Give Your Working Life a HIIT with the Pomodoro Technique

The last 12 months have led to a rise in interest in fitness at home, as gyms and leisure centres have closed. It’s meant exercise routines without equipment have come to the fore, such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT workouts are short bursts of high intensity cardio activity that increase your heart rate for about three and 20 minutes at a time. It is a modern way of organising your fitness routine, right from the comfort of your own home.

The rising popularity of micro-HIIT workouts can be seen on apps such as the 7 Minute Workout Challenge and Fiit app which offers workouts as short as 10-minutes, ranging from cardio and strength to rebalance. In these uncertain times of Covid-19 this is perfect for so many people because this focussed workout plan helps people get quicker and better results even without visiting a gym.

Of course, it’s not just exercise we’ve been doing in our places of residence! Workplaces and styles have changed completely as offices have been shut and businesses have recalibrated to enable us to carry out our work from home during lockdowns.

While many have embraced the lack of commute and the increased flexibility to their benefit, this does bring its own challenges too, isolation being one of them. At the same time working from home also brings new distractions (like kids at home and lack of a dedicated workstation) which can lead to lack of motivation for some people. Being a business coach and having worked with clients from all over the world, I realise that in addition to any external distraction, your internal mental blocks and procrastination can also be your biggest barriers to effective working.

Since working from home has now become the new normal, I have been helping my clients adopt to a new focussed way of working from home. Applying a HIIT approach to your work could help you achieve more productivity despite the external distractions. Instead of planning a 9-5 day and staring at a screen for hours without much efficiency, why not work in shorter, more intense and focussed bursts of activity? 

When it comes to achieving higher productivity and results in your work life, a technique that works similar to the Fiit workout regime is called Pomodoro Technique. Created by Italian software designer Francesco Cirillo in the 1990s, it is breathtakingly simple, yet effective technique to lower procrastination, overwhelm and mental distractions.

This technique is great for those who are finding it difficult to organise themselves into a work routine from home and find themselves procrastinating from time to time! 

If you are someone who likes to plan their day with a to-do list but find yourself procrastinating and not achieving the required goals and then feeling guilty and going into the next day with more disappointment and lesser motivation, then Pomodoro Technique will work like magic for you.

This technique works by setting yourself up to work for a specific small timeframe (this will depend on your span of attention and the type of task at hand) usually 25 minutes. In that 25 minutes you work with complete focus, and then at the end, you take a five-minute break, in this break, you can check social, make a snack, run round the garden – anything! The idea is to switch off from the screen or work completely, straight after this short break you are now doing another focussed sprint of work for the next 25 minutes. Once you’ve completed four 25-minute sessions, you take a longer break – between 20 minutes to half an hour. And of course, you can take a break for lunch.

Pomodoro techniques will get maximum results when you have your to-do list and you identify the most important thing that you need to do which will move you forward in your work or business. According to Brian Tracy you should aim to complete the most important task first thing in the morning, and using Pomodoro Technique to eliminate procrastination and getting straight into accomplishing the important tasks thus putting you ahead of the game!

Pomodoro Techniques work for the following reasons:

Busy schedules

Sometimes a long list of tasks can feel overwhelming, and it’s easy to get bogged down in looking too far ahead in a full schedule. By breaking the day down into manageable chunks, focus is brought to one task at a time and hence reduces procrastination.

Shorter attention spans

We are all so used to checking our social media profiles and scrolling online that our attention spans are a lot shorter than they used to be. How many times do you find yourself casually reaching for your phone halfway through a task or a meeting, just to see what’s going on on social media? During your focussed bursts of 25 minutes, its easy to convince yourself to not look at your phone for a shorter span rather than committing to not touch your phone for the entire day until your work is finished. This leads to more organisation both for work and leisure. In the 5 minute breaks, you reward yourself by allowing yourself to go through your social media or anything else that you intend to do.  


Shorter burst of work is great in keeping the procrastination and overwhelm away as you are only focussing on one thing at a time. This enables you to be more in control of your thoughts and therefore more in control of your work and results.  


Creativity flourishes in downtime, therefore five-minute breaks can help you relax and come back with amazing new ideas to solve work problems. The short breaks also help you in breaking a state (stressed, overthinking etc) and gives you a chance to destress and get in touch with your creative side again.  

No new kit

All you need is a timer! In fact, the name of the technique is named after the tomato-shaped timer used by Francesco Cirillo when he created it. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.

As with all working techniques, this approach may not be right for everyone: it depends on your line of work and your own personal preferences. Another catch with the Pomodoro Technique is, in case you do not have clarity of vision, purpose and goals, you can end up spending focussed time on things that will not move you closer to your goals. This is why it works wonders for my clients. In conjunction with other coaching techniques, it helps my clients gain more clarity and eliminate mental blocks and now they have a tool to help accelerate their journey towards success. 

Having organisation and clarity while working is hugely satisfying and brings more pleasure to work – plus, after having a successful and productive working day, we can allow ourselves to fully switch off and enjoy the rest of the day with family and friends.

I am sure after having read this article you are now motivated to try it, in order to start using this technique you can use several apps on both Apple and Android phones and simpler still just use the timer on your phone to time your work sprint. 

However if you want to be really authentic, you should buy a tomato timer!

By: Reetika Gupta-Chaudhary