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Tomato anyone?


Do you know these little ‘tomatoes’, used in the kitchen? Well, they can also be used outside of the kitchen… and help you to better manage your time.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used as a university student.

How does it work?

  • You decide on the task to be done
  • You set the timer (=25 minutes)
  • You work on the task until the timer rings. When you get distracted, don’t start doing something else (if necessary, take note of it to get back to it later) but keep on focusing on the task
  • After the time is up, you take a short break (3 to 5 minutes (I take 5!)) and then you go back to 1
  • After 4 pomodoros (or pomodori?), you take a longer break (15 to 30 minutes)

This is the simplified version. For those who want the full options, please visit the original website.

While you can use this to manage your whole day, I’d like to share how/when I use it. And even when it’s very personal, I might inspire somebody else.

  • Let me start with a confession: I procrastinate… Especially when it comes to things I don’t like, things that are a bit overwhelming and … when working from home (=plenty of distractions). When I catch myself doing it again, I go to my pomodoro (or I simply use the timer on my phone). I set the timer and during that period I am not allowed to do anything else: my mail programme is switched off, no social media, no excuses. When that timer is on, I know I mean business… Almost always it will get me started and … when the time is up, I am almost sorry… Sorry enough, to want to get started again after the short break.
  • I like to use the pomodoro linked to my ‘stone’. You have probably heard about the vase filled with stones, pebbles and sand (see one version here). I like to do at least one ‘important’ thing everyday and I usually break it up into 2 or 3 pomodoros.
  • I’ve just finished a course to become a CSR coach (Chronic Stress Reversal coach) and there I’ve learned that it’s ok to work hard as long as you ‘rest hard’ too… The ‘mandatory’ break after every 25’ of work is a great reminder. I usually have a drink or even a dance break (to get to my 10000 steps and raise my energy!).

I will definitely come back to tell you more about the last point but in the meantime, you might want to try out this technique yourself.

Do you use it already? Can you imagine yourself using it in the future? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

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