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How Can Tomatoes Squash Your Procrastination?

Tomatoes... the future of ADHD management?

Alright, so that may have been a little dramatic (and a little punny). But stay with me here!

Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato. And the Pomodoro technique is widely used to break task initiation difficulties, squash distractibility, and improve productivity.

Its really only called the "Pomodoro" technique because Francesco Cirillo (the inventor of this time management method) used a timer shaped like a tomato.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

This time-management method started off as a method for college students to study more effectively.

Francesco Cirillo developed this method in the 1980s while a university student to help him get more studying done quickly.

This popular method is now applied to many scenarios to manage time (and tasks) more effectively.

And frankly, it's a dream come true for us ADHD'rs

How does the Pomodoro Technique Help?
  • increases attention span

  • intentionally reduces distractions

  • increases efficiency

  • helps with prioritization

  • start consciously noting how much time tasks take

How do you use the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro technique is broken up into 4 sets of "focus time" broken up by 5-minute breaks. At the end of the 4th set, you take a 15-30 minute break. Then, you start from the top.

Step One: Set your goals

This shouldn't be a hard one for those of us with ADHD. We all have a dooms-list full of everything we "need" to get done. It's almost more of a brain dump rather than a to-do list.

The hardest part of this step would be identifying what is important and needs doing now. For that, we may want to employ the Eisenhower Matrix. Read more about that here.

Once you've identified your goals - prioritize them and write down a rough estimate of how much time each task may take. This one may be harder for neurodivergent folk due to all that pesky time blindness. Do the best you can with this and make a note of how long the task actually takes versus your guestimation. This activity could actually help you manage time blindness as well.

Step Two: Set your timer

Set your timer for 25 minutes and begin the first task on your list. Focus only on this task. Using the forest app or putting your phone on do not disturb could help alleviate technology-related distractions. If you find that your brain constantly sidetracks, keep a pen and paper handy for a quick brain dump, then refocus on the task at hand.

Step Three: Check tasks off of your to-do list!

Once your timer goes off, mark off your Pomodoro (grab your free copy here) and cross your completed task off of your to-do list. If you haven't completed your task yet, that's ok! Jump back into it after your 5-minute break.

Crossing items off of a list can be a really important motivator for those of us with ADHD. Not only does it give a dopamine hit, but it's also a tangible representation of our accomplishments.

Step Four: Repeat step 1 and 2 until you've completed 4 sets of Pomodoros.

Step Five: Take a 15 - 30 minute restorative break.

During your breaks, try to note how your body feels and what it may need. Do you need to stretch, get water, use the bathroom? Your 5-minute breaks and your bigger 30-minute breaks are stress-free times. It can be hard to step away when you are on a roll, but the point of these breaks is to prevent burnout and keep you going in a more sustainable way.

Cater this technique to you

Experiment with times to find what works best for you. It's okay to start off using shorter intervals. Maybe 10 minutes is more realistic. You'd be amazed at what you can do in 10 minutes. Try to increase these intervals over time.

If you have large tasks, breaking them up into smaller steps on your to-do list may help.

Explore timers and apps to find a tracking method that works best for you. If using technology will lead you to distraction. Using a paper version of the Pomorodo Technique (like this one) and a dial timer may be best for you. Or if you find yourself constantly opening your phone, using apps like forest may be helpful.

As with all tools and resources, pinch and pull them until they work for you. I personally run better off of 30-minute intervals, and that is perfectly fine. As long as you keep the purpose in mind (taking breaks and checking in with your body).

Did you try this time management technique? Or maybe you have a better system in place? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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