The Tomato method / by YT

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With growing number of individuals working from home, there is equal growth on efficiency hacks and productivity myths flying around. The home office is the best office in my personal opinion, however, it takes an immense amount of self-discipline. Distraction takes shape in many forms, not all of them can be resolved by yelling one’s own name, commanding oneself to focus - that ever only works in Japanese anime. It is a game on prioritising, also a test on attention span. 

The Pomodoro Technique basically makes you work on whatever’s at hand,
as much as possible, in one sitting. 

It is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named Pomodoros, the Italian word pomodoro for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. (How cute!) 

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Pockets of time

It compartmentalizes work flow into smaller chunks. I often get caught up in house chores and errands, then get really stressed out about deferring tasks I’ve set out to complete. So, the first thing I do is to separate Tasks, Errands, and Correspondence ( can’t take full credit for this idea, it’s inspired by this notepad I saw at the bookshop the other day).

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Next thing, like preparing a snack box for recess, I put together a healthy mix of things I want to do during my breaks other than peeing or making my 6th cup of coffee: 

5 mins break

Sun Salutation
Meditation / 54321 exercise
Read non-fiction 

15 mins break

Learn Japanese
Practice Headstand 

To set it up

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the Pomodoro timer (I use the desktop version downloadable in App store)
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. After the timer rings put a checkmark on a piece of paper
  5. If you have fewer than four check marks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your check mark count to zero, then then repeat the whole set again. 



Keep it low-tech

When the creator came up with the method, he encourages a low-tech approach, using a mechanical timer, paper, and pencil. The physical act of winding the timer setting the intention to start the task; checking items externalizes desire to complete the task; ringing announces a break. Flow and focus become associated with these physical stimuli. 

Taking the essence of that notion and roll with it, I downloaded the Tomato One via App Store on my Mac. If you want to keep it analog, there is tomato kitchen timer on Amazon, too. The point is, to keep it very simple. 


Planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing

By counting 'pomodoros', it handy to find out how much time you've been spending on what. It makes a great tool in budgeting your time, then on you can easily gauge how much time you need for similar task and plan for it. It's the complete circle of life right here! It's a very straightforward method to keep your work flow in check. It takes a timer, pen and to-do list, and that's it. 

So far, I am loving this method. Is there any efficiency hacks that you swear by? Let us know in the comments or on our Instagram (@intothefort), we would love to try it out!