What does pasta sauce have to do with time management?
Not much, as it turns out. Francesco Cirillo, who developed the technique, literally named it after his tomato-shaped kitchen timer.
It's a time management/productivity technique that works quite well for me.
The general idea is that you set a timer and work solidly for 25 minutes. When the alarm goes off you set a timer for 5 minutes and take a break. Then repeat. Apps exist specifically for this concept, I don't use them.
It's super easy, although a bit fiddly to reset on your phone timer over and over. Today I used the website tomato-timer.com.
It works really well for me because 25 minutes is not too long, I can make myself focus for that long, and even if I get bored usually there are only a few minutes left, so I can make myself refocus for just a few more minutes. Then I get a break, sometimes I take 10 instead of 5, and then I can work again. Sometimes I switch to something new, sometimes I keep going on the same thing. Sometimes I get so into something that I just keep working even after the timer has gone off.
25 minutes is a reasonable amount of time even when I’m having a rough mental health day. Managing to complete 25 minutes in a row of productive work also gives me a bit of a mood boost on bad days. It helps me feel a little less useless and pathetic.
Also, being sedentary for hours on end is really unhealthy, and every 25 minutes is a great time to get up and move around for a few seconds.