Power to the Pomodoro!

A pomodoro timer and Darth Vadar too? Snap! (Photo Credit: mlpeixoto
A pomodoro kitchen timer AND Darth Vadar too? Snap!
Photo: mlpeixoto (Creative Commons Flickr)
“The hardest part is getting started.” That’s what my aunt, a self-made multi-millionaire, used to say. It certainly worked for her.

“The next-hardest part is staying focused.” That’s my corollary for the busy age in which we live. So many distractions (like reading this blog post), so few of them productive.

Send in the tomato! The Pomodoro (“tomato”) Technique takes its name from an Italian kitchen timer. The idea is to stay focused and working for 25 minutes without interruption–no Internet! No texting! –before taking a short break.

This technique can be especially helpful with writing. I stay at it long enough for “flow” to take over. Pomodoros also help me grade papers and tackle housework. “Twenty-five minutes won’t kill me,” I tell myself as I vacuum or mop the floor or deal with dirty dishes. Or grade another ten-page paper.

These days everyone struggles to be productive. If you’re interested in learning more about the Pomodoro Technique, I’ve linked a short video below.

9 thoughts on “Power to the Pomodoro!

  1. Time blocks are a powerful technique and shutting down those dern interruptions is key. Like making cajun roux, unless the house is on fire, you never stop, walk away, or get distract.

    Writing is making our own roux for the gumbo we call our novel, story, or essay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent way to look at this, Katherine. My job as a teacher is all about multitasking. When I discovered pomodoros in June, I was astonished to see how poorly I could stay on task. No wonder I struggled to write!

      With time, I saw my ability to concentrate improve dramatically.


  2. I’ve decided to adopt a version of this combined with a partial “500 a day” approach. I’m not going to aim for an entire chapter when I sit down to write. I’m going to aim for 500 – 1000 words. That’s not nearly as daunting as pressuring myself to write all day or write an entire chapter. If I need to, I’ll set a timer. Sometimes I’m like that dog on the movie “Up” – SQUIRREL!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No kidding, “squirrel!” That’s me. As distractible as any of my students. This summer I made progress with the novel only because I relearned, through pomodoros, how to concentrate. Sad, huh? As I told Katherine (above), the teacher’s job is all about .spinning plates and doing five things at once.

      You are a champ for being able to write an entire chapter in a day, especially for a complicated story.I think you’ll enjoy writing smaller amounts. I have to break my chapters down to work on them, thinking through each aspect. When it’s time to assemble the chapter, it’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle…with half the pieces being discarded because they don’t fit.

      It’s madness. And I do this for fun?

      Right now, my almost-finished novel* is screaming toward the finale. This means I am working on six chapters simultaneously, laying down the elements and building tension. Crazy. The only way to manage the work of writing is in smaller, daily blocks of work.

      *Darcy By Any Other Name has grown from 31 chapters to 35. Endings are the most challenging part of writing. And then, after that, I will circle back and rework the first chapter, like, ten times. :/


    1. Ah, but do you have the fearsome clenched-fist Darth Vader action figure? 🙂 (Me neither. Maybe I need one?)

      Your timer looks durable. And large enough that it won’t be misplaced, both significant pluses. .


      1. It is literally a flick of the wrist to set and reset if necessary. Special Ed classes use them because they are visually uncluttered and simple to use. Just what’s needed at my age.

        Liked by 1 person

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