Music And The Pomodoro Technique Is It Still Effective

Music And The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Still Effective?

If you are looking for ways to boost your productivity, and banish procrastination for good, then you may have heard of the wonders of the Pomodoro Technique.

This time management method is used by many to avoid distractions, so that they can get more done. You may consider music a distraction, and wonder if this impacts the effectiveness of the technique. 

Can You Listen to Music During a Pomodoro?

Listening to music during a Pomodoro can make the Pomodoro Technique more effective, if you use the right type of music. Choose tracks with a slower tempo, without lyrics, and without distracting, high-pitched instruments.

What Is The Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a method for managing your time and workload. This is particularly useful for those who procrastinate often, or for students trying to focus on studying.

The term was penned by Francesco Cirillo, who used a kitchen tomato timer (hence pomodoro – the Italian word for tomato) to organize studying times, along with break intervals.

This technique entails choosing a task that you need to complete, then setting a 25 minute timer, focusing and working on it until the timer goes off.

Then, you can take a short 5 minute break. Repeat this process up to four times, and then you can take a longer break of around 15 to 30 minutes for the best results. After that, you just begin the cycle again. 

The Pomodoro Technique works because the frequent short breaks ensure that you do not become overwhelmed, distracted, and you can prevent mental fatigue. 

Music And The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Still Effective?

Listening to music during pomodoro really works. Studies have shown that when soft, smooth, calming music is used, particularly those that are instrumental, without lyrics, you can concentrate more effectively on the task at hand.

Therefore the Pomodoro Technique is still effective with the use of music. 

A study also showed that over 79% of respondents felt more productive when listening to music while they worked, and over 48% believed that listening to music helped them to focus.

In a similar way, music can also help you drown out distractions such as thoughts, daydreams, and prevent the mind wandering. 

You can even use pomodoro music playlists that will play soothing music to help you focus for 25 minutes, followed by 5 minute breaks to aid concentration.

For instance, you could try this Pomodoro Timer from Focus Time on YouTube which has its own timer on the screen, playing LoFi music during the ‘focus time’ and resets the timer at ‘break time’.

This can help you keep on track for your focus intervals. 

According to many studies, the right music can actively encourage creativity, motivation, and help you become more productive. It can also reduce feelings of stress, which can ultimately help you concentrate more.

For example, research has found that natural sounds such as waves or rainfall can help soothe individuals, and enhance cognitive function and subsequently concentration levels.

For others, music that they enjoy listening to such as their favorite songs is most effective in completing tasks and generating ideas, a study has shown. 

In addition, researchers have also found that listening to your favorite music during the Pomodoro breaks can motivate you.

By rewarding yourself during the ‘break’ interval of Pomodoro with a song that has lyrics, such as your favorite song, can boost the mood, and encourage you to work harder during the next ‘focus’ time. 

This is perceived by the brain as a reward, which can boost productivity.

This can therefore help you focus and concentrate on the task at hand in your ‘focus’ time, because you are motivated to receive the ‘reward’ once more, during the break period. 

One of the many reasons music can aid the Pomodoro Technique is that it reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.

Recent studies show that music can regulate the mood and combat stress.

This study showed a significant difference in the stress levels of patients who listened to music before surgery compared to those who used anti-anxiety medications. 

When you are stressed, you can become overwhelmed more easily, which makes it more likely that you will procrastinate to avoid your tasks.

With calming music, and the Pomodoro Method, you can stay on track and concentrate on your tasks. 

Does Music Decrease Productivity?

Does Music Decrease Productivity?

Scientific studies are inconclusive about the effects of music on productivity, as everyone is different, and some may thrive with background noise or music, whereas others may find it distracting.

That being said, some studies have shown that music can increase dopamine levels, which can subsequently make work feel more pleasurable.

In particular, music that is familiar can help boost productivity because you do not need to focus on it in order to enjoy it. 

On the other hand of this notion, fast music, songs you don’t enjoy, loud, or aggressive music such as rock, can actually decrease productivity levels and distract you. 

What Music Is Most Productive For Pomodoro?

Music is effective if using the Pomodoro Method, as various studies insist that relaxing, repetitive, background music can enhance performance and improve the ability to perform cognitive tasks.

Such studies show that the low information music does not interfere with the brain’s ability to process information, while aiding relaxation and reducing stress.

For example, many studies show that popular music, or those that are upbeat, chart hits can make it more difficult to focus as your brain has to multitask, which impacts information processing, and will slow down reading comprehension. 

This contrasts music such as classical, non-lyrical music which has a more positive effect on learning and makes it easier to retain focus without being distracted, another study showed.

This study tested the effect of such music during lectures to help students concentrate and retain more information. 

The key is to choose music that is not distracting, which is why we advise that you avoid lyrics and pop music. Songs with string instruments can be most calming and effective, and those that are not too fast or invigorating. 

Therefore, it is far more beneficial to listen to classical, instrumental, relaxing and calming music while using the Pomodoro Method if you want to avoid distraction, and be able to concentrate more effectively. 


In summary, the scientific research on music and productivity is not definite in nature.

Music is subjective, and what works for some people may not necessarily work for others.

That being said, according to our research on music, productivity and its uses for the Pomodoro Method, music that is non-lyrical, quiet and calming can be beneficial for performance and focus.

Background music can improve concentration and attention when performing simple tasks, while instrumental and calming music can boost cognitive performance, and help you use the Pomodoro Method to avoid procrastination. 

However, intrusive music that is loud, lyrical, or fast can make it more challenging to concentrate on the task at hand.

Implementing ambient or classical music is most effective with pomodoro, and can actually boost your performance and productivity.