You Say Tomato, I Say Success: The Pomodoro Technique

Wait, what? Tomato? Yep — well, technically, pomodoro, which is the Italian word for “tomato.” As in, the tomato-shaped kitchen timer owned by then-graduate student Francesco Cirillo, who realized that he could study more efficiently (and have better retention) in short, focused bursts.

This was in the 1980s, but the Pomodoro Technique has recently resurfaced, thanks in part to increased awareness of attention-regulation and executive functioning disorders. There are a number of Pomodoro timers on social media, but the beauty of this method is that you don’t need any specific timer — or even a specific time. Find an amount of time during which you can completely concentrate on a task while remaining interested in it. That’s your “pomodoro.”

Alternate pomodoros with short breaks, making sure to let the timer lead you. After a cycle of four pomodoros, take a longer break (ideally one that moves your body). Repeat until your task is complete!

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