By  , Digital Sales & Marketing Coach

Can the Pomodoro Technique really help me focus and get more done for our small business?

Can the Pomodoro Technique really help me focus and get more done for our small business?

Ever feel like you’re drowning in To-Dos?

As a small business owner myself, I get it.

You’re pulled in a million directions at once, from marketing campaigns and client calls to website updates and social media strategy.

It’s easy to feel like your to-do list is a constantly overflowing inbox, and that laser-sharp focus you once had is a distant memory.

I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone.

In fact, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs like you navigate the marketing jungle since 2001, and founded my own marketing/sales consultancy in 2007 to offer even more focused support.

Over the years, as a sales and marketing coach, I’ve seen countless owners struggle with the same challenge: how to stay focused and get more done in the face of constant distractions and an ever-growing workload.

That’s why I’m excited to talk about a powerful yet simple tool I’ve seen many of my coaching clients find success with: the Pomodoro Technique.

It might sound strange – working in 25-minute chunks with short breaks? – but trust me, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and let’s explore whether the Pomodoro Technique can be the key to unlocking your productivity and taking back control of your workday.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique sounds a bit like a fancy term for setting a timer, right?

Well, not quite.

It’s actually a structured approach to work that involves breaking down your tasks into focused 25-minute intervals known as “pomodoros”.

(Yes, that’s the Italian word for tomato – the inventor apparently used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer!)

Each pomodoro is followed by a short break, allowing you to refresh your mind and avoid burnout.

This cycle of focused work and intentional breaks helps you maintain concentration, boost productivity, and even combat procrastination.

Now, before you roll your eyes and think, “There’s no way this will work for me,” hear me out.

As a fellow entrepreneur who’s seen the positive impact of this technique on countless clients, and myself, I’m here to tell you it’s worth exploring.

How do I use the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique involves working in focused intervals separated by short breaks to enhance focus and productivity.

Here’s a breakdown of its core steps:

  1. Choose a task: Select a single, clearly defined task you want to work on.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes: This is your “pomodoro”.
  3. Work on the task: Focus solely on the chosen task for the entire 25 minutes. Avoid distractions like checking emails, browsing the internet, or engaging in social media.
  4. When the timer rings, take a short break (5 minutes): Step away from your work, get up and move around, grab a drink, or do something unrelated to work to refresh your mind.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4: After your break, set the timer for another pomodoro and return to your task.
  6. After four pomodoros (100 minutes), take a longer break (15-30 minutes): This extended break allows for deeper recharging and prevents burnout.

Additional Tips:

  • Track your progress: Use a simple log, app, a productivity planner (this one from Intelligent Change is my favourite) or even a physical tick sheet to track your completed pomodoros. This can help you visualise your progress and stay motivated.
  • Be flexible: Adjust the work and break intervals (within reason) to find what works best for you.
  • Minimise distractions: Silence notifications, close unnecessary browser tabs, and find a quiet workspace whenever possible. I like the Freedom app for desktop and mobile to remove distractions. Also, chucking my smartphone into a different room also helps 😉
  • Don’t be discouraged: Mastering the Pomodoro Technique takes practice. Be patient with yourself and keep experimenting to find your optimal rhythm.

Remember, the goal is not to become a stickler for the exact timings but to harness the power of focused work intervals and intentional breaks to maximise your productivity and well-being as a small business owner.

Okay, let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of the Pomodoro Technique, specifically for busy small business owners like you.

We’ll also address some common concerns you might have and explore how you can adapt this method to your own workflow.

Pros & Cons – Pomodoro Technique

Alright, let’s talk benefits!

Imagine, you sit down to tackle a big project, but your mind starts wandering after just ten minutes.

Sound familiar?

The Pomodoro Technique aims to combat this scatter-brained feeling by keeping your focus laser-sharp for short bursts.

Think of it like a workout for your brain – 25 minutes of focused work followed by a short break to recharge.

These frequent breaks prevent burnout and help you maintain concentration, allowing you to truly dive deep into a task without getting overwhelmed.

But it doesn’t stop there.

By setting clear intervals, the Pomodoro Technique also helps you crush procrastination.

No more staring at your to-do list, paralysed by the sheer volume of tasks.

With each pomodoro, you have a defined chunk of time to dedicate to a specific task, creating a sense of momentum and pushing you to get things done.

And guess what? Those short breaks?

They’re not just about avoiding burnout, they actually boost your productivity.

Stepping away for a few minutes allows your mind to refresh and recharge, making you more efficient when you return to your work. It’s like hitting the “restart” button on your brain, leading to higher-quality work in less time.

One of the biggest benefits I’ve seen my clients experience?

Enhanced awareness of time.

