tomato time-management

Some time ago I learned about the Pomodoro Technique.  It’s a simple time-management tool.  You work for 25 minutes on a project, then take a five minute break.  Every four rounds, you take a longer break.

It’s simple, but it seems to work well for me.  A lot of times I can’t seem to get started.  But if I know I only have to work for 25 minutes, I don’t dread starting.  And once I’ve started, I’m good to go.

I recently upgraded my old netbook to a new MacBook Pro.  I was browsing the App Store (sidenote: it took me a while to realize that not all Mac apps are in the App store—a lot are still downloaded from websites), looking for a Pomodoro timer app.  I have a nice one on my iPod Touch, which keeps track of how many Pomodoros I complete each day.  I couldn’t find the equivalent for my Mac, which bummed me out at first.

But then I stumbled upon the Pomodoro app, by Udo Landini.  Things I like about this app:

1. It puts a timer in the toolbar

2. You can change the time for both the Pomodoros (working) and the break.  At first I thought that you could only choose 25, 30, or 35 minute Pomodoros.  But then I realized that you can use your mouse to select the time and type in whatever you want.  Sometimes when I’m working on law assignments, I switch it to 50 minutes.  25 minutes just isn’t enough time to get anything done.

3. **my favorite feature** You can sync the Pomodoro app with iCal.  After you complete a Pomodoro, it appears in iCal.  It’s titled the same as the Pomodoro.  I find it very motivating to look back on a work-day and see how much of the time I was working.

Of course, you can use the Pomodoro technique with a clock.  You don’t need an app.  But if your situation is close to mine, I recommend the Pomodoro app.

What about you?  How do you manage your time and keep yourself motivated?




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Burned Buns

The other day I was making Alan some pizza burgers for lunch.  I tossed the hamburger buns under the broiler for the last minute.  Turns out a minute was too long. (Side note: the digital timer on our oven can’t be set for less than one minute.  It seems like a design flaw to me…)

one burned bun

Rather than toss the burned bun, I got out my cheap grater…

cheese grater

(Pardon the cheese crumbs!)

…and scraped it lightly across the surface of the burned bun, sharp side down.

scrape lightly

A thin layer of burned bits will come off, but the bun will still be toasty.


It also works on burned banana bread.  Sure you could just cut the burned part off, but then you lose all the crust, which is the best part of banana bread.  Also, this method works better than scraping the burned part with a knife.  The sharp grater seems to be the ideal scraping plane.  (I’m a burned food expert, apparently…)

So I hope you’re better than me, and that you won’t have to use this trick!




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I got to school at 7:15 today.  Which means I left home at 6ish.

Early mornings are so peaceful, and I get so much work done.  I think I’ll become a morning person.