I’ve been dragging, work and responsibility-wise, for the past couple of weeks. I’m getting things done, but it is like running in knee-deep jello. (Or like being in one of those jello bubbles in the Katy Perry video which I will never, ever be able to unsee.)

It didn’t feel like a full slide back into depression, but it did feel like it might go that way. I don’t always notice feeling much different, but two things tip me off: it takes twice as long, if I’m lucky, to get through any project, and people keep asking me if I’m ok when I’m assuming I seem fine.

Today, I resolved to snap it all back in place, and broke out my favorite new tool for making that happen. My online pomodoro tracker!

What, you ask, is an online pomodoro tracker? It is a nifty version of the actual timer:

Francesco Cirillo created The Pomodoro Method, which you can read about in stunning detail in his 45-page, free e-book. Fundamentally, the method means using a timer to help you concentrate for short periods of time on completing a task, but Cirillo outlines a far more nuanced approach with a detailed rubric that I do not entirely follow. And, natch, you can get all sorts of Pomodoro Method swag.

I use an online timer, Tomatoi.st, that I can access with a personalized URL so I can see past pomodoros. I have one on my iPhone as well, which I particularly like because it adheres to one of Cirillo’s dictates by making the actual ticking noise, just like the original timer, as the minutes count down. The ticking, he believes, gets into your subconscious and helps you remember to focus on the task at hand. I’ve actually used it in the library, set really low, and it functions in many ways like white noise. Perfect.

I work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. That’s one pomodoro. After four, I take a 15-minute break. It is actually rare that I have something that can’t be wrapped up in four pomodoros.

Why does this help me with weight loss, you may be thinking? Working in pomodoros helps me tackle larger tasks by breaking them into smaller sections. I don’t get overwhelmed by everything I need to do, but instead, am freed up to focus on getting the next step done. See how that might apply to eating and living healthier?

It very specifically helps me, too, because during the 5-minute breaks, I sometimes get up and hula hoop. Five or six hula breaks over the course of the day make sitting in front of my desk much easier. I am so fortunate to work at home!

Tomatoes. There you go. Healthy in real life, healthy as a time management tool.

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