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Tech watch: Pomodoro Technique

In a world full of distractions – social media, breaking news, family responsibilities, group texts, cute dog videos, never-ending email – the Pomodoro Technique is one way to focus your attention on the work you’re trying to get done. The basic idea, developed by Francesco Cirillo, is simple: break a task down into 25-minute chunks. Focus on the work uninterrupted for 25 minutes, using a timer to keep track. Then take a five-minute break. Repeat three times, with a longer break after the fourth session. Cirillo named it Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) after the tomato-shaped timer he used in college when he was having trouble staying focused.

A variety of Pomodoro apps are available to support the time management system, including Pomotodo, PomoDone, Forest, Focus Booster, Focus Keeper, Marinara Timer and more. Many of these apps include an electronic timer, which you can set for 25-minute sessions (or customize), plus alerts and alarms for starting and ending each session and break. Some allow you to chart your productivity over time.

A hands-on option: as Cirillo did in college, use a physical timer that sits on your desk — right in front of you, hard to ignore.

Now get working!