Anyone else love starting projects more than you love finishing them? I mean, it’s exciting! You have so many good ideas, and it’s fun to start something from scratch on a whim of insight. Even if you’re a careful planner, there can still be tons of things to figure out in order to get something off the ground. When there are lots of things to work on, sometimes you don’t even know where to start. You skip the seemingly trivial tasks that will only take 5 minutes, and you procrastinate on the bigger tasks that you know will take all your time and attention, so nothing gets done. You can’t win!
… Or can you?
Tomatoes can help. Wait… what? It’s true. Introducing the Pomodoro Technique (pomodoro is Italian for tomato). It was created from the idea that you can focus on anything for 25 minutes. If your mind is constantly going and you can’t sit down to work on all those important tasks, or you get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do, this productivity technique is for you. It helps you think about your work in smaller chunks so you can focus on one thing at a time and see your projects through to completion.
When you pair the Pomodoro technique with your favorite productivity app (we like GQueues, for obvious reasons 😉) you can dive into your workday with a plan in mind and the means to follow through.
Now you know “pomodoro” is Italian for tomato. Does this method involve tomatoes? No. Well, sort of. In short, it’s a time management technique crafted by Francesco Cirillo. He needed a solution to help him make progress on his projects, and his tomato-shaped kitchen timer had the answer. He turned the timer to 25 minutes and committed to working for that solid chunk of time. No distractions, no interruptions, just 25 minutes of complete focus on the task he chose to work on. When the timer was up, 25 minutes had passed in a second, and he was excited when he noticed everything he got done in that short burst of time. Hence, the Pomodoro Technique was born.
For 25 minutes, focus on an area of work.
This 30-minute time block is one Pomodoro. After four complete pomodoros, take a longer break (15 - 20 minutes).
It might seem counterintuitive that working for short bursts and adding in more breaks would help you be more productive. But it actually is really helpful for lots of people! Now maybe it isn’t compatible with your working style. If you tend to naturally focus on the tasks you need to, and easily flow through your workday without much distraction, other productivity techniques might be better for you. The Pomodoro Technique works really well for people who have lots to do and difficulty focusing enough during the day to do it. Remember, you can work on anything for just 25 minutes. That mindset helped Francesco eventually develop and successfully run his own software company!
Whether or not this method is for you, everyone still benefits from breaks. When you divert your attention from work, even for as briefly as five minutes, your productivity goes way, way up. Aside from productivity, taking good breaks does a lot for our happiness during the workday.
Many Pomodoro aficionados group their tasks according to how many pomodoros it takes to complete them. Tasks you can complete in 25 minutes or less can be grouped together. For example if a task takes 5 minutes or less to complete, like signing off on a document or confirming a reservation, call it one pomodoro (since you’ll be able to finish it under 25 minutes), and group it with your other quick tasks. Tasks that are more intensive can take two, three, or four pomodoros. It’s technically possible to fit in 16 pomodoros in an 8 hour workday, but people aren’t actually productive for a full 8 hours! So work with however many pomodoros are realistic for your own daily workflow.
To get your GQueues account set up and ready for some pomodoros, use tags. In GQueues, create tags for each set of Pomodoros using the tomato emoji 🍅. Here’s what your tags list might look like:
👉 Pro tip: For an extra level of organization, try color coding! Change the colors of each tag for another way to visualize your work.
Now, go through your tasks and tag them accordingly. What can get done in one pomodoro? Two? Four? When it’s time to start your work, click on any one of these tags to see all the tasks across your account with that label. Want to spend the morning finishing off all your quick tasks? Click the red tag for all the tasks that take just one pomodoro or less 🍅
Please note: Tags are created separately for each team, so if you’re using Team Queues, make sure you set up your pomodoro tags from team settings too!
If you’re using Teams, click the dropdown menu to select which team you want to see tags for. This is super helpful if you want to see your work for one team at a time, or you want to see your personal tasks separate from your team tasks.
If you want to search all tasks across your whole account with one tag, create a Smart Queue! Smart Queues behaved like saved filtered lists. Your Smart Queue settings might look something like this:
Now, whenever you want to check items off this list, just open up your Smart Queue and see all the tasks that meet the criteria.
Is all this talk about color-coding tags and tomatoes doing nothing but making you hungry? There are other productivity methods that could be better for you and how you like to work. And GQueues can accommodate!
Another popular productivity guru, David Allen, created a method called Getting Things Done. Approach your work in five stages: capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. Using GTD with GQueues is another great way to manage your day-to-day work and long-term projects.
The Eisenhower Method is an effective way to prioritize your tasks so the most urgent and important items get done first. To use the Eisenhower method in GQueues, tags are your best friend. Create a tag for urgent and a tag for important, then tag your tasks accordingly. Then, use Smart Queues (filtered lists) to see all the tasks you need to complete based on where they fall on your priority list. Check out our video for how to prioritize to see this method in action!
If you’re someone who has trouble concentrating on tasks for long periods of time, the Pomodoro Technique is a great way for you to get in the zone and move projects along. When you use a productivity tool like GQueues alongside this helpful time management technique, you’ll work more effectively and get more done. Start your free trial to knock out some pomodoros today.
When I'm not writing blog posts and help articles, I'm chatting with customers. I help you get the answers you're looking for so GQueues runs as smoothly as possible for you and your teams. And who would I be without my oatmilk latte in the morning? ☕️