This Simple Technique Can Supercharge Your Productivity

This Simple Technique Can Supercharge Your Productivity


When he was still a college student in the late 1980s, Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo developed a simple study habit that maximized his productivity and reduced a feeling of burnout.

This practice went on to become one of the most written-about and practiced productivity hacks of the past few decades. His “Pomodoro Technique” gets its name from the Italian word for “tomato,” because Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer as he worked.

His time management hack has been popular since the ’90s due to how easy and effective it is. It’s recently inspired several mobile apps and was voted as the most popular productivity method by Lifehackerusers a couple years ago.

Here’s how the Pomodoro Technique works:

A pomodoro is an interval of time, traditionally 25 minutes. Set a timer for this interval.

After you start the timer, intensely work on a task without distractions. This is key. Do not check your phone, answer an email, open a new tab in your web browser, or do anything at all unrelated to the task in front of you. If something very important interrupts your flow, abandon the pomodoro and start again later.

Once the interval is complete, take a three- to five-minute breakCirillo’s team recommends getting up to stretch, grab a drink, or do a quick organizational chore like tidying up your work bag. Anything that gives you some distance from you and your desk and gets your blood flowing. “One thing to keep in mind is that five minutes goes by faster than you’d think, so don’t commit to anything too taxing or absorbing, or it will be difficult to get back into the zone once the break is over,” they say.

Every four pomodoros (or “pomodori,” if you’d like to keep it Italian), take a longer, 15- to 30-minute break. Use this to get out of “the zone” for a bit and give your brain some time to relax.

Those are the basic principles, but there’s plenty of room for customization. Cirillo’s book, “The Pomodoro Technique,” which popularized the idea, recommends planning out your entire day based on how many pomodoros you think each task on your to-do list requires, but you can also decide to do just a couple every day.

Paul Klipp, president of Lunar Logic’s Polish branch, explains on Quora that the latter method works best for his schedule. “You might think that a person could do 16 of these cycles in a day,” Klipp says. “I’m lucky to get more than two in a day without interruptions. But in those 50 minutes I get more done than I do in the other seven hours of my work day, at least in terms of advancing the most important aspects of my most important projects,” he says.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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