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I have recently been feeling very stressed and burnt out at work. The stress has begun to have physical manifestations, in terms of dizziness, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus and IBS. As a result, my productivity has taken a massive downturn. I try to work 100% 100% of the time, but it just isn't going well at all. I keep getting distracted and making stupid mistakes and missing deadlines.

So I thought I would try the Pomodoro technique, and take a 3-5 minute break every 25 minutes, and not take the longer breaks every 4 pomodoros. I told my boss that I was doing this, as they were also keen to improve my productivity.

The last week has been the most productive week here for months, but on Friday afternoon my boss asks me to make up time for all of the 'breaks' I have taken.

I'm unsure, but is one expected to 'make up time' for 'lost' time with the pomodoro technique? For example, if you have to work for 6 hours, do you work an extra hour and ten minutes longer to account for the time lost to breaks? Or are the breaks counted as part of your 'work time'?

{ asked by Katy }


Definitely not! Everyone takes breaks; they just don't formalize them and account for them. The fact that your productivity went up means you are serving your company's interests.

Arguments for your boss:

  1. If I didn't tell you I was doing the Pomodoro technique, would you have known I took the breaks?
  2. My productivity is higher now, do you want me to go back to the old way where I get less done but "don't take breaks."
  3. Are my teammates expected to make up the time they spend going to the restroom, socializing, etc? Everyone takes breaks.
  4. If you aren't an hourly worker, "I am a professional and should be evaluated on the quality and quantity of my work rather than the number of hours my butt is in a chair."
{ answered by Jeanne Boyarsky }