You Say Tomato, I Say Pomodoro!

PomadoroI was taking stock on New Years, as I am wont to do. For me, taking stock this year is trying to figure out what productivity system would work for me. For me, a planner is more than a calendar, it is a map for my life. One of my goals for 2016 is to balance it all a lot better. All of it–life, work, family, health, fun, writing, teaching. Up until recently, I was able to keep all these balls in the air. But the second half of 2015 I felt a few of the balls slipping, and that isn’t good. I was working too much, and not producing enough to warrant the long hours and lack of the rest of my life.

My friend Jessie Crockett (a wonderful writer, and fellow Wicked Cozy Author) sent me this blog post, outlining several different productivity options. She suggested I look at the Align Results method, which I did. I’m still wrapping my brain around it, but I am going to try it this month, and see how it goes. I will report back. I do like the idea of aligning my tasks, goals, and personal narrative. My planner for the year, Tools 4 Wisdom, seems to be able to support this new method.

But as I wrestle with breaking the code on this system (blog post coming up!), I was reading about other productivity methods, and came upon the Pomodoro Technique. I downloaded an app to my phone, and started using it this weekend. The idea is so simple, but very effective. Work for 25 minutes without distractions. Turn off the phone, get off the internet, just do the task at hand. At the end of 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break.  If you need more time, take it, same rules. Start thinking about your working day in Pomodoros. Today I had 10 Pomodoros at work, with no meetings. So I gave different tasks different numbers of Pomodoros and decided to see if it worked. A phone call threw me off a bit, but other than that, it worked really well. Total focus, 25 minute sprints, 5 minute breaks.

I will keep you posted on my Pomodoro efforts, which I am now using for household chores.  I will see if I can align my results with my goals using my planner and other productivity methods. I’m giving it the entire month of January, and will report back.

How about you, dear readers? Any productivity tips and tricks as we move into the new year?


Julie Hennrikus writes the Clock Shop Mystery series as Julianne Holmes. Just Killing Time came out in October, and Clock and Dagger will come out in August.



26 thoughts on “You Say Tomato, I Say Pomodoro!

  1. As an Italian I feel compelled to tell you it should be “pomOdoro” 🙂
    Thank you for your interesting writings!

  2. As a huge fan of intervals in training I never thought to apply that to the rest of my life. This sounds like a really great idea. I usually start the day off with straight pen and ink and write out the goals for the day. At the end when I get to cross things off it really helps me feel like I accomplished something. The days I don’t write it I can lose track of the positive things I was able to do. It’s a very old school method and I am sure I can be more productive. Pomodoro here I come. Thanks for the advice!

  3. I’ve used this technique before and I’ve found it really helps aid focus and concentration. It’s like you don’t mind working solidly for such a short amount of time, on the promise that you can mess around on Facebook for five minutes after!

  4. Hello thanks for the interesting links. Living in Italy where pomodoro is what you find in most dishes, I found the app thing hilarious. But productivity “systems” never seem to work for me, they require too much sticking to rules 🙂 My recipe so far has been super simple: I never ever multi-task, and only talk and text on my smartphone (I know, I know, what a waste of good technology). I don’t speak over the phone when I drive either – traffic here is lethal. However, I’ll consider wading into more connected mode this year, but only if I find really useful and … non-stressful stuff out there 🙂

  5. I’m gonna give it a go. I get distracted so easily that I think 25 mins might be a stretch, but I need to set a challenging New Years resolution! Will let you know …

  6. Sounds like Ramona’s sprints to me! But 25 minutes seems more manageable than an hour. Although, I find if I take a break after a half hour of writing, sometimes the five minutes turns into another hour… I hope this works for you, friend.

  7. Oh thank you so much for this technique! It seems so nice! I will implement it today itself. It’s such a wonderful idea to aim to become more productive the next year! Something I did a while back was deleting all kinds of social media (Instagram,Twitter,SnapChat,WhatsApp,etc) with one month being my goal to accomplish working without such distractions.(its been 4 months now for me without going back on the vow) Surprisingly it was very hard only for the first few days and then I got used to it. I operated via email only, and viewed my social media on my laptop during short breaks. This will especially help if you daily work is not on your laptop. I suggest you start 2016 with this efficient method! =)

  8. With so many projects going on, and then throw kids and a hubby into the mix, I really need to try this out! I’ve seen this before, but of course, it got lost into the void that is called my memory. Thanks for the reminder. There are so many arguments that promote or condemn multi-tasking, and I have to say from experience that multi-tasking is detrimental to quality. But yet I still multi-task! So I have to see if I can make this method a habit.

  9. This “Pomodoro” thing looks like something I need to try. Not because I have a multitasking issue, by more a procrastination issue. Thanks for the advice. I’ll go take a look at it…uhh…maybe tomorrow.

  10. Pingback: Bread & Taxes | Live to Write – Write to Live

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