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Get things done with working meditation

May 17, 2021, by Stephanie Messier | Performance Management

You may wonder what “working” and “meditation” have to do with each other.   Meditation refers to training the mind on being focused and avoiding distractions.  When meditating, you are simply attending.  Working meditation refers to the ability to focus on anything that demands sustained attention by forcing your brain to concentrate on your work.  Just think of it as closing your office door to get your work done and be systematic about it. 

The Pomodoro Technique will ensure your working meditation will be successful. 

Francesco Cirillo of Italy created this method in the 1980s.  It is  a smart and simple method for learning and getting through a task list and helps tackle procrastination.  It’s easy!  You set a timer for 25 minutes to focus on your work as intently as you humanly can.  Then at the ring, you take a short break (no longer than 5 minutes) and then repeat another 25 minutes of focussed effort. 

Why 25 minutes, you ask?  In simple terms, it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to challenge the focussed attention by finding ways to get distracted.   Then, after 20 minutes, your brain gives up its distracting efforts and you feel yourself getting into the flow of work. 

Nevertheless, you absolutely need to avoid any distractions from your environment (electronics, pets, people, etc.) to be successful.  Prior to setting your time, identify any potential distractions so you can prevent them from happening during your 25 minutes of concentrated work. 

You don’t necessarily have to stop at the 25-minute mark.  Your working meditation can last until you feel fatigued (commonly after about an hour).  You can then take a deserving break and reward yourself with something that energizes you (play on your phone, enjoy a mochaccino, say hi to someone, etc.)   Give permission to your brain to relax and do something completely different for at least five minutes.  Then, repeat your 25 minutes of focused work.   

Enjoy your renewed productivity!


  • Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles, McMaster University
  • Cirillo, F. The Pomodoro Technique. 3rd ed. Berlin, Germany: FC Garage GmbH, 2013

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