A lot is written about The Pomodoro Technique on various productivity blogs, is there any hard evidence that it improves productivity compared to basic scheduling of work?

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    What productivity techniques work for you is personal (because the reason you are unproductive is personal). Hence, if it works for you, it works for you. Otherwise not. Studies could doubtlessly compare different techniques, and hence see which works for most people, etc. But no technique will work for everyone. Apr 4, 2011 at 19:00
  • "work some, then take a break." sounds productivity enhancing to me. Apr 10, 2011 at 22:23
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    How about the Joel's 'it takes 15 minutes to get into the "zone"'?
    – Job
    Apr 24, 2011 at 13:58
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    Like @Job, I am particularly interested in the question of whether the "25:5" ratio is a good one for developers. In practice, I find the experience of 'breaking' every 25 minutes disruptive, but I'd love to read a study May 22, 2011 at 20:38
  • 25:5 on average is good, but don't set the clock to it. Just take regular short breaks when you're done with a block of work, rather than slaving along mindlessly all day until it's time to go home and discover next day that half you did was wrong because you weren't thinking straight the second half of the day...
    – jwenting
    Sep 6, 2011 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


It doesn't seem to have been properly evaluated, and from what I can tell it's primarily argued to be a study help and programmers.

The Pomodoro Technique for Sustainable Pace in Extreme Programming Teams has an analysis of it being used while doing XP (Extreme Programming). However the paywall is making it hard to access their analysis, but the slideshare from the authors make no mention of productivity, so I believe that it's purely been used as a way to structure work.

The inventor Francesco Cirillo has written The Pomodoro Technique (The Pomodoro) a fairly thick manual, but he's not citing any studies for his claims about productivity. It instead appears to be well reasoned manual with some anecdotes, but with little supporting evidence.

I also think that when you ask a question about the pomodoro technique, it's important to also ask; "As opposed to what?". The pomodoro technique forces you to become organized and do timeboxing. It also introduces discipline into the work process by advocating that unit work are atomical, and that you have to finish it before you get to do a break. If you are completely disorganized, then just about anything reasonable should improve your productivity.

As a last resort I tried looking up research that shows organizing your work leads to productivity gains, but I can't find anything directly looking into structured work vs unstructured work in terms of productivity. Maybe for the same reasons we can't directly answer Is the use of parachutes supported by peer-reviewed papers?.

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