Getting It Over With, 25 Minutes at a Time

Procrastination is a vicious cycle of suffering long-term consequences by seeking short-term rewards. The thought of doing a task that we don’t want to do triggers the area of the brain that recognizes pain. To relieve that “pain,” the brain diverts attention to something more interesting. Once you’ve fallen into the procrastination rut, it can be hard to crawl out of it. But like most any other bad habit, there are techniques to working through breaking the cycle. Perhaps the most famous technique for procrastination specifically is the Pomodoro Technique.

Although the name Pomodoro, Italian for “tomato,” seems irrelevant to its purpose, its backstory shines a light on this unusual mascot. In the 1980’s, Francesco Cirillo developed a technique for time management using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. The technique is fairly simple. After choosing a task to work on…

Step 1: Set a 25-minute timer

Step 2: Focus on your task for the full 25 minutes, with no distractions

Step 3: Take a short break (5-10 minutes)

Repeat these steps until you’ve completed three 25-minute Pomodor “sets,” and reward yourself with a longer break!

Separating your day of work into 25-minute intervals can make an otherwise daunting task seem more manageable. The technique is relatively simplistic, and doesn’t require much in the way of materials or preparation. A timer can be set on a computer or phone… or a kitchen timer! But a fun tool that we found can make the experience even more organized, and even individualized:

(beep beep beep) Time for a break!