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Martin Parr photographs

A painting in 7 Pomodoros
Pomodoro notepad and timer. Any kitchen timer will do.
Pomodoro notepad and timer. Any kitchen timer will do.
An Afternoon at Black Tusk -- acrylic painting 20 x 24 inches by Robert Genn
An Afternoon at Black Tusk
acrylic painting
20 x 24 inches
by Robert Genn


The Pomodoro Technique

October 26, 2012

Dear Artist,

Lately I've become aware that some of my friends are losing their marbles. Their ability to concentrate has gone up the spout. They're so overwhelmed with distractions and daily impedimenta that I hardly recognize them anymore. Too busy to paint, they are harnessed to a downward creative spiral. I was even losing a few marbles myself--so I deflected my problems by spying on their studio habits.

You could blame telephones, computers, smart-meters, cell-phone towers, and technology in general for our lack of focus, but that's not the whole problem. A chronic lack of "intention" is ravaging studios. And, you guessed it, there's a remarkably simple, low-tech solution.

A 'pomodoro' kitchen timer
A 'pomodoro' kitchen timer
Just as people learn to spell words and add numbers, folks can learn how to gain intention. It takes a bit of character and a Pomodoro. A Pomodoro is one of those red kitchen timers that looks like a tomato. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. You can buy them on Amazon for $7.99. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The timer is set for 25 minutes and then you focus and go to work on your predetermined job. At the end of the time period, the alarm goes off and you take a five minute break. Then you start on your next Pomodoro. If your Pomodoro gets interrupted by a phone call or a request to go down and drain the lake, you'll have to stop and restart your Pomodoro later.

To rise and become a "Certified Pomodoro Master" you need to determine how many 25-minute segments you're going to need to do a particular project--say a 20" x 24" painting. You need a notepad and pen to list and keep track of your staged Pomodoros. Give yourself a check mark at the completion of each.

To get an idea how this concept works for me, we've put my notepad and a Pomodoro painting at the top of the current clickback.

If you think all of this is nonsense, you're not alone, but I suggest you try a Pomodoro just once. For those who regularly lose focus, fail to finish or fail to start, you might be pleasantly surprised. You may find that your Pomodoro-days produce better work, build your character and, if you think you've been losing a few, win back some marbles.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Pomodoro is a simple yet effective way to improve your work." (Francesco Cirillo)

Esoterica: When you're in full intention mode, certain tasks can be effectively accomplished in a surprisingly short time--for example, laying in a basic composition. When Pomodoro's ticking, the overall picture is better planned in holistic smartness than in un-ticked timelessness. When I was first painting with Pomodoro, I tried shorter and longer timings--but I think Cirillo got it just about right. Twenty-five minutes often leaves time at the end to sit back, contemplate, and eat a tomato. "Tempus fugit" (Virgil 70BC) "Time flies." "Mensura tempus" (Kjerkius Gennius 36BC) "Measure time."





Hard to be focused today
by Judy Lalingo, Jarrettsville, MD, USA


You're onto something here! Society has become crazily distracted, myself included. I'm doing my darndest Troika<br>original painting by Judy Lalingo Troika
original painting
to keep on track and accomplish what I set out to do, but the world is just spinning too fast! Ok, small bits of tomato time to keep focused. I blame all the technological trappings of trying to keep organized, of marketing work, of getting older, but it all comes down to what Timothy Leary said: "My advice to people today is as follows: if you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out."



There is 1 comment for Hard to be focused today by Judy Lalingo

From: Anna H. -- Oct 30, 2012

I agree! And I absolutely love your painting!


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Domestic chaos reigns
by Richard Gagnon, Knowlton, QC, Canada


This would apply to just about any task or job. I have turned off email notifications as they come in Gaz Metropolitan<br>original illustration by Richard Gagnon Gaz Metropolitan
original illustration
and get to them once an hour. As for telephones there is the answering machine. Don't even set it so that it announces who is calling or allow you to hear their voice and turn call display away so you are not tempted. My stepson unplugs the phone when he doesn't want to be interrupted. Anyway, I have to stop as the five dogs just came in from their walk and Emma wants to know what time she can go shopping this afternoon. Now the children have arrived with the grandson and a guest. We will be babysitting their dog while they go shopping. So much for the pomodoro. Even pomodoros have their limits.



There are 2 comments for Domestic chaos reigns by Richard Gagnon

From: Peter Trent, AKA Ancient Aviator -- Oct 30, 2012

Ah, yes, I know it well !

