Why The Pomodoro Technique Is 25 Minutes

Why The Pomodoro Technique Is 25 Minutes (And How It Helps With Productivity)

One of the fundamental elements of the Pomodoro Technique is that you have 25 minutes to work on your tasks and 5 minutes break.

The Pomodoro Technique uses 25 minutes of work time which allows you to focus on your task but not get overwhelmed.

Together with the 5-minute break, this time limit adds up to half an hour which makes it easier to manage your time throughout the day.

This article explores the only reason why the Pomodoro Technique is 25 minutes – and its many benefits.

Why Is A Pomodoro 25 Minutes Long?

The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and focusing fully on a single task during this time.

When the timer rings after the 25 minutes, you should have a 2- to 5-minute break to allow your brain to rest and refocus for the next task.

But why 25 minutes exactly?

When trying to focus to read a book for an exam, Pomodoro Technique inventor Francesco Cirillo set a timer for 2 minutes, and progressively increased his focus time up to an hour. He found that 25 minutes was the ideal unit of work, followed by a short break.

Now, while 25 minutes might seem a bit arbitrary, there are benefits to working for only 25 minutes at a time.

Let’s find out.

Benefits of Focusing for Only 25 Minutes

25 Minutes Isn’t Overwhelming

The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. He was still a student during this time, looking for a way to study more effectively.

When Cirillo developed this time management method, he tried different times from 2 minutes up to an hour.

The human brain has limited capacity to pick up information and focus on a task. 

There are varying studies about human attention span but they all agree that our attention span is limited.

This means that we can only concentrate on a task for a short amount of time. When Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique, he chose 25 minutes as the optimal time.

25 Minutes Is Enough Time To Be Productive

When the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique was looking for the best time, he also tried shorter periods of time, ranging from 2 minutes to 20 minutes.

However, he found that any time shorter than 25 minutes was not enough to fully concentrate on a task.

When we want to focus on an individual task, then we need some time to process the information we read and work through it.

As defined by Cirillo, he believed that 25 minutes is the right amount of time to productively work on a task without procrastinating.

25 Minutes Are Better For Time Management

In addition, 25 minutes can be easily combined with a 5-minute break to half an hour. This allows you to manage your time in 30-minute increments.

This means that you can work on several Pomodoros in a day to complete multiple tasks and projects.

25 Minutes Are Motivating

Cirillo considered 25 minutes just enough time to start on a longer task or complete a short task, allowing you to make effective progress.

This does not just contribute to better productivity but you also feel more motivated when you know that you can look forward to a break in 25 minutes.

Breaks are not just essential for our physical wellbeing but they are also important for our mental health.

Looking forward to a break can have motivational effects, similar to a break itself.

25 Minutes Create Urgency

Setting the timer to 25 minutes creates a sense of urgency when you are working through a task. As 25 minutes isn’t a very long time, you understand that you need to start immediately to get it completed.

This sense of urgency helps you focus more on the task and get as much done as possible in this Pomodoro.

Does The Pomodoro Technique Have To Be 25 Minutes?

Does The Pomodoro Technique Have To Be 25 Minutes?

The recommended time of a Pomodoro when using the Pomodoro Technique is 25 minutes, with a 5-minute break.

This is the timeframe the inventor of this time management method originally recommended.

In the last years, scientists found that we all learn in different ways, and this can impact the time that our brain needs to focus on a task.

This means that some people may need more than 25 minutes to work through a Pomodoro. 

However, the time shouldn’t exceed half an hour to ensure that the brain doesn’t get overwhelmed. Additionally, there are also some people who will need 10 to 15 minutes for a task. 

A shorter focus time is particularly important for people with ADHD, concentration issues and learning difficulties.

If you choose to vary the original time for your Pomodoro, it is essential that you time your work and breaks carefully.

You should also stick to the same time for each Pomodoro during a day. 

How To Create More Time Flexible Pomodoros

While the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique recommended 25 minutes for each Pomodoro, you can vary the time as long as you keep track of it.

Here are some ways to create Pomodoros that are more flexible.

Allow Time For Additional Pomodoros

According to the original Pomodoro Technique time, you can complete sixteen Pomodoros during an 8-hour workday.

However, you can also plan two to four additional Pomodoros into your day for any unexpected tasks or tasks that take longer.

If you don’t need these additional Pomodoros at the end of the day, then you can start working on your low-priority tasks of the next day.

This can help you stay ahead with your tasks and manage your time for more than one day.

Adjust Your Pomodoros According To Tasks

The 25 minutes of a Pomodoro require your full attention on a single or multiple small tasks.

However, there are tasks that can vary in time each time you complete them.

These tasks are typically more creative tasks, such as thinking, composing or writing.

These small creative projects often require more time than the traditional 25 minutes.

You can double your Pomodoro time to 50 minutes, and take a 10 minutes break after the Pomodoro.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of small tasks that don’t take 25 minutes to complete, then you can also shorten your Pomodoro to 15 minutes or even 10 minutes.

This shortening approach is also more useful for anyone who struggles to concentrate on tasks for longer, such as adults and children with learning disabilities or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mix Your Time Intervals

Another way to make your Pomodoros more flexible but effective is by changing the time intervals of your Pomodoro.

You can experiment with how long you need for a specific task, and then shorten or extend your Pomodoro time.

However, it is essential that you use the same time intervals throughout your day, as otherwise time keeping can become confusing.

Final Thoughts

When Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro Technique, he experimented with different times for each Pomodoro.

He tried times from 2 minutes up to an hour but he discovered that 25 minutes was the optimal time to work through a task without procrastination, lack of focus and energy loss.

However, you can vary the time for each Pomodoro as long as you ensure that you track your time for the tasks and break.