25/5.

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Did you know that? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. Did you know that? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re a regular reader of these words, you’ll know I like to be productive. A few weeks ago, I began to use the Pomodoro technique to improve my time management.

At its most basic, you set a timer for 25 minutes and carry out your main task until it sounds. Then you set it for five minutes, during which you carry out a different task. This can be repeated up to four times.

Dividing up like this makes it easier to plan both mentally and physically. Mentally, it’s easier to imagine 25 minutes of writing than a four hour slog; physically, it prompts you to change position regularly. It’s often surprising what you can do in this apparently short time. So far in this period, I’ve proofread and sent a bulk e-mail, written two paragraphs of this entry, and I still have 3½ minutes to go.

If you try this yourself, here are a few tips I’ve developed:

  • Once you’ve started the timer, turn it around so it doesn’t distract you.
  • Make your five-minute activity totally different from your 25-minute work. I use the computer a lot, so in my rest time, I’ll go and load the washing machine.
  • Use a different timer for each period to avoid having to reset it. I use a kitchen timer for 25 minutes and my watch for the other five.

Let me know if that helps you.

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