Why I Hate the Pomodoro Technique

I can’t get anything done in 25 minutes

Jason McBride
5 min readAug 6, 2019


Image by Marcelo Leal from Unsplash

Even though it was invented in the 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique is a favorite of the productivity zealots and lifehack aficionados.

I hate it.

Instead of allowing me to get more done, the Pomodoro Technique becomes just more distraction that keeps from doing my best work.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that uses several bursts of productive work, interspersed with short breaks.

The classic technique has five steps:

1. Set a timer for 25 minutes and begin working on a task

2. Only stop working when the timer goes off

3. Take a five-minute break

4. Start another 25-minute session

5. Repeat these steps four times and then take a longer break of 15–30 minutes

The technique is supposed to help people who have a hard time focusing on a single task. The concept is that anyone can get through 25-minutes of working on a single task if they know they get to take a break at the end of a session.

Image by Geo Darwin from Unsplash

Why is it called the Pomodoro Technique? It gets its name from the Italian word for tomato (pomodoro) because the creator of the method used a timer in the shape of a tomato to measure his work sessions and breaks.

Why is it so Popular?

Italian business consultant Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro Technique in the 1980s But, it has been given a second life online.

The influential website LifeHacker has run many articles about the technique and its variants. Uber-influencer Tim Ferris is also a fan.

A quick search will lead to articles and podcasts by almost every major productivity guru explaining and praising the Pomodoro Technique.

Thousands of people swear by it. You may be one of them. If it works for you, you should keep using it.



Jason McBride

Freelance Writer & Illustrator | Poet & Visual Essayist | Amateur Human | he/him https://weirdopoetry.substack.com/