EDITORS: Double Your OUTPUT & Save your wrists With Pomodoro

Here is a short post, and while this site is about quoting, landing, and leading 4 and 5-figure shoots, this is a productivity hack that we all need as filmmakers.

And it won't cost you a dime.

I've mentioned this technique before and I think it's worth repeating.

Pomodoro is a productivity technique that you can use to save time, save your arms and hands from fatigue or worse, chronic pain, and it is essential for video editing. The Pomodoro technique, that is…

It’s worth repeating: this Pomodoro technique is essential for video editing.

And if you stick around, I'll have a bonus for you to get you jumpstarted with using this free, life-changing, time-saving, productivity-boosting tool.

C/o  Erato

C/o Erato

What the deuce?

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato.

In the late 1980's, an Italian man named Francesco Cirillo came up with this productivity hack. It's really simple. You work for 25 minutes, and then you take a 5-minute break.

That block of 30 minutes is one Pomodoro.

You are supposed to work for at least four blocks or four Pomodoros, before you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

I personally take a ten-minute break for my longer break. And I don't do 5 Pomodoros or more before taking a long break. I always stick to 4 Pomodoros and one long break.

So for me, my work schedule looks like this:

  1. I wake up at 6 a.m. I eat breakfast and do my morning quiet time.
  2. I start work at 7 a.m.
    • Work 7 - 7:25 a.m.
      1. Break for 5 minutes.
    • Work 7:30 - 7:55 a.m.
      1. Break for 5 minutes.
    • Work 8 - 8:25 a.m.
      1. Break for 5 minutes.
    • Work 8:30 - 8:55 a.m.
      1. Break for 10 minutes.
  3. Repeat the 4 Pomodoros: start work again at 9:05 a.m.

If you want to take a 15-minute break for your long break, then you will go back to work at 9:10 am.

I do this split a total of 5 times during every 12-hour work day. This boils down to working for 8 hours and 20 minutes every work day, not including the breaks from the Pomodoros.

I work 6 days a week, so that's 20 Pomodoros every working day, or 120 Pomodoros per week, which boils down to 50 hours of work every week,

That's 50 hours of work, not including break times. That's 50 hours of uninterrupted work.

Work where, in each 25-minute block, I hyperfocus on one thing.

I take a much longer break in the middle of the day for lunch and a visit to the gym.

Filmmakers, entrepreneurs, freelancers - it doesn't matter, you need to take care of your body. It is a temple, and it is a God-given resource just like your money or your time.

You need to stay healthy.

Go get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week. If you're going to go ahead and jump on board with the Pomodoro technique, then you might as well overhaul your health too.

Save time

The Pomodoro technique helps you eliminate distractions. It's not like you are suddenly granted more hours in your work day.

You and I have the same amount of hours in our day as Bill Gates and Elon Musk do. I know I use those fellows as examples frequently, but it's to prove the point.

The Pomodoro technique forces you to focus on the task at hand and with the free plug-in that I'll get to in just a second, you can eliminate distractions like Facebook or Twitter or whatever else that stops you from creating.

Save your limbs

I do a lot of computer work. I've always had osteo-related problems my whole life.

When I was two, my parents said I would be screaming from the pain that my wrist was in.

I had Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the pain was so intense, they swore you could see steam on a bad day.

I wore a wrist wrap to stabilize my wrist even at a young age. To this day, I still make sure I take extra precautions so that I don't get carpal tunnel. I have a super ergonomic keyboard, I wear wrist braces when I'm typing, and I use a standing desk to make sure that my posture is correct.

Before I started using the Pomodoro technique, I wrestled with giving my arms adequate rest because I do so much work on the computer.

But the Pomodoro technique is useful for for anybody that works with computers - especially video editors - because it forces us to unplug for a few minutes and go do something else.

Whether you own or rent a home, you can always find a small chore to do during that 5-minute break. If you work from home like I do, that means that you can go and spend 5 minutes of quality time with your spouse or your child.

Those five minutes are precious. And because I have engineered 5-minute breaks into every block of work throughout my work day, my arms and my hands are regaining their old strength.

Critical for video editing

Apart from the obvious health benefits to the Pomodoro technique... video editors, you know what I'm talking about here.

We get editing on a project, and before we know it, we are up until 4 a.m. just putting in the last touches.

This is terrible for our eyes, our posture, our metabolism (because we skip eating), etc.

Because we tend to be workaholics when we get into the zone, we have to be extra conscious to engineer breaks.

Those 5-minute breaks force you to look at things from the 30,000-foot view. 

My ideas don't come when I'm working, but during breaks and dedicated times to walk and pray.


Don't let video editing be your master. You need to take charge and be the responsible adult in the relationship 'twixt man and computer.

You need to take breaks.

Ready for something that will blow your hair back?

On top of the Pomodoro technique, I want you to add napping to your routine, even if it's just a 10-minute power nap.

Yes, napping.

Michael Hyatt did a detailed study on this recently; napping is essential for not only morale but for creativity.

If you're editing, you need all of the creativity you can muster. Working non-stop just to get that extra touchup done is a fool's errand.

As promised, here is the Chrome plugin.

And if you still need a little more help, I put together a behind-the-scenes look for you.

You can get both a video walkthrough of how I use the Pomodoro technique (specifically the Chrome plugin), and a complimentary spreadsheet so that you can block your tasks out, and not have to create a template every time you start your work week.

Fall Update: I've revised the Pomodoro sheet that you can use. Tear it up! Change the days, the tasks, and watch the fields change and update as you progress through your Pomodoros. There's a second video walkthrough for this new sheet (or rather tab).

CAUTION: you have to make a copy of the gsheet - it's in view only mode by default! Copy it and you can change it up however you like!


To get in on all of the action, download the bundle:

How many hours have you saved this week from this technique alone? Let me know below in the comments!

Original: Apr 28, 2016; updated Oct 06, 2017

Jake the film guy

I want to encourage others and bring honor to the Almighty in everything that I do with film and video. My goal is to take the first 11 minutes of my tv pilot and seek out decision-makers who can further the conversation about developing it into a show. If my team and I can do that, then we can teach 100,000 other microbudget filmmakers how to do the same thing so that we might tell stories of hope to millions. In the meantime, I'm a son of the King, a family man, a lifelong student of film, and the author of two microbudget filmmaking books.