From: Carol Reynolds -- Oct 30, 2012

Beautiful painting and with a message. Thanks for sharing.


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Pomodoro even more useful nowadays
by Sarah Burns, Edmonton, AB, Canada


This Pomodoro method is a spin on my "manageable parts" system. In fact, I used the Pomodoro method to work my way through my graduate studies in the mid '70s. I not only had to read the course material from the courses I was taking but also read the material from the courses I missed in the previous semester… it was tough sledding, but with the kitchen timer set to ring every half hour I managed to do what needed to get done. I didn't have a cell phone, TV or computer back then; I am sure this method is even more helpful now! Thanks for reminding me of one of my most challenging academic adventures. Now if I could only find a way of using this to break down the painting I want to do.



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Music as timer
by Katie Hoffman, Denver, CO, USA


Lately I have the attention span of a gnat and find I need to use a timer to accomplish much of Destroying Angel<br>oil painting by Katie Hoffman Destroying Angel
oil painting
anything. But in the studio, the ticking is clinical and distracting to me, so I've taken to using music as a timer. While my favorite 25 minute long songs- Sufjan Stevens' "Impossible Soul" and Komar & Melamid's "Most Unwanted Song" wouldn't be to most people's tastes; there are plenty of lengthy classical and jazz tracks. I had been using 15 minutes on/fifteen minute break, but after reading your letter gave the 25/5 a try and finished a painting.



There is 1 comment for Music as timer by Katie Hoffman

From: Anna H. -- Oct 30, 2012

I think your idea is wonderful! There are many ways to mark the passing of time...


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The 'piggy' system
by Kimberly Santini, Lake Orion, MI, USA


It used to be that I got completely absorbed by my process, falling so deeply into a creative black <br>Kimberly's pig timer. by Kimberly Santini
Kimberly's pig timer.
hole that I would lose track of time altogether. My studio's in my home and it is far too easy for me to duck in here to fix one niggling thing on a painting and be lost for hours. Dinners charred to a crisp, kids were forgotten at soccer practice, appointments missed altogether until I started setting a timer as a reminder.

For years I have used a variation of the Pomodoro Technique, although mine is pinker with cute little ears and came from the dollar store. It took me a couple auditions to find one loud enough to break my reverie and obnoxious enough that a child wouldn't abduct it for some project of their own. Now my piggy helps me to allocate my time on other things too, especially with tasks like email and Facebook.

It's a fantastic method, but it does require an understanding of how to prioritize - there's no substitute for recognizing and organizing projects, then allocating windows of time to get things done.



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Silent at work, noisy when teaching
by Julie Douglas, Belfast, Ireland


I am a painter, of the traditional school of observation, and am at my most intense and silent when Chickens<br>original painting by Julie Douglas Chickens
original painting
painting, and at my most vibrant and passionate when I am teaching. I have taught for 20 years and the most fascinating thing is seeing how folks learn - and how much they need to draw, to make those connections with paper etc. Even though they don't realize that's what they need.

Recently I had to do a Pecha Kucha talk (not for the feint hearted) and in that self-examining required to pare down information, I realized that I'm not a drawing and painting teacher, but in fact, I teach Observation, through drawing and painting.

(RG note) Thanks, Julie. Pecha Kucha is an information presentation system where twenty slides are shown for 20 seconds each, often rigidly adhering to the time frame so a maximum concentration can be achieved in six minutes and 40 seconds.



There is 1 comment for Silent at work, noisy when teaching by Julie Douglas

From: Bill Hibberd -- Oct 30, 2012

Julie, I am teaching a two day workshop (my first) next month. The subject is learning to draw and paint from life and not from photographs. Wnen asked to teach by a local art council I considered what the most common weakness among fellow artists seems to be. Working from photos is a pervasive and dibilitating crutch in these parts. As you describe in your letter it really is about learning to see. Could I impose on your generosity and ask you for one or two great workshop excercises that you have found benifitial at your workshops on this subject? I would love to hear someone elses ideas, especially someone with your experience.


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The busy life
by Grace Karczewski, Livonia, MI, USA


I have to be in the mood to paint and make sure everything is done such as work around the house European courtyard<br>watercolour painting by Grace Karczewski European courtyard
watercolour painting
and my job. There seems to be a problem with selling paintings or subject to paint. "I have seen that painting before." Does anyone want or need to buy a painting? Because our economy is just starting to recuperate and none can afford it. Framing is costly unless you're selling unframed. There are many artists out there whose paintings are very juvenile, and as a professional I see that they have not completed their paintings. They need to get another opinion, look, look and look again - the painting will tell you what it needs by looking at it, even when you think you have completed it.

