Pomodoro Technique

Have you ever heard of The Pomodoro Technique?  I’ve used this method to try to be productive in my work . . . but never to be productive in my parenting.  The basics are to turn everything off (phone, email, twitter, facebook, and any other distractions) and focus solely on ONE THING for 25 minutes.  Then, you take a five-minute break.  After the five-minute break, you start on a new 25 minute pomodoro session.  When I can be disciplined enough to use this technique, it works swimmingly!  

The state of my house was driving me nuts.  I was desperate to get some laundry and other picking up done, but the kids were home from school for the day.  Hmmm would pomodoros work on my children??  Nothing motivates my kiddos more than reading Harry Potter together (we were close to finishing book 3).   I explained to them the following deal: 

We would do a work pomodoro, followed by a  fun pomodoro.  Each child would get their choice in order of birth (which form of work: laundry, toy pick-up, room cleaning and then which form of fun: Harry Potter outloud reading, drawing session, etc.).  
Guess what?? It worked. . . an hour and a half of consistent and focused HELP!  I mean it. Consistent and thorough help!  I moved from one child to another lending a hand, where necessary.  And, we got an hour and a half of well-earned fun mixed in!  Our five-minute transitions tended to stretch out to 10 or 15 minutes, but it worked well.

 I ended up with empty laundry baskets, cleaned up rooms, AND we finished The Prisoner of Azkaban!  Ahhhh . . .  I think I’ve got to use the pomodoros more often in my every day work – try it!  Check out how Charlie finished his closet – is there anything more satisfying than that?

Thanks for reading!

  1. stacie

    What a great idea Anne! Think I’ll give it a try with my kids. Don’t you love the Harry Potter series? My 14 year old has read and reread his series so many times that a few of the books literally fell apart! What an amazing thing J.K. Rowling did for children (and grown ups)

  2. We work similar to this way a lot… it’s the best way to hurry through the house and keep mama’s sanity — plus, with everyone’s focus on the hussle there is less complaining about chore-time, less fighting as to “who’s job it was,” etc.

    PS: Add the Phantom Tollbooth to your readaloud list. They’ll love it!

  3. anne

    Thanks for the book suggestion Denice – I think I have this one on my bookshelf!

    Yes – thank you JK Rowling!

  4. Monica

    This is a great idea, I may try it myself. Besides JK Rowling, I really like Philip Pullman, the Dark Materials trilogy is great, but also his lesser known series about Sally Lockheart.

  5. Monica

    I just thought of another book. When I was a kid my grandmother gave me a book by Wilhelm Hauff, and it is amazing! Now the original is in german, but it has been translated into english as well. I do not believe it’ll be easy to find, but thanks to the Internet you can find the e-text on Project Gutenberg, it is called the Oriental Story-book. It’s all pirates and enchantments and treasures…I remember loving it!

  6. Anonymous

    can they come clean my room! love ya Mom

  7. Thanks for this post. I use the pomodoro at work (home office, kids mostly at school) and it is amazing. I tried to get my son to use it for homework, with very mixed success. In other words, do 25 minutes of focused work then check facebook, etc guilt free for five minutes. It might stick if I keep reminding him.

    Your idea of organizing a home day with pomodori is fantastic. We have chores and such, but it is always challenging to get the 5 year old to stay focused and see some light at the end of the tunnel. Can’t wait to try this! Cheers and thanks! C

  8. Joy

    Wow! I have used the Pomodoro technique with my work, but never thought of using it with my kids- what a genius idea! I can’t wait to try it on them tomorrow… they’re already in bed for today… thankfully!

  9. DavidR

    Hi, I found this idea quite amazing and read up on the Pomodoro technique:

    “Pomodoro Trainers are counselors, psychologists, educators, and other specialists who utilize the Pomodoro Technique in sensitive environments or train those with conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder and other similar conditions, which the Pomodoro Technique has been shown to be very effective.”

    with the wonderful success you had with your children would you say that this technique could be beneficial in cases such as unfortunate children with conditions such as ADD?

  10. anne

    I think it helps to keep kids/adults focused on doing one thing at a time no matter what. My oldest son has ADHD AND he is very reward driven so this technique works very well for him.

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