I heard about THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE from friends and was eager to try it myself, so I started with Cirillo’s website, and then decided to buy the book. I should have stopped with the website. After struggling through the ebook’s atrocious formatting (which made the book nearly unreadable) I felt like I’d done the one thing Cirillo would not want me to do. I’d wasted my time.
THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE is absurdly simple, but I was willing to go along because sometimes the simple things work the best. It starts with a wind-up kitchen timer. Cirillo’s is shaped like a tomato–pomodoro in his native Italian. The user sets it for 25 minutes and works without interruption for that time. When the timer rings, he takes a short break and then the cycle repeats. At every cycle, the user records how he spent his time. Whatever we focus on and measure, we improve, and the goal is to “take control” of time.
Cirillo came up with the pomodoro technique in college, and it seems as if it would work well for students. When studying, 25-minute blocks with five minute breaks between them is a good way to learn new material. With all the distractions students have, a reminder to stay on task isn’t a bad thing. However, I doubt the method would work for writers. Creative people enjoy their work, and don’t need a kitchen timer to sit for long periods of time. Worse, a loud, ringing interruption every 25 minutes wrecks creative flow.
That said, my problem isn’t really with the method. My problem is with the book. I suppose THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE works as well as any other time management plan. That is, it works great for some, not so great for others. However, it’s ridiculous to pad a pamphlet’s worth of information into a full-length book when the entire method can be summed up in three sentences:
- Work for 25-minute blocks
- Take breaks between them
- Track your time in order to improve
There. I just saved you seven bucks, because the rest of the book is filler. More importantly, I saved you two hours of time, enough for a nice long block of creative work.
THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE can be found here.
rating: 2 stars
This book is best for: beginning writers