Most of the students in undergrad school just take art classes as an elective. People are paying good money for college these days and need a job after graduating, but I still think even if you have no talent in art, the endorphins received in completing an art project is the best stress reliever.

Our city has placed professional artists' paintings around our town businesses, banks, credit unions, YMCA, etc. and we keep changing them for the seasons every 90 days. We all get rave reviews but no one buys. Many of our galleries have shut down and the ones that are open are not taking any more artwork.

I am an Arts Commissioner for the City of Livonia and curator for the main library gallery. I have different artists monthly and some of the artists have receptions and sell their work. We do have a waiting list to get in the gallery which holds about 100 paintings.



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Punching the clock
by Susan Lenz, Columbia, SC, USA


Several years ago, new to the world of artistic practice, I found myself constantly complaining, very Voter<br>mixed media by Susan Lenz Voter
mixed media
depressed, and whiny. I wanted to be a "full time artist." I wanted respect. I wanted a lot of things. Then I had an epiphany moment.

Time cards!

In any other profession, "full time" is easy to distinguish. It means putting in approximately 40 hours a week, period. It has nothing to do with the money earned. After all, garbage men and neurosurgeons might put in the same number of hours but their pay isn't the same. Full time is full TIME. It has to do with the hours of work not the financial reward.

At first it was difficult to achieve full time hours. I'd get to the weekend and only have logged ten hours the previous five weekdays... impossible. After awhile, I found myself sneaking in a half hour of work here and twenty minutes there ... working toward my full time goal. Eventually, full time work became habit, an emotional and mental commitment that seemed as needed as air.

It's been years now. I don't need the time cards anymore. I'm a full time artist with a part time job to pay the bills. People, especially other artists, often ask, "Do you ever sleep?" I smile and say, "Of course!" Secretly, I know how I differ from them. I put in forty hours a week! Naturally, I have something to show for it!



There is 1 comment for Punching the clock by Susan Lenz

From: Mariane -- Oct 29, 2012

Good for you, compliments! it is like Steven Pressfield is calling "going pro"... I am curious what you mean with "time cards" though, can you say more? thanks, and keep up the good work!


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 Michael Chesley Johnson workshops Across Two Countries (Canada and USA).  <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>The Workshop Calendar</a> provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>here</a>.
Michael Chesley Johnson workshops
Across Two Countries (Canada and USA).

The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look here.



World of Art Featured artist Gayle Gerson, CO, USA



You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Susan Greer of CA, USA, who wrote, "Don't forget the Pomodoro iPhone app. I use it regularly and find it an effective time management tool, just as you mentioned. You can even opt for it to tick like the real thing."

And also John Siberell who wrote, "Just in time - you read my mind. Nothing seems to be getting done here! I will give it a try."


If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this material please feel free to forward it. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by reading our Welcome Letter.



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The Pomodoro Technique...

From: Blandy Pascal -- Oct 25, 2012

My Timer is on the stove so I'm moving my stuff into the kitchen.

From: Bob Abrahams -- Oct 25, 2012

I have been using a task list for years with reasonable success. I will now get a Pomodoro. Hope it will work in the southern hemisphere.

Abrahamsart.com

From: Faith -- Oct 25, 2012

And I thought it was old age creeping on. You'll have to keep your Pomodoro in low gear if that's the problem, Bob.
But you could also take up the Broccoli system - that's a system where you break up a tree of Broccoli then count how many little trees it has and divide your day's tasks according to how many you've counted. That has an additional benefit - broccoli has high blood-building value. Vampires through the ages have come to cherish this feature.
Recently I've noticed that my mornings are getting shorter, so I'm getting up earlier to make up for the time loss.

From: Marlin Standford -- Oct 25, 2012

Sounds like a plan - for those of us who are rather impatient with new ideas and/or interested in trying them out there is a virtual Pomodoro at http://www.online-stopwatch.com/pomodoro-timer/

From: ReneW -- Oct 26, 2012

Great idea! I frequently lose track of time while immersed in a project. I guess that is a right brain issue. The timer brings me back into a left brain mode. I like that pleasant break.

