Throwing Tomatoes to Boost Productivity

I have a mountain of tasks on my to-do list. Some of them are so exciting and I can’t wait to get to them while others are, well, BORING and I try to find every excuse NOT to do them. You’re probably nodding your head in agreement and want a magic pill solution to get over procrastination for good.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

As humans procrastinate for a variety of reasons: decision fatigue, trouble planning, the project seems too big and more. There are even blockers from a neuro-cognitive level that could be holding you back. Before you try what I’m going to suggest I encourage you to try to get to the root cause of what’s blocking you. All procrastination isn’t created equal and shouldn’t be attributed to laziness on your part.

For me, the number one source is the scope of a problem - just how big the effort is. I’ll look at some work and get blocked on starting because I’ll be intimidated. Recently, I was on Twitter talking about a task and Bria Sullivan chimed in with a perfectly reasonable solution: use your tomato timer and start.

It worked like a charm.

Since that conversation I’ve been looking at big tasks and saying to myself throw a tomato at it. I’ve been consistently enjoying the freedom from the guilt of not starting things.

But wait, what’s a tomato timer?

This working style is called the Pomodoro Technique. Here’s what it looks like:

25 minutes: uninterrupted, distraction-free focused work

5 minutes: take a break and do whatever GUILT FREE

Repeat

(after a few rounds, you can extend your break to 10 minutes, then back to 5 minute breaks)

You can use this technique to boost your productivity throughout the day but I’ve found it especially helpful to do this when I’m blocked. I’ll throw a tomato at a problem and honestly, I’ve found that I make more progress than I expected. What’s better is that the problem is no longer as intimidating. Sometimes I’ll even do multiple rounds on the problem and just knock it out. Either way, I’m ALWAYS glad that I started. ​ Here’s what I want you to do now - look at your to-do list, find an item you’ve been putting off and throw a tomato at it.

You can thank me by being the best you. ​ Keep up the greatness y’all,

Mark

P.S. Have you seen this?

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