Working all the time is an awful idea.
You can only cram for so long before you hit a wall, unable to do anything else.
Yes, brief water and lunch breaks can help, but it’s still far too easy to sit and work for hours without moving around—something that’s quickly being recognized as a serious health risk.
With your productivity and health at stake, it’s worth making an effort to split up your work day. Pomodoro
Technique apps can help: They’re timers that remind you to take a break once every 25 minutes.
Here’s a quick dive into the Pomodoro Technique, along with a dozen of the best Pomodoro timer apps to help you get started.
Looking for something that logs how long you spend on different tasks?
Check out our roundup of the 20 best time-tracking apps for freelancers and teams.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
In college, final exam season prompts a two-week-long cram session.
Everyone has their own tales of studying all night, downing dangerous levels of caffeine, and rubbing their eyes at lecture notes.
But after a while, extra studying doesn’t really help; you’re reading the same material, but your brain is so zapped that you won’t retain anything.
That’s what Francesco Cirillo discovered during his first year of university.
After realizing he was getting distracted and not using his study time efficiently, he grabbed a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, set it for 10 minutes, and tried working solidly for those 10 minutes without doing anything else.
And it worked—forcing himself to focus before rewarding himself with a break helped him get more done, even with the break time.
With more testing and tweaking, Cirillo settled on a structured framework for what he called the Pomodoro Technique (named after the Italian word for “tomato,” in reference to his original kitchen timer).
The final technique is just about as simple as his original idea: you use a timer to break your work into focused time blocks (usually 25 minutes) separated by a 5-minute break.
After 4 consecutive working time blocks, take a longer break, around 15 or 20 minutes.