From: Tom Henderson Smith -- Oct 26, 2012

This sounds all very efficient. Personally I like to savour the process of painting though and there's even a sense in which the picture paints me as well as me painting it, in other words the process and it's accompanying discoveries change me in some way and that can't be rushed or it may be lost.

From: Laura K Aiken -- Oct 26, 2012

Enjoyed the article Robert. Thanks!

From: Tessa -- Oct 26, 2012

It would be very useful to use while surfing the internet, that greedy gobbler of time.

From: Fred Piercy, Cambridge, UK -- Oct 26, 2012

The important thing we artists need to ask ourselves is: "Is it really necessary to drain the lake?"

From: Elise Nicely -- Oct 26, 2012

I taught elementary school for 33 years and used this method to keep myself on task. Otherwise we would do reading all day and never get to the other subjects, much less recess. So I know that it works, but I never thought of using it in my studio! I do have a time log to record when I start working and when I end. I keep track of the hours a week that I work in my studio. The Pomodoro method would allow me to better record what I actually do. I am going to try it and see if I can be more focused and productive.
-

From: Marvin Humphrey -- Oct 26, 2012

I've had a standard-looking timer in my studio for a couple years...usually setting it at 45-55 minutes. From now on, I'll set it at 25; probably get more "quality" time in (and more breaks!). I think I'll order a pomodoro, then do a little 25-minute painting of it as it's ticking away.

From: Jackie Knott -- Oct 26, 2012

I haven't tried timing work sessions because when I "break" I get distracted with another task. Some of us need timers for the breaks to remind us to get back to the work at hand. I much prefer marathon sessions, although arthritis has altered that somewhat. With an hourly wage job you normally have fifteen minute morning and afternoon breaks with a lunch hour ... eight hours. I try to tie myself to the computer or easel. After all, this is work.

From: Maggie Ripperger -- Oct 26, 2012

I have a Pomodoro! It's in my studio! I have had it for years! Guess I'd better dust it off and get busy!

From: BJ Adams -- Oct 26, 2012

All could think of when I read the title to today's letter was the colored pencil drawing I had to create one day when planning dinner. Papa Pomodoro is a simple dish that we enjoy.

Reading on, I caught the gist of the idea behind the timer. A back doctor had told me the same thing, to use a timer to keep from staying in the same position for too long a time. So my (non) pomodoro timer is set to change positions when I am in the computer rut, or any other lengthy pose, whether at my art work or unnecessary trivia.

From: Sharon Jacobs -- Oct 26, 2012

This sounds like a good technique to start painting in the studio. It might be just what I need to get going. I certainly need something since I haven't been painting. I keep thinking I need big chunks of time but maybe if I started out with a smaller limited time. When I was doing my daily journal paintings I would do them every morning after I ate breakfast. I haven't done those for months, I got distracted by other things

From: Nan Zimdars -- Oct 26, 2012

There is also a pomodoro app for iPhones. I have used it for other task but not thought of it for painting.

From: Linda Blondheim -- Oct 26, 2012

I often suggest the kitchen timer method to beginning painters. Frankly, for us painters who make a living from our art, the best method are the bills next to our desks. We don't really need motivation to paint. We have to eat!!

From: Elle Fagan -- Oct 26, 2012

I went on strike because I realized that the new group I was with was playing with me and not nicely, and that slowed the rest of it for some days. Today back at it, I was mostly resentful that that setback was making the work at the easel too much like work - more than it should be. But generally speaking, I'm already doing new things and getting back in stride with easel and writings is the KEY.

I will buy the pomodoro and I must buy the FitBit pedometer/cardio tracker as well. I did this once some years ago - set a timer for it all and it works like magic.

From: Linda Berg -- Oct 26, 2012

"Lately I've become aware that............." I have been losing my marbles.

I recently relocated from the Central Coast of BC, Denny Island to be precise, to the Fraser Valley, Pitt Meadows. Some days I really think I left most of my brain cells on that tiny island.

The sensory stimulation here is incredible, and I am having a terrible time concentrating on my life's purpose, ART. I suppose, it is understandable, I spent 24 years in quiet solitude with Nature and Mother Earth, and now I have tossed myself into the high tech world of this Metropolis.

