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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