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the Pomodoro Technique

Ashley Kirkham

Break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks...

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Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro (tomato), after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts. (Link) ©2016

The POMODORO Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo.

Francesco Cirillo

According to author Francesco Cirillo, The Pomodoro Technique isn’t like any other time-management method on the market today. | Photo: | Link | Francesco Cirillo, Tomato, The Pomodoro Technique, Timer, Glasses, Author,

The POMODORO Technique was created by Francesco Cirillo.

Ashley Kirkham



[Comments] In my daytime, I work as a research assistant working in chronic lung disease and physical activity. My supervisor is a well known researcher in Canada and as part of this job, she needs to maintain a vigorous writing schedule so that she can pump out publications highlighting her work. We recently held a 3 day writing retreat for our lab( which consists of 3 masters and 1 PhD student and one post-doc). This writing retreat focused on improving the lab’s writing – mainly on how to get everyone writing regularly. One daily technique my supervisor uses is the POMODORO (POMs) technique and through the introduction to this method I have found that it is a perfect complement to dance practice!

The POMODORO technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and focuses on improving productivity and efficiency through scheduled alternating work / break chunks of time. POMODORO is Italian for tomato and refers to the kitchen timer that he used when he was in university.

The technique goes like this:

1. Choose your task (drilling, creating choreography, rehearsing, writing storyline, etc)
2. Set the timer (This is usually 25 minutes but this can be decided by you)
3. Stay focused on the task at hand until your timer rings.
4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
5. Take a 4 - 5 minute break - check emails, get water etc. Nothing dance related. Give your brain and body a break.
6. Then resume next Pomodoro and repeat 3 – 4x more.
7. When you get to 5+ checkmarks, then take a 15 – 30 minute break before going back to Step 1.

Going into the studio for an unspecified amount of time can be daunting and scary, and requires essentially clearing your schedule. When I go into my home studio, I am usually slightly distracted by all the things I need to do before I rehearse. I see that the floor needs to be swept, stuff needs to be put away, text messages to be answered, dishes to be loaded into the dishwasher. How the POMODORO has helped me is by knowing that I have 25 minutes of focused time, followed by 5 minutes of break time I can really focus on the task at hand. In those 5 minutes of break time, I can start to work on the things that distracted me from the beginning of my practice. Sweeping my studio floor takes less than 5 minutes and clears that my list of things to do. I can load the entire dishwasher AND have a water break before going into the next phase. I can plan out my POMs in advance (first POM is practicing a technique such as shimmy drills, second POM is working on combos, third POMs is then working on a selection of choreo) and this has really helped me 1) stay consistent with the weekly balance of training AND choreographing 2) helps get my brain and body ready for dancing as I progress through each activity step by step. Starting with a shimmy drill helps me be in my body, pay attention to how I am feeling and working on technique. Then as I progress through each POM to finally the part of choreographing / rehearsing, I feel totally in the zone.

Evon Wang

Chinese bellydancer, Evon Wang, warming up before practice. Evon practices eight hours per day, in 25 minute intervals, five days per week. She stresses warming up as the most important part of her workout. | Evon Wang, China, Bellydance, Belly, Dance, Middle Eastern, Arabia, Arabic, Eyes, Tribal, Stomach, Backbend,

You can tailor your POMs to reflect how much time you have. If you have an hour, choose shorter POMs to accomplish more or stick with 2 - 25 minute POMs to really hone in on your practice.

You can learn more about the POMODORO Technique here and purchase your own Pomodoro Timer. Happy practicing!

Ashley Kirkham

Ashley Kirkham, Contributor: I am a professional Oriental Dancer based in Vancouver, Canada. I have been studying extensively in both Folkloric and Oriental Dance since 1995. My many accomplishments regularly take me to Cairo, New York, and Toronto focusing on studying with today's world's finest instructors including Randa Kamel (Cairo), Tito Seif (Cairo), Mohamed Shahin (Cairo / USA), Osama Emam (Cairo), Dr. Gamal Seif (Germany), Amanda Rose (USA / Spain), Mahmoud Reda (Cairo), and Jillina (USA). I most recently... (more...)