From: Rick Rotante -- Oct 26, 2012

Forgive me for saying this but this "pomodoro" seems to be just one more distraction. I get the feeling I would be so concentrated on the timer, I would never get anything done waiting for it to go off. This seems too rigid and a would become a bigger intrusion on my time. Besides we all talk about how time seems to fly by when we are in the zone. Hours pass when working intently. I would not want a timepiece ticking dictating to me how long I should be working. The idea of a pomodoro or any time piece in the studio is distracting. I don't allow phones or clocks in my studio.
Intention or resolve or determination comes from having a purpose or being motivated when you enter your studio. Having something meaningful to work on. One important thing is if you have other responsibilities calling you away from painting, handle them and get them out of the way. I can't paint knowing I have left something else I needed to do undone.

From: Marj Vetter -- Oct 26, 2012

HA, I make a wicked pomodoro sauce for spaghetti, after eating it in an Italian restaurant, I figured out the recipe and make it as a comfort food, I’m sure your pomodoro will work very well, it’s the name that does it....

From: Barbara Callow -- Oct 26, 2012

I love the timer idea but I set goal every day, such as, "I will sort out and plan two new paintings today", "I will sketch the painting onto the canvas an do an under-painting before I stop" or "I will cover the canvas with paint today" etc. I almost always do more than the goal. It also helps to have more than one project in the works even if one is only in the staring stage. Momentum is not lost this way."

From: Theresa A Henderson -- Oct 26, 2012

This works. I used to challenge myself on how much kitchen work I could get done in the commercial breaks when my husband and I were snuggling. Then I got a timer and started doing this for everything else. Having children makes this harder to do unless you get them into the whole spirit of "beat the clock".

From: Tracy Jager -- Oct 26, 2012

I learned about Pomodoros a few weeks ago, and have been using the timer for a big project I'm working on - it's great!

From: Kevin Mulligan -- Oct 27, 2012

I use a similar technique, except I use the timer on my iPod. I set it for one hour and when the hour is up, the painting is finished. I find it an amazing way to focus exclusively on what you are painting. It helps to have a clear focus on what the finished painting will look like. The timer helps cut through all the clutter and extra detail I sometimes want to add to my painting.

From: Leslie Tejada -- Oct 28, 2012

What about turning off all those devices? Hello?

From: Donita Vaden -- Oct 28, 2012

The timer works! When I procrastinate about doing things I really don't want to do...I can time myself for 30 mins (who can't give just 30 min?)...it amazing what can be done in 30 min! It takes me 3 min to take the dishes out of the dishwasher...just three...time for my coffee to press....then dishwasher clean!

From: Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli -- Oct 28, 2012

I was first wondering how a tomato might fit in. I had a different solution to loosing my marbles. I decided to find them, so I began a painting series called "Found my Marbles". I think this has much to do with being in my mid 50s!

From: Jaana Woiceshyn -- Oct 28, 2012

I have successfully used the Pomodoro technique (albeit with my iPhone stopwatch) for quite some time now for almost anything I need to get done: reading, writing, other projects. Painting, however, always calls me enough that the Pomodoro has not been needed yet, but that day will probably come when I can paint full time.

From: Jo Bain -- Oct 28, 2012

I'm ready for a couple of "Pomodoros", to unplug the phone and TV, toss the computer, and quit cooking......if only someone would organize my studio!

From: Patrice Federspiel -- Oct 28, 2012

I have long used this "Pomodoro Technique" without knowing it had such a fancy title or pedigree. It comes in handy when faced with certain "left-brained tasks" that aren't my favorites: decluttering and bookkeeping are two prime examples. Thank you for reinforcing this honorable work force technique.

From: Jurgen Ludwig -- Oct 28, 2012

This system will work for pros like yourself but not for me. I simply paint for pleasure and even though I sell my stuff, I place no time limit on a piece nor do I place the term "production" on it.
Having spent all my working life watching the clock, that pressure is off!

From: Norah Bolton -- Oct 28, 2012

I set a timer and spent the first 25 minutes just looking at the subject, saw a lot.

From: Elihu -- Oct 28, 2012

Now that we have a clinical term for it, there is an epidemic of ADD and ADHD. Whether one is a daydreamer or hyperactive it is difficult to get focused on a given task. Once recognized, however, there are strategies for dealing with this problem. Nevertheless, it impacts one’s productivity.

From: Carolynn Wagler -- Oct 28, 2012

Loved your painting from this post. I noticed something and wonder about it. In my reading about art it talks about hard AND soft edges. Is hard edges your preferred style? Am I missing something? Maybe I have too many soft edges.

