How to get motivated with Pomodoro Zero

Not feeling motivated? Here´s one strategy that might help us to get started!

Getting Started with the help of Pomodoro Zero

The Pomodoro Technique in an Nutshell

The Pomodoro Technique is a self management tool where a person is dividing the work of a day in small pieces called Pomodoros. Every iteration (Pomodoro) has a fixed length. We might for example decide that a Pomodoro is 25 minutes long. So all tasks that should be completed on a given day are divided into small pieces that will probably need about 25 minutes. After each Pomodoro we do a short break of 5 minutes. After we completed 3-5 Pomodoros we do a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

The Problem of Getting Started

In times of low energy or motivation the very challenge is often to even get started. As soon as we sit there on our desk it is getting easier. But what can we do to help us to get started in the first place? Let´s look at how some software development teams, using a project management framework called Scrum, start their projects.

Sprint Zero in Scrum

If you are familiar with Scrum you might have heard of Sprint Zero. In Scrum some teams work with a Sprint Zero which is basically the very first iteration of a project. In this initial sprint the team is doing preparatory work such as setting up hardware, test environments etc. This is something we can also apply with our Pomodoro Day.

How to apply Sprint Zero using the Pomodoro Technique

To help us to get started we can do a Pomodoro Zero every time we want to start our Pomodoro Day or when we come back after a longer break such als lunch break.
So the very first Pomodoro will be planned as a Pomodoro Zero. For this Pomodoro we don´t plan to actually really work. We prepare ourselves and have a first quick look at what needs to be done next.

The idea is to make the first micro steps very easy and have a first feeling of success because we are already ahead of schedule before we really started.

What to do in Pomodoro Zero

Using a Pomodoro length of 25 minutes our Pomodoro Zero could look like this:

In Pomodoro Zero we plan about 15 minutes to get prepared
  1. get something to drink
  2. plan our next 2-3 Pomodoros roughly
  3. plan what we want to do in our next breaks
  4. remove distractions
  5. open all needed files, papers, documents for Pomodoro #1
During the last 10 minutes of our Pomodoro Zero we make our first micro steps
  1. look into the first task
  2. define the first 1-3 micro steps for it
  3. do the very first micro step right away

With this little trick we already started to work before we even started our first real Pomodoro. When we do this regularly it will also become a habit. This little ritual will then signal our body and brain that we now start to work.


Using a Pomodoro Zero makes the transition to work easier for us. It helps us to start our day with a sense of achievement. This will get us back to feeling positive about ourselves and the work at hand. Have you tried it yet? How did it work?

This blog is a digital memory for me. I store nuggets of information, ideas and resources on these pages so that I can access and share them easily at any time, from everywhere. I always felt a strong passion for continuous improvement and that is why I am now super happy to be a professional Scrum Master. Scrum, Kanban, Agile Project Management, Coaching, Learning and Self Management are my passions and that is also what my blog is about ...

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