How To Use Tomatoes To Explode Your Efficiency
Here’s a simple idea that will make a massive difference to your effectiveness and efficiency. It sounds weird. I tried it. And – it works! It’s a 60 second read that will save you many hours of time. Give it a go!
I was preparing for a series of speeches I am giving around Australia this month. I’m using my six months ‘gardening leave’ to ‘give back’ to others. Sharing learnings is how best I can do that. I had at least two hours of hard work to do to update a presentation to make it current and extra valuable. I was struggling to get started. The task felt big. Then I remembered Kuba’s weird advice at breakfast two months ago. ”Enjoy tomatoes if you want to turbo your effectiveness,” he’d said. What he meant was this:
Use regular breaks to accelerate your productivity.
Stay with this. It’s good stuff.
Kuba shared the Pomodoro Technique with me – a time management method which uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are known as “pomodori”, the plural of the Italian word pomodoro for “tomato”. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.
There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
- Decide on the task to be done
- Set the pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally 25)
- Work on the task until the timer rings
- Take a short break (3–5 minutes)
- After four pomodori, take a longer break (15–30 minutes)
I gave it a go. I started by using the J.F.D.I. approach…”Just Fricken Do It.” Get started on a task but have the deal with yourself that if after 10 minutes you want to stop, you can. At the same time, I set my timer for 25 minutes, and then got stuck in. Suddenly, the buzzer buzzed. Wow. That was 25 minutes? I took a short break. And then went again. Repeated it four times. And I was done. Felt great. Nailed it.
The next day I had to get started on arranging a detailed schedule for a three day visit to Singapore in a month. It involved making contact with about 20 people, and arranging a range of meetings and events. It felt daunting. So I attacked it with the Pomodoro Technique. I used the first 25 minutes to plan carefully what I wanted to achieve in that three days, and with whom. Then had a short break when the buzzer went. And then spent 25 minutes making contact with all I wanted to meet. Bang. One highly effective hour, including two Pomodoros. Big progress made. Onwards.
What did the Daddy Tomato say to Junior Tomato on the family walk? “Ketchup.” (with thanks to ‘Pulp Fiction.’). So – want to catch up time and get more done, more effectively? Try the Pomodoro Technique. I like it. Thanks, Kuba!