Pass the Tomato! The Pomodoro technique.

Pass the tomatoes sitting on a slate cutting board for the red Pomodoro timer to help you set time management goals

“Pass the tomato” you say? What does a tomato have to do with time management?

Plenty, according to Dean Kissick, who penned a piece in the June 21 edition of the New York Times Magazine, about the Pomodoro technique, named for the ubiquitous tomato-shaped kitchen timer.  

This handy device enables the user to set undisturbed work time in 25-minute intervals, each followed by five-minute breaks.  It is a non-threatening way to set achievable goals without making it seem like drudgery.

“A Pomodoro, once started, must not be interrupted, otherwise it has to be abandoned, he explains.  “After a set of four 25-minute intervals are completed, you’re supposed to take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes before continuing.” 

Why is this time management technique worth considering?  

Many TypeWell transcribers were working from home already, but once the coronavirus pandemic hit, nearly all of them shifted to remote work (along with their supervisors and most of the clients they served). This new reality will continue into the fall semester of 2020 and beyond.

When working from home or independently, it is tempting to slough off, or, conversely, to power through even if your eyes are burning and your brain is reeling.  While idle time helps us recharge and reenergize, it’s also useful to have a set period for productivity that isn’t punitive or burdensome.  

The benefits of the technique are substantial and revelatory, Kissick notes.

“The Pomodoro technique showed me how much of my experience of reality is tied up with my subjective perception of it…It has forced me to think about what I’d most like to be doing every day instead.  It has made me see time afresh—as something we really don’t have enough of, as something precious because it’s ephemeral.” 

Pass the tomato! How will you use the Pomodoro technique?  Tell us how it’s working for you.


photo credit: verchmarco Tomatoes with a tomato shaped kitchen clock on a black stone via photopin (license)