By working in these structured intervals, you become hyper-aware of how valuable your time truly is.

This awareness naturally translates into better work planning, as you learn to estimate tasks accurately and schedule your day efficiently.

So, there you have it – just a few of the powerful advantages the Pomodoro Technique can offer.

But don’t forget, every strategy has its two sides.

Now, let’s talk about the flip side of the coin.

The Pomodoro Technique isn’t a magic bullet, and it’s important to be aware of its potential drawbacks.

One challenge?

Limited flexibility.

This method thrives on structure, which can be fantastic for tackling smaller tasks or chopping down larger projects into bite-sized pieces.

However, for complex tasks requiring prolonged focus, the 25-minute intervals might feel restrictive.

Imagine you’re in the flow of writing a crucial proposal, and the timer goes off – that can be jarring and disrupt your train of thought.

Another potential hurdle?


Let’s face it, the world doesn’t always cooperate with our schedules.

As a small business owner, you likely face frequent interruptions – unexpected calls, urgent emails, or even a chatty co-worker.

While the Pomodoro Technique encourages focused work, these interruptions can disrupt your rhythm and throw off your entire schedule.

Finally, let’s be honest – the Pomodoro Technique requires discipline.

Sticking to the timer, resisting distractions, and not letting those short breaks turn into hour-long coffee breaks takes commitment and willpower.

But hey, that’s part of being an entrepreneur, right? The good news is, with practice, this discipline becomes easier.

But like the gym, it can easily pitter out if you don’t have the drive.

Remember, the key is adapting the technique to your workflow.

Challenges & Benefits: Tailored for the Busy Entrepreneur

Alright, let’s get real.

As a small business owner, you know interruptions and meetings are part of the daily grind.

Scheduling those neat 25-minute Pomodoros can feel like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, right?

That’s a valid concern, and it’s true that the Pomodoro Technique might require some flexibility on your part.

Here’s the thing: while sticking to the exact 25-minute intervals is ideal, don’t be afraid to adapt the technique to your unique workflow.

The benefit, is improved time management.

By embracing the Pomodoro mindset, even if you have to adjust the timing slightly, you’ll still gain a stronger awareness of your time.

This awareness allows you to schedule your day more efficiently, carving out dedicated work blocks amidst the chaos.

You’ll start to see those Pomodoros as islands of focused work in your otherwise hectic schedule, allowing you to truly dive deep into tasks and maximise your productivity.

Now, let’s be honest, adapting to a new work style can be challenging at first.

It takes practice and discipline to master the Pomodoro Technique.

But here’s the secret weapon you have as a small business owner – grit and determination. You’ve built your business from the ground up, so don’t underestimate your ability to conquer this new approach.

And the reward?

Increased productivity that translates to more time. More time for strategic thinking, more time for business growth, and ultimately, more time for the things that matter most to you.

So, is the Pomodoro Technique a magic bullet?

Not quite.

But as I’ve seen with countless clients, it can be a powerful tool in your entrepreneurial arsenal. In the next section, we’ll tackle some common concerns you might have about implementing this method and explore some tips for success.

Common Questions from Business Owners: Your Guide to Pomodoro Success

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This all sounds great, but what about the nitty-gritty?” Let’s address some common concerns you might have as a small business owner considering the Pomodoro Technique:

1. Can I adjust the Pomodoro length?

Absolutely! While the standard is 25 minutes, experiment and see what works best for you. Maybe you find 30 minutes allows you to stay focused on a specific task, or perhaps 20 minutes is your sweet spot. Start with the standard and adjust according to your needs and preferences.

2. What happens if I get interrupted?

Life happens, and interruptions are inevitable. If the doorbell rings or your phone buzzes during a Pomodoro, don’t panic. Simply take a note of the interruption, finish your current thought, and then take your scheduled break. When you return, resume working on the task and address the interruption as needed.

3. What tools can help me?

Here’s the beauty of the Pomodoro Technique – it’s incredibly low-tech. You can use a simple kitchen timer (remember the tomato origin?), but there are also plenty of free and paid apps available specifically for Pomodoro sessions. These apps often offer additional features like task management, progress tracking, and even white noise options to further enhance your focus. You can find more apps and planners later in this article.

4. Should I recommend this to my team?

The Pomodoro Technique can be a fantastic tool for teams as well! However, remember, everyone works differently. Encourage your team members to experiment and see if it works for them. Be mindful of individual preferences and allow for flexibility in adapting the technique to different workflow styles.

5. What if I still find myself struggling to focus?

Remember, mastering the Pomodoro Technique takes practice and discipline. If you find yourself getting easily distracted, don’t get discouraged. Start with shorter Pomodoros and gradually increase the duration as your focus improves. Additionally, minimise distractions by silencing your phone notifications, closing unnecessary browser tabs, and finding a quiet workspace whenever possible.

