along on our Facebook Page.

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