Time management help | How About Orange

May 18, 2010

Time management help

A friend told me about MyTomatoes.com yesterday. It's a site that utilizes the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method based on the theory that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. My favorite part: time is measured in 25 minute increments called "pomodoros," Italian for tomatoes.

The idea is to work for 25 minutes until the timer goes off, record what you did, take a 5 minute break, and repeat. After every four tomatoes you finish, take a longer 15-20 minute break. I was all set to try it today, but work was too hectic to bother with setting the timer. This might be a good tool to use when you don't have immediate outside deadlines, and you struggle to stay focused and feel productive.

37 comments:

A Charmer said...

I'm absolutely using that tomorrow. Thanks for posting!

Susie said...

This sounds very similar to a time management technique recommended by a fellow home schooler: have your kids do their work in 15-minute chunks. You could do anything, no matter how distasteful, for just 15 minutes, right? Totally manageable.

And it turns out you can get a lot done in that time, too.

Elizabeth Encarnacion said...

Ooh, very interesting. Will use this tomorrow to tackle a task I've been avoiding for weeks.

deb said...

My daughter and friends used this while studying for finals at University.

and I love your blog btw

Nanette said...

Gah! I soooo need this! I work from home.

Grandma G said...

I think I'd get too frustrated every time my 5 minute break ended!

;-)

Christy said...

I definitely need this! A million thanks for linking this!

Rebecca said...

My son has ADD and this is how we do his homework but in shorter increments. It works!

Ansie said...

This is a good way to manage my internet browsing/blog reading time. I can spend hours doing it and then wonder why I never get anything done! 25 mins on the feedreader from now on!

Lory said...

Very interesting!
I'll try it.

Medea said...

Thanks for this. I'll it today, from this minute.

Kate said...

Thank you! I immediately started this as I had a project to do that I was putting off (writing a report for work). It WORKS!! I LOVE it!! It's simple, simple, simple but effective. Thank you.

Kate said...

BTW forgot to say I love your blog and LOVE orange!!

said...

I haven been doing something similar for my dissertation after reading the book "Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day" (recommended by my thesis advisor! :) ).
The intervals are 15 minutes long (instead of 25) and I use an online timer with a pop-up - as my pets almost got a heart attack when I used an actual timer. :>> At the end of each interval I cross out a square so that at the end of the day I know exactly how much time I spend working. And I like how those square add up. :)
This has worked for me fantastically and I have also passed it on to my friends and colleagues, who tried it and are also stunned!

concretenprimroses said...

I do my best work when I use my timer. Yesterday I weeded in the garden for 30 min. then went in and cleaned for 20. then stripped wallpaper for 45. by the time I got to work I was raring to go. This morning its raining and I know that looking at the computer just isn't going to give me the same energy.
Dd came over with her boyfriend yesterday afternoon (I only worked 6 hours) and they helped me for another 45 min of wallpaper stripping. (Yuck that's all I can stand at one time of that - but having a set limit also helped them decide it was ok to help me.)
Its good to have a beginning and an end.
If there is something I really really don't want to do I set the timer for 10 min. Its amazing what can be accomplished. Sometimes the whole job, but dread made me think it was going to take a lot longer.
Unfortunately I can't get myself to do this (use the timer and attack projects) all the time, but when i do the results are great!
Kathy

Kathrin said...

It does sound good ... as long as there isn't something/someone around to distract you. I tried this method with 15 minutes intervalls but as soon as the phone rang or my dog came to my desk for some attention the schedule was ruined.

Erin said...

Interesting theory. I might just try it out.

Alexa said...

I think the time you're on deadline would be exactly when you'd need this. I tend to get too wrapped up in things and not take time to step back and assess my effectiveness. That's when mistakes happen. Also when my eyesight goes south and my carpal tunnel syndrome acts up.

Djibouti Jones said...

That's funny because I read somewhere (I think the NY Times like two years ago) that for every interruption/break you take, you need something like 5-10 minutes to get refocused. So taking breaks/being interrupted was a time-WASTER. I wonder which it is? Maybe depends on your personality?

Bek said...

Can't it be work 5 minutes, take a 25 min. break?

And Djibouti, I think it works to take a break between different tasks. Your brain has to readjust anyway, so taking a break may help it focus more on something new

The Armchair Parisian said...

Hmmm... interesting. I work from my studio at home and when I put laundry in, I set the timer for 40 minutes so I remember to go change it to the dryer (or it is a wet, forgotten heap at the end of the day). It drives me crazy when that timer goes off and I am in the middle of a creative flow...

Anthonette said...

My husband has been "doing" pomodoros for a few months. He's got it on his iPad and iPhone. He swears by it. Even our 6-yr old knows what it is.

sparklesax said...

as a sahm it is great to record the ADD nature of my life and be able to see that I AM doing something.

Celia said...

This is just what I needed!! Thank you Jess!

Laura said...

Haha! I was at work, procrastinating and decided to jump over to your site to see what is up at How About Orange today...aha! Just what I need! Pomodoro to get and keep me focussed! Trying it right now, finished my first 25, now on my first 5 minute break. I can hardly wait to try this at home with my housework! Uh-oh! There goes the timer! Bye for now!

Becky said...

I'm interested to see how it works for you. I have tried it but haven't been consistent in utilizing it. I have Crafters ADD so it does help!

tractorgirl said...

hahaha! i think it's funny that you need the time to try out this technique ;)

seriously, I should try it. I know I'm a big procrastinator & spend way too much time on the computer.

BTW, when I was making this pillow, I couldn't stop thinking about your blog. I hope you like it - http://www.etsy.com/listing/47384255/pillow-cushion-orange-spiral-raw-edge

Crystal said...

So, I guess this "time management" suggestion makes up for all those lovely "time wasters" you like to share with us.

:)

Love your blog!

Jess said...

Yes, I'm trying to undo some of the damage I've done.

Moosette said...

So interesting - I am definitely going to try! I work from home and could use some help with time management :-)

Landon and Kylie said...

I tried this at work this morning to get through my nasty billing that I have been avoiding for weeks. Not even lunch time yet, and I'm DONE! Thanks for posting this!

Bela said...

I'm currently on a very tight deadline with someone on my back every day asking how I'm getting on. I need to be left in peace so I can concentrate instead of explaining why the work cannot be possibly done yet. This wouldn't work for me right now. But I might try it some other time. *off to carry on working*

sally said...

I've been really enjoying your blog. I gave you an award on my blog. Have a wonderful weekend.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! I do this all the time when I have a hard time concentrating on whatever I'm doing. I feel like I get more done and I do it better than if I just sat down and started working without a deadline.

Mimiko said...

Thanks. I'm looking for something like this to help with my time management!

Andrea said...

I am just about to use this. The timing of this post was PERFECT. I absolutely need it.

Macky said...

wow...that's cool! I will share your post to my friends...thanks!

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