The Tomato That Saved My Creative Life

I’ve been spending so much time at the computer these days writing for hours and hours, I had to find a strategy for preventing a sore neck and a dampened creative spirit from so much sitting. A friend told me about “The Pomodoro Technique” which includes working in 25-minute chunks with 5-minute breaks. The technique may have other aspects to it also, but as soon as I heard about this timed working and timed breaks, I decided to try it.

I set a timer for 25 minutes and work uninterrupted. Then I take an enforced 5-minute break where I walk around my office, look out the window, do a few yoga stretches and before I know it, it's time to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes.

What I love about this system is: 25 minutes feels like a very short time so when I set the timer I feel the pressure to not dawdle but to get moving. By the time the timer rings, I’m in the flow and hate to stop but I seem to be able to hold onto that creative energy while I’m stretching and I still have it when I sit down again.

It’s also raised my consciousness about how long things take. When I keep pressing the 25-minute timer over and over again, I realize that something I thought would take 10 minutes really took 2 hours.

The huge benefit is that I’m no longer a physical wreck when I’m done writing. That 10 minutes of moving and stretching for every 60 minutes of writing keeps me limber and pain-free.

Why is this technique called “pomodoro” which means tomato in Italian? Beats me. The website sells a cool tomato-shaped timer which is cute but unnecessary.

I’d love to hear what happens to you when you try this! Or tell me about another technique you use. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that nothing works forever. I seem to require changing things up as I grow and my work grows.