From: Louise Swan -- Oct 28, 2012

I have a horse in my living room. It's okay because it doesn't need feeding and subsequently doesn't need to go outdoors. It's a life-size, fiberglass horse that I have been chosen to paint as a fund raiser for the Langley Arts Council. There are about 5 of us in this neck of the woods chosen to do likewise; some lucky enough to have a studio to coral their horse till finished painting.

As you can imagine, this horse is a very big canvas, awkward to paint and gobbling up pigment like crazy. I needed to break away now and again to rest my creative soul (to regain my sanity, or pay a bill) so I was setting my kitchen timer to remind me to put down my brush. I like your term for the same however as it sounds like I know what I'm doing--or at least sounds like a good Italian shoe.

From: Ann Burgund -- Oct 28, 2012

Just last August I finished a series called Sanctuary. They all sold immediately. In person they are luminous and magical. Since then, very little production due to this syndrome. And I know The Pomodoro Technique from the Eastern practice of kaizen. Very similar idea.

From: Loretta West -- Oct 28, 2012

Interesting idea, I will give it a try. Does the twenty five minutes it took me to read your letter and click-backs, count? If it does, then it’s time for my five minute nap.

From: John L Brown -- Oct 28, 2012

The Pomodoro Technique sounds like a good idea, though I would suggest using it as a temporary aid for engendering sustained concentration. No doubt this suggestion is offered for individuals that need, or could benefit from the technique. Many artists have already achieved, not only the ability to sustain full concentration, but also the ability to monitor their level of fatigue, or lapses of concentration. I think it is reasonable to develop our innate capacity to monitor the content of the mind with respect to creative endeavors. Certainly, great works of art were achieved without such aids. I am merely suggesting that the Pomodoro Technique can be a useful aid to achieving the ability to sustain concentration, but perhaps should be coupled with the goal of working with, or acknowledging the innate ability of the mind to know when ones efforts need to be suspended for a period of time. I offer this opinion for your consideration. Thank you for allowing me to participate.

From: dorothy lorenze | painting -- Oct 29, 2012

I love this idea! For some it may sound too "mechanical" and counter to artistic temperment but I think it's a great tool. Open-ended time is often unproductive. This system allows for mini-goals throughout the day and a way to track how you are meeting those goals.

From: Norman Ridenour -- Oct 29, 2012

I have the opposite problem. I get so involved I forget ‘real life.’ I had to buy an alarm clock to set so that I would not miss teaching appointments. Missing classes made students angry and reduced income, neither of which were desirable.

From: Heather Talbot -- Oct 29, 2012

Hey Robert - I think you are great - and so is the Pomodoro Technique! Ive started already!!!

From: Anneke van der Werff -- Oct 29, 2012

Thanks! I have a egg-shaped kitchen timer, I think that will do.
I think it's worth giving it a try. Thank you for your encouraging letters. I enjoy them very much. Holland

From: Nils Martin Hansen -- Oct 29, 2012

Thank you. I got one right away on Friday and I've been pomodoroing myself relentlessly and it definitely works wonders.

From: Theresa Bayer -- Oct 29, 2012

I tried using a timer today in my studio and I love it. Thanks so much for writing about this. I think it's a great method. This was one of your very best letters (which are all good).

From: Theresa Bayer -- Oct 29, 2012

p.s. the reason why I love this technique is because it's hard for me to make myself STOP painting and take breaks. And breaks, as it turns out, are every bit as important as the ability to focus. Just wanted to make that point.

From: Jane Angell -- Oct 30, 2012

For those of us who also have to work at a computer (writing, editing, researching) and find email a temptation (or reading the Clickbacks to Robert's letters), I use an online version of the pomodoro technique, http://mytomatoes.com/ This means I can do 25 minutes of work at the keyboard, and in the 5 minute break check emails, make tea etc. You can extend the break time as necessary. My drawing is at the moment my downtime activity, but I am pleased to have been prompted to think about my pomodoro usage as applicable to that too. (And off topic, it's also great for housework - I set the timer for say 15 minutes and the children agree to tidy for that time and that time only, not trying to beat it, just getting on with it.) Happy tomatoing to those of you who find it helpful.

From: Renee Hoag -- Oct 30, 2012

This is a very good and true article. As I set my timer this morning it reminded me of a person who does her housework in 15 minute increments as to not get overwhelmed. Repetition is good! Thank you so much for your insights. Renee Hoag

From: Kit Miracle -- Oct 30, 2012

I have used this method for years, both at my full time job and in my studio. There are several trainers who recommend it. I find it most useful for those unpleasant tasks, like cleaning out the studio, the desk, etc