The Pomodoro Technique, like going to the gym, requires dedication and consistency. You wouldn’t expect to see immediate results after just one workout, and the same applies here. It takes willpower and a genuine desire to improve your focus and productivity to see the long-term benefits.

Remember, the desire to change and the commitment to put in the effort needs to come from within. The Pomodoro Technique is simply a tool to help you achieve your goals, but it’s up to you to wield it effectively. So, approach this technique with the same determination you would a new workout routine, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking a more focused and productive work life.

6. Can I use the Pomodoro Technique for personal tasks as well?

Absolutely! The Pomodoro Technique can be used to improve focus and productivity for any task, not just work-related ones. Try using it for household chores, personal projects, or even studying.

7. What if I find the breaks too short?

You can try experimenting with longer breaks, especially after completing several Pomodoros. Aim for 5-10 minutes and see if it helps you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the next task.

8. How can I track my progress and stay motivated?

There are several ways to track your progress with the Pomodoro Technique:
Keep a simple log: Note down the date, tasks completed, and any observations you have.
Use a Pomodoro app: Many apps allow you to track your completed Pomodoros, visualise your progress over time, and even set goals.
Reward yourself: After completing a set number of Pomodoros, reward yourself with a short break, a cup of coffee, or any small activity you enjoy.

9. How do I make the most of my Longer Break with the Pomodoro Technique?

The longer break in the Pomodoro Technique, typically occurs after four “pomodoros” (25-minute work sessions).
It’s a crucial element for maintaining focus and preventing burnout.

But how should you use this valuable time?

Here are some suggestions to maximise its effectiveness:

1. Recharge and refresh: This is your opportunity to truly step away from work and give your mind and body a rest. Avoid checking emails, responding to messages, or thinking about work-related tasks.

2. Engage in physical activity: A short walk, some stretching exercises, or even a quick yoga routine can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Taking your body in motion helps you return to your work feeling energised and refreshed.

3. Engage your social side: Have a quick chat with a colleague, catch up with a friend on the phone, or simply hold a conversation with someone outside of the professional realm. Social interaction can help you feel connected and reduce stress, leading to a more positive and focused approach to your work when you return.

4. Nourish your body: Take the time to enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal or snack. Avoid junk food or overly heavy meals, as they can leave you feeling sluggish. Opt for nutritious options that will provide your body with the energy it needs to power through the next round of work sessions.

5. Pursue personal interests: Dedicate some time to activities you enjoy outside of work. Whether it’s reading a few pages of a book, listening to your favorite music, or indulging in a creative hobby, engaging in personal interests can help you de-stress, improve your mood, and foster a sense of well-being that translates into increased productivity.

6. Practice mindfulness: Use the longer break to engage in mindful practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply focusing on your breath. This can help clear your mind, reduce anxiety, and improve your ability to focus when you return to your work.

7. Plan ahead: Use this time to review your progress, prepare for the next set of “pomodoros,” and prioritise tasks for the remaining workday. This can help you feel more organised and in control, leading to a more efficient and productive work session.

Why is pomodoro 25 minutes?

The 25-minute duration in the Pomodoro Technique is a sweet spot that balances focus and refreshment. It’s long enough to:

> Dive deep into a task: 25 minutes allows you to get past the initial “getting started” phase and enter a state of focused work.

> Maintain concentration: This timeframe helps prevent mental fatigue and burnout, which can hinder productivity.

However, it’s short enough to:

> Prevent feeling overwhelmed: Knowing you have a short, defined work period can be less daunting than staring down an open-ended task.

> Encourage regular breaks: The short breaks refresh your mind and body, allowing you to return to your work with renewed focus.

Remember, the 25 minutes are a starting point. Experiment and adjust the duration to find what works best for your concentration and task complexity. Like finding the perfect workout routine, personalisation is key!

Does the Pomodoro Technique actually work?

Well, the research is pretty positive on the Pomodoro Technique, but it’s not magic.

For many people, it does work. The structured approach with focused work periods and short breaks helps folks stay on task, avoid distractions, and boost overall productivity. It can be especially helpful if you struggle with procrastination or getting started on tasks.

The key is in the structure. Having those defined work intervals and breaks forces you to stay focused during the work periods and actually take breaks to refresh your mind. This helps you sustain your concentration for longer stretches throughout the day.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The 25-minute work interval might be perfect for some, but others might find it too short or too long. The beauty is, you can adjust the length to fit your needs. Experiment and see what works best for you.

It’s not a guarantee of success. Like any productivity technique, it requires some effort and discipline on your part. You still need to be committed to the task at hand and actively resist distractions during the work periods.

So, overall, the Pomodoro Technique offers a solid framework for boosting your productivity. If you’re looking for a way to improve your focus and get more done, it’s definitely worth giving it a try and see if it works for you.

What are the best Web-based pomodoro timer apps?

What are the best pomodoro timer Android apps?

Based on reviews, the best Android pomodoro apps in the Google Play Store, with reviews over 4.5 stars and over 500k downloads each are:

Pomodoro Timer
Forest (Focus for Productivity)
Focus To-Do (Pomodoro & Tasks)
Minimalist Pomodoro Timer
Engross: Focus Timer & To-Do
Boosted Time Tracker
Productivity Challenge Timer

What are the best pomodoro timer Apple apps?

Conclusion: A Powerful Tool for Busy Business Owners

So, there you have it.

The Pomodoro Technique – a deceptively simple tool with the potential to unlock increased focus, improved productivity, and a more fulfilling work experience for busy small business owners like you.

It works for some of my marketing/sales coaching clients, and for others it doesn’t.

The most important thing is that you find a way that works for you, maybe the Pomodoro Technique is that something, or maybe it isn’t.

If you’re interested in taking the next step, below I’ve pulled together a good selection of pomodoro related resources for you.

Remember, the Pomodoro Technique involves breaking down your tasks into focused 25-minute work intervals separated by short breaks.

While it offers benefits like enhanced concentration, reduced procrastination, and better time management, it also comes with challenges like limited flexibility and the requirement for discipline.

The key takeaway?


See if the Pomodoro Technique fits your unique workflow.

You might be surprised at how those short bursts of focused work, combined with intentional breaks, can transform your approach to work.

And remember, you’re not alone on this journey.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, but there’s always more to learn.

Explore the resources provided below – books, videos, apps – to deepen your understanding and find your own personalisation of the Pomodoro Technique.

So, grab your timer, set your first Pomodoro, and see what you can achieve.

You might just be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you master the art of focused work and intentional breaks.

PS. Feeling overwhelmed?

Okay, listen, conquering overwhelm and productivity is important, but there’s something else that can be incredibly valuable: community.

That’s why I want to mention the UK-wide Entrepreneurs Circle – focused on helping you grow your business by helping you improve your marketing and sales.

Think of it like this: you’re sitting in a room, face-to-face, with other entrepreneurs from your local area, I lead the meetings in Leamington and Warwick, but they’re across the UK. You’re all sharing your stories, the ups and downs, the wins and the “wish-I-knew-thats” of running a business, specifically around marketing and sales.

Here’s the kicker: the Entrepreneurs Circle doesn’t throw you into the deep end. They have expert-led workshops and actionable strategies specifically designed for busy entrepreneurs like us. No overwhelm, just practical tips you can use right away.

And they’re a really friendly, professional bunch.

So, picture this: you’re not just learning from experts, you’re also learning from your peers. You’re hearing their real-life experiences, what worked for them, what didn’t, and picking up valuable marketing and sales knowledge along the way. It’s like having a built-in support system and a constant source of inspiration.

If you’re looking to conquer overwhelm, unlock your marketing and sales potential, and connect with a supportive community, then the Entrepreneurs Circle is worth checking out.

It could be the missing piece that helps you take your business to the next level. And hey, if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask! After all, we’re in this together, right? I’ve been a member for 11 years, and I’d recommend checking out the free 1-month trial.

Additional Resources for Mastering the Pomodoro Technique:


  • The Pomodoro Technique” by Francesco Cirillo (the creator of the technique)
  • Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy (discusses prioritising tasks, which can complement the Pomodoro Technique)
  • Deep Work” by Cal Newport (explores strategies for focused work, which aligns with the Pomodoro Technique’s goals)


  • YouTube offers a wealth of videos explaining the Pomodoro Technique and offering tips for implementation. Some popular channels to explore include:

Productivity Planners:

  • Many productivity planners incorporate Pomodoro Technique principles, allowing you to schedule and track your work sessions. Popular options include:
    • Productivity Planner from Intelligent Change (my favourite) – Buy from Amazon or their own website

Best Pomodoro Timer Apps

Numerous Pomodoro timer apps are available for free or at affordable prices, offering features like:

  • Customisable timer intervals
  • Task management
  • Progress tracking
  • White noise options

Check out our list of web based, Android Pomodoro Timer Apps and Apple Pomodoro Timer Apps above.

By exploring these resources, you can gain a deeper understanding of the Pomodoro Technique, discover different tools and strategies for implementation, and ultimately, unlock the potential for increased focus, productivity, and a more fulfilling work experience.

Now, it’s over to you.

This could be life changing, but the Pomodoro Technique still needs will power and commitment, just like the gym.

What’s your goal today?

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