12 Pomodoros


Pomodoros in Rome

One thing that has really helped me reduce anxiety in the face of a mountain of seemingly insurmountable tasks is timeboxing, also known as “the pomodoro technique”.

A “pomodoro” is a 25 minute block of uninterrupted work time followed by a 5 minute break. During that 25 minute block I’m not allowed to do anything else other than that task. I apply the pomodoro/timeboxing to all activities — including time for emailing/correspondences, time for mundane things (showerodoro?), time for fun stuff (nanoblockodoro? arduinodoro?), time for food (lunchodoro? foododoro?)…

I know you’re thinking this is bonkers… but it works.

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I draw up a grid visualizing my day as a series of 30 minute boxes into which I can drop in my tasks for the day and my fun stuff for the day. The goal is first to break a difficult, complex task into small, manageable pomodoros, whilst never losing track of the bigger goals at stake. Next, I draw up a grid visualizing my day and available time as a series of 30 minutes and allocate pomodoros to these slots.

I can tell you it sure feels better staring into the YAWNING CHASM OF PANIC!!!

Some things I’ve learnt in the process of the last few weeks is:

  • Most of my writing-related pomodoros will take more time than I planned.
  • Most of my design-related pomodoros will take less time than I planned.
  • I find writing to be more meaningful work, but I dislike how I cannot multitask on anything else while doing writing work.
  • I find design work enjoyable because I can multitask and think about the things I’m going to write whilst doing design work.
  • Replying to email and correspondences needs actual pomodoros allocated for it in the day if I am to get any of it done. On most days, I will end up doing at least 2 pomodoros of emailing/correspondences.
  • Under pressure, I can actually design and lay out an entire 224 page book within 12 pomodoros.

And so folks, brought to you by the power of fastidiously squeezed pomodoros….




More information on the book here


More Tomatoes in Rome

I wish to add that I was very excited to visit Italy earlier this year to see REAL POMODOROS. I love pomodoros, but I actually absolutely hated tomatoes as a child. I have always been particularly intolerant of strangely textured foods, bitter tastes, or sour food. Tomato fell on the wrong side of unfamiliar and was usually sour so I would reject ALL foods with tomatoes or tomato sauce. I think I once even wrote a poem about HOW MUCH I HATED TOMATOES and stuck it on the fridge. To me that was the ultimate insult I could dish out to the tomato! In my mind I wanted to be a strange and cruel vegetable vigilante who would go into people’s houses and take their tomatoes out of their cupboards with my hand and smash them on the floor one by one because I hated them!! The only way you could get me to eat tomatoes would be if it was wearing a disguise! I guess my childhood experience of the tomato had been marred by substandard produce….

HOWEVER – these italian pomodoros are nothing but a thing of beauty! The smell of the vine is sweet and fragrant. It requires no persuasion, for pomodoros in italy are always a joy to eat! Sweet and juicy, after you eat these beautiful pomodoros, you will weep when confronted with the flat, dull, yellowish and tasteless tomatoes from the rest of the world… particularly the imported stuff we commonly get in Singapore…