Why Is It Called The Pomodoro Technique?

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s called The Pomodoro Technique, what pomodoro means or how the technique was developed, you’re in the right place. I’ll answer all those questions in this short post.

How The Pomodoro Technique Came To Be

Francesco Cirillo originally developed the Pomodoro technique, and discovered it’s productivity benefits in the 1980s while at college.

According to Pomodoro Technique Illustrated, Cirillo needed a way to overcome his low productivity and inability to make progress with his studies.

“I made a bet with myself, and it was as helpful as it was humiliating.”

Francesco Cirillo

This bet was the start of what we now call the Pomodoro Technique. If you’re wondering does the Pomodoro Technique really work or just how effective it is, that post is a great read.

But why do we call it the Pomodoro Technique?

The word Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. The bet that Cirillo made with himself as an unmotivated student was to try to study hard for just 10 minutes.

He needed a way to time his 10 minute study session and lacking a smartphone with a timer app, he reached into his kitchen and pulled out the only timer he had, a tomato shaped egg timer. And so the Pomodoro was born.

Over time, he started calling his study sessions pomodoros (after his timer) and increased the amount of time he could study for. He also set the break time between pomodoros at 5 minutes, if you want to give this a go, make sure you don’t destroy your breaks with the wrong activity, do something from this list of Pomodoro break ideas to be safe.

It wasn’t until 1992 tha Cirillo officially defined The Pomodoro Technique in the form we know now. In 2006 He wrote The Pomodoro Technique, a 130 page book he posted in pdf format on his website as a free download. It was downloaded over 2 million times.