Email Triage and the Pomodoro Technique

In my presentations, I often talk about one of the best practices for mastering your email is to schedule specific times during the day to check the inbox.

That way you ‘single task’ your to-dos and activities without email interruption and then ‘single task’ your email processing when you visit the inbox (rather than multi-tasking these all at the same time).


I also like to recommend using The Pomodoro Technique as a time management method to help you focus. This technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

If you would like to have a closer look at this idea, Michael Einstein explains this very well in his blog.

Here is an outline of the Pomodoro Technique and how it relates to managing your email effectively.

You won’t regret taking a few minutes to read this!

However . . .

The Pomodoro Technique advocates 25 minutes ‘on task’ and then a 5 minute ‘break’, as shown below;

pomodoro 2.jpeg

I suggest this is a good way to start but you’ll soon find that 25 minutes is not enough. That’s because the brain only really kicks into gear after we’ve been focusing on a task for 15 minutes. That leaves only 10 minutes to make progress with the task and this is often not enough time.

So I suggest that once you get the Pomodoro habit going, build it up to what the latest research shows is the ideal amount of time for each – 52 minutes ‘on task’ and then a 17 minute ‘break’. It might be easier to schedule these into your calendar as 45 mins and 15 mins.

Why not try this technique over the next 2 or 3 weeks, see what difference it makes and then let me know about your progress?

All the best to you for a productive 2019.

Steuart Snooks