Who knew a tomato would help you manage your time?

Who knew a tomato would help you manage your time

Okay, not a real tomato. The Pomodoro Technique, named after the cute little tomato-shaped kitchen timers, is an amazing tool for maintaining focus, managing your time, and giving your brain the necessary breaks for your best performance.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique focuses on working for a set chunk of time, and scheduling in small and large breaks. The biggest part for me is that you set a timer, which forces you to take breaks even when you’re absorbed.

Traditionally, the flow would go: 25 min work, 5 min break, 25 min work, 5 min break, 25 min work, 5 min break, 25 min work, 15-30 min break…rinse and repeat.

The beauty of this system is that it is completely customizable. If you know you work better in longer chunks, you can adjust the time as needed. Have a LOT to get done today? Keep some (not all) of your breaks productive by using that time to do simple things like checking and responding to easy emails.

Note that I did say you can replace some of your breaks with easy productive work, but not all. Even on your busiest days - perhaps most importantly on your busiest days -  your brain and body both need a break from staring at a computer screen, pushing buttons, or making phone calls all day. A quick 5-minute break to stretch, walk around, drink some water, and clear your desk (and head) will go along way toward keeping you productive and effective.