Pomodoro Technique. How do You Use it?

As we are talking about this technique I was wondering if you are using it and how. Or what’s the best way to use it.

Here the technique: Pomodoro Technique - Wikipedia

I know this technique since ages, read some book in the past, applied it and now started to use it again after reading Peter and Toby advice.

The thing I’ve found interesting is to measure our language progress not much on statistics (I still look at them) but on how much blocks of time we are capable to stay exposed to the language. (of course, with better focus attention, a specific method, bla bla bla).

BUT how do you tailor to yourself these blocks? What kind of parameters do you use to understand how long a Pomodoro should be (ex. 25’), how long the pauses (ex. 5’), when to do longer pauses and so on.

It’s obvious that’s very personal but I would appreciate some guidance, if you have it, or just your way of doing it and maybe how you have changed this strategy over time.



Been doing Pomodoro for “ages”. My simple recipe is:

  • 1 Pomodoro block à 25 min
  • Break: 3-4 min (usually I do short calisthenics workouts: pushups, pullups, abs exercises, pistols, whatever)
  • After 4 Pomodoro blocks a longer break (ca. 15-30 min): drinking a cup of coffee / tea, eating something, walking around, sitting on the balcony, etc.

Rinse and repeat by means of a Pomodoro timer (as a browser extension).

The longer the workday becomes, the more important the breaks are. Otherwise you don’t stay physically/mentally “fresh” - and esp. calisthenics workouts are extremely helpful in this context!

PS -
People who find it difficult to focus for 25 min repeatedly, should treat this like a new habit to be learned. For example:

  • Week 1: Start with only one Pomodoro block à 12 min
  • Week 2: Add 3 min to the Pomodoro block
  • Week 3-5: Add 3-4 min per week until you reach 25 min
  • Week 6-8: Add a second Pomodoro block à 12 min and extend it as before.

After two months, the habit of doing two Pomodoro blocks à 25 min a day should be established. That´s also the usual time for the establishment of every new habit.


Thanks @Peter.

I’ve just had a quick look at calisthenics workouts and I guess it’s something I’m doing now without knowing that there is a name for it. I’ll look into it better.

But I’m not really able to do any exercise in those short breaks. Don’t you need any warm-up before doing push-ups? Or do they have any benefit at all instead of doing a session of 30 minutes workout. Any time I do any workout, or QiGong, I always end up having a session of 30’ or so.

I also have the tendency to do longer breaks but I’m getting better. It’s a training after all.

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Shredded intelectual on the pomodoro diet, you’re frightening me! I hope that language learning and calisthenics take all of your time, because you’re obviously capable of taking over the world! Davide is already on the hook, Tobby on his own is like Engels to your Marx, what’s next? Soon we won’t have anybody using nice tiny DuoLingos or traditional RossetaStones, and those who will use them, will be ostricized :slight_smile:

Usually, I go running / do calisthenics workouts early in the morning. And these training sessions are much longer: ca. 30-90 min.

However, I need many short workouts during the day, too because sitting all the time is really detrimental to our health.
As the saying goes: “Sitting is the new smoking!”.

Reg. “calisthenics workouts” you should check out Mark Lauren and Paul Wade (on Amazon); esp. Wade´s books “Convict Conditioning I / II” and “Explosive Calisthenics” are excellent.
I`ve been following the Convict Conditioning program almost religiously for more than 10 years. It´s a treasure trove of bodyweight training knowledge, esp. in combination with Steven Low, “Overcoming Gravity”!

“warm-up before doing push-ups”
I’m usually a “warm-up fanatic” of sorts, but with workouts this short, I tend to skip the warm-up.
That´s what I often do:

  • 20-70 pushups (fast, but correct)
  • ca. 20 jackknifes (as abs exercise)
  • ca. 10-15 squats

After that, I feel refreshed…

However, it´s a good idea to do some warm-up for pistols (/ one-legged squats) or pullups! It really depends on the bodyweight exercise.

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Since another area of ‘expertise’ of mine is fitness, I’ll answer that portion. Generally, bodyweight exercises like pushups don’t need a warmup because they’re low-impact enough that they act as warmups in themselves. Doing just a couple of minutes of exercises between each pomodoro block probably won’t have any noticeable effect on muscle growth even in the long term. However, it will work great to loosen up a bit and keep lactic acid from building up in your muscles/joints while sitting for long periods of time. Additionally, it will build some extra flexibility over time (depending on the exercise). So, overall, it’s still great for general health.

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When I am tired of consuming German I simply go grocery shopping. A 30-minute walk for both ways to REWE recharge my battery again for more consumption of German.

I only utilize the Pomodoro technique when I revise my lecture notes before exams. Never tried it for language learning but will surely give it a try for reading in German and for observing how my mental span reacts to it and whether I can get more reading done in a day in short blocks of the PT.


Ha, ha, ha!
That´s simply the Ultra-R+L Borg mission:
“Resistance is futile. Your method will be a part of the Ultra-R+L Borg collective!” :slight_smile:

All joking aside:
Sitting non-stop in front of a screen is a real health risk.
Calisthenics isn´t a panacea, but it can help a lot in this context!

PS -
Let´s make the Duolingo stories part of the Ultra-R+L-Borg collective, but cetero censeo noctuam delendam esse - what was good for Carthago can’t be bad for Duolingo :wink:

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Sitting non-stop in front of a screen is a real health risk

So true, scrolling through the “feeling demotivated” thread I’ve developed arthritis in the middle finger!

@asad: grocery shopping! That’s a good idea. :smiley:

@rhess: Thanks for contributing. Any advice is definitely important for any reader.

So, it’s possible to do those but if we want to use them for building muscles or strength we need to redo a session in a separate and longer slot. Same thing I suppose with squats.

I’m just thinking about “saving” time to take advantage of the breaks and possibly doing exercises that could work as strength and growth (like killing 2 birds with one stone). :smiley:


That´s spot on, rhess!

Yes, these short workouts are only for improving my general health. They aren´t intended as a substitute for serious (i.e., more intense) training sessions.

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Thinking about it:
Why not something like:

  • 1st Pomodoro block for language learning
  • 2nd Pomodoro block for working out (Tabatas, whatever)
  • 3nd Pomodoro block for language learning ?
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Ha, ha, ha: not really an option for me because when I go shopping I usually listen to Spanish, Port. or Jap. on my MP3 Player. Relaxing looks different :slight_smile:

The advantage:
The physical pain has replaced the mental pain.
So you should no longer feel “demotivated” if that was your previous mental state. :slight_smile:


I suppose anything can be adaptable that’s why any idea is always welcome. I usually don’t time anything and of course, that’s bad management but yeah, it helps to waste a lot less time.

It definitely has, though I’ve somewhat overcome the need for motivation mostly, now I’m getting good at feeling disintegrated, for it fits better to my brave new environment. Reeding Frankl and Gustave Le Bon kind of things, which likely will come in handy some time, perhaps no less than the pomodoro technique :slight_smile: