Daily Writing Tip 8 of 100, Use the Pomodoro Technique

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Use the Pomodoro Technique

Source – Anti-Procrastination for Writers by Akash Karia

My final and personal favorite technique to stop procrastinating and start achieving maximum productivity as a writer is the Pomodoro Technique.

If you have never heard of the Pomodoro Technique you have to learn about it.

You can read about it here: Pomodoro Technique Homepage

I wrote a blog entry about it here four years ago.

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. That odd name comes from a tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by the original author Francesco Cirillo. The tomato isn’t necessary (I use a silver-colored twist dial timer).

The technique is simple:

  1. You decide on your next task and then set the timer for 25 minutes.
  2. While the timer is running you do nothing else and think of nothing else but the task at hand.
  3. When the timer goes off, you take a five minute break.
  4. Then you repeat the process… either on a new task or you return to the same one if it isn’t finished.
  5. Every four Pomodoros (each 25+5 minute work session is a single Pomodoro) you take a longer break

You keep track of how many Pomodoros you accomplish during a day and work on increasing that number.

It works really well to help you focus, avoid distractions, and get through difficult projects – like getting that story written.

I don’t use the technique as much as I should – it does work.

The biggest problem I have is getting through the twenty five minutes without interruption. Even when I silence my phone and hide my email – I have real live people interrupt me on more than half my Pomodoros. It’s very frustrating. Something I have to work on.

One piece of advice that I do have…. A lot of people use software timers or phone apps to do their timing. That is very tempting and good for a backup. However, I think a real, live, mechanical kitchen timer (though it doesn’t have to look like a tomato) works better. The slight ticking noise it makes becomes associated with working diligently and reminds the mind to focus.


My Pomodoro timer, Moleskine, and Ivory Pilot Prera fountain pen.