Book Review: Pomodoro Technique Illustrated

I’ve just finished listening Staffan Noteberg‘s Pomodoro Technique Illustrated book.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodori’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomatoes’) separated by breaks. Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.


Staffan explains the details of the technique in a very simple and straightforward way using perfect examples. The chapters are very well-organized. The flow of the book and the language used makes this book an easy-to-read book. Steffan also explains the scientific reasons that humans should apply 25 minute intervals while working.

The steps that must be followed in Pomodoro technique and the notes that I highlighted can be listed as below:

  • Planning stage: Every morning decide the tasks that have to be completed in that particular day, prioritize and record them in a To-Do Today list. These items don’t need to give every detail of the task. Just write a few words that describe the goal.
  • Set pomodoro timer (a kitchen timer or an iPhone app should work) to 25 minutes
  • Work on the task until timer rings.
  • Recording stage: After the task completing mark the task as completed. Record the metrics such as the interruptions or the effort actually spent. These metrics offer more precise estimations for next day pomodoro. Don’t forget that estimations are you promises.
  • After completing pomodori, re-analyze the remaining activities, check if they are still important. Reassess the priorities of the remaining activities.
  • Between pomodori take a 3 to 5 minutes break. During these breaks do not think about the earlier or the next pomodori. Just try to relax.
  • Every four pomodori makes a set. And after every set take a set break which can be 15-20 minutes.
  • Best practice is making 8 pomodori in a day.
  • Apply daily retrospective at the end of the day.
  • Pomodoro technique only counts effective and focused time.
  • Focus only one activity at a time

I found some other interesting topics while reading the book, such as procrastination.  We all do that sometimes 🙂 We procrastinate not because we are lazy people. We do that because procrastination provides temporary relief from stress. Staffan mentioned three sources of procrastination.

  • Other people force you to do something against your will,
  • Your own pressure to perform a perfect performance,
  • Fear of making mistakes and receiving criticism.

Here some other notes from the book:

  • Context changes reduce productivity.
  • Unpredictability produces anxiety.
  • Anxiety reduces motivation and productivity.
  • Working overtime is like shopping with credit card. You can buy things while you cannot afford to pay for them. Sooner or later you have to pay that bills with real money.

There is also a Turkish review of this book written by Barış Bal.

Simply if you want to manage your time better, I highly recommend this book. You can buy this book from or the publisher of this book The Pragmatic Bookshelf. There is also an audio book format which you can listen whole book in 2.5 hours.

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