Pomodoros: those cute lil’ tomato symbols

“One Pomodoro of 25 minutes”, I think to myself, “all I need to do is sit down and press various buttons on a keyboard for that length of time. It matters not if the content that comes out is of extremely questionable quality and of zero value to humanity. In fact, the post will almost definitely be lame as hell – and that is totally fine”.

The real-time output of this effort is the words you are reading right now. Yes, this entire exercise is as meta as f**k.

However, the significance to be mined from the depths of this overwrought experiment is that instead of procrastinating forever and ever, I am actually typing vaguely comprehensible words that actual humans can decipher. Yay, go me!

This is the value of the Pomodoro technique. It takes the pressure off the result of your effort and puts it squarely where it should be – on the very act of focusing your attention and mental effort on something.

For people like me who tend to overthink and feel that only the very best and original is worthy of being put out into the world – this can be a godsend.

So what the hell is the Pomodoro technique, what is a Pomodoro and what does it have to do with these cute ‘lil tomato symbols?

The Pomodoro technique 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 plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.

– Wikipedia

So yeah, I think that explains it pretty well. There is a little more to it, but that is the essence.

I have started using Pomodoros for any activity which I find intimidating to start, any activity which is easier to put off for another day because it seems just too damn hard.

Creating and doing anything unknown and new is scary, horrifying and intimidating but pressing-an-illustrated-picture-of-a-tomato-with-the-intention-that-you’ll-just-focus-on-that-thing-until-a-ding-sound-is-audible..well what’s your excuse now? You have none, so just do it okay?

So how does one go about Pomodoro-ing? Unsurprisingly, you don’t need any special tools, you can just set a normal timer for 25 minutes and go for it.

However, there are some nifty tools you can use which makes the process feel a bit more special, hallowed and sanctified. I started off with using a free Chrome Browser Extension simple called Pomodoro. This gives you a little tomato symbol in your browser bar which counts down and dings when you are done.

Being a sucker for more convoluted quantified self and productivity tools I soon moved on to a platform called Complice.

Complice is all about setting up bigger goals and making consistent small efforts towards achieving them – day by day. I will refrain from going into the nitty-gritty of how the Complice method works. However, let us just say lining up little tomato icons against the various tasks you have worked on that day is weirdly satisfying and motivating.


Exhibit A: My Complice Intention for today with aforementioned tidily lined up tomato icons

I must now conclude this post with the obligatory declaration that my Pomodoro is about to end and as such it is time for a break before moving on to the next task.

Unfortunately, that would be a HUGE LIE considering that original Pomodoro ended days ago.

This is now an entirely different day and an entirely new Pomodoro. Real life isn’t that neat and tidy okay?

However, I did eventually finish this post so that’s good enough for me.