The secret to effective time management is…thinking in tomatoes rather than hours? It may seem silly at first, but millions of people swear by the life-changing power to the Pomodoro Technique.

This popular time management method asks you to alternate pomodoros – focused work sessions – with frequent short breaks to promote sustained concentration and stave off mental fatigue.

The Pomodoro technique is the practice of choosing one task and making the small commitment of using a timer and spending 25 minutes completely focused on that initiative, followed by short breaks.

Here’s how this technique, pioneered by Francesco Cirillo, works:

• Choose a task to be accomplished.
• Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes (preferably, a tomato timer).
• Work on the task until 25 minutes is up.
• Take a short five-minute break (this marks the completion of one “Pomodoro”).
• Repeat steps 1 to 4.
• After every four pomodoros, take a longer break such as 20 minutes or more.

How can the Pomodoro Technique help you get motivated and stay motivated?

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you move through your projects more quickly because you are sticking to the clock!

If you know a timer is winding down it can ignite a fire in you to finish your task. Spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from feeling frustrated.

It’s the constant timing of your actions that make you more accountable to yourself and helps you to minimize the time you spend procrastinating.

The pomodoro technique teaches us to focus. Firstly, by prescribing that you pick one task to focus on per pomodoro session. Secondly by motivating you to manage distractions. Think about all the distractions you have in a day. We will happily abandon what we are working on to answer phone calls, emails or instant messages. By managing distractions to your advantage, you perform better, and the absolute worst that can happen is you might return a call, email or message 25 minutes later.