This is part of my Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple way to manage your time created by Francesco Cirillo1.

Here’s how it works: Decide on a task and set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus solely on the task at hand. When your time is up, take a 5-minute break. Afterward, decide on a new task (or continue with the previous one) and set the timer.

Each 25-minute interval of work is called a Pomodoro, the Italian word for ‘tomato.’ Each Pomodoro is followed by a 5-minute break. After four Pomodoros, take an extended break, e.g., 15-30 minutes.

Personally, I use this technique when I feel overwhelmed. I may even shrink the work portion down to 10 minutes. I ask, What can I do in the next 10 minutes?

Working for 10 minutes builds positive momentum and leads to another 10 minutes, and another. This is far better than spending a morning (or a day!) on Reddit.

Take action: Experiment with the Pomodoro Technique and see if you get more work done.


Tech Workers' Guide To Distraction Free Work

Common Problems

  1. How Do I Stop Endlessly Researching Topics And Get Stuff Done?


  1. We Want To Be Distracted
  2. Proximity Matters

Practices: Just Say No

  1. Just say No
  2. Stop Looking For Drama
  3. Beware Of Taking On Extra Responsibility
  4. Make an “I won’t do” list

Practices: Say Yes

  1. Track your distractions
  2. Stay focused with a To Do list
  3. Make a “Big Rock” list
  4. Follow the 2-minute rule
  5. Try the Pomodoro Technique
  6. Make a list of questions

Practices: Control Your Physical Environment

  1. Find your Den of Productivity
  2. Eliminate distracting belongings
  3. Limit disruptive noise
  4. Listen to music
  5. Silence your phone

Practices: Control Your Digital Environment

  1. Close your email
  2. Leave social media
  3. Close your browser tabs
  4. Limit distractions from Slack
  5. Try an app blocker

Practices: Get Organized

  1. Make project documents

What do books say about distraction free work?

“You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas — or you can cheat by reading them in books.”
Patrick Collison

  1. “The Obstacle Is the Way” on handling distractions
  2. “The 4-Hour Workweek” on eliminating distractions