Productivity Generator: Pomodoro Technique

Bulb I am lazy. Don’t take me wrong: I am very hard-working and productive. But I can find a million excuses why I can’t start working or why I will not succeed once I begin work. I guess it is doubt and not as much laziness. Regardless of the terminology, I have a problem. Admitting I have a problem set me in gear to find a solution.

I have not painted for a year. Granted – I needed a break. But now break was over. I needed to paint. Even half an hour of painting is more than none. The question remained: how do I commit to sessions that will keep me working and creating new material?

The answer was the Pomodoro Technique. Name “pomodoro” comes from Italian word for “tomato.” Curious already? So was I.

Pomodoro Technique is a time management method. Francesco Cirillo developed this method in 1980 and based it on the “tomato timer” – you know, the silly kitchen timer that looks like a tomato. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks (usually 5 minutes). These intervals, also known as “pomodori”. The method is based on the premise that frequent breaks improve mental agility. Those of you who work in software design know this concept as incremental development.

And guess what – there is an app for that! Now armed with my Pomodoro Timer I feel unstoppable!

Added benefit of using this method? Now I know how many “pomodori” it takes to complete a piece. My patrons often asked me how long it takes to make what I am working on. Most of the time, I didn’t have an answer. Did it take me 10, 100 or 800 hours? Who knows: I didn’t clock in and out when I painted. But I was curious. Now I know. This is what I can do with 22 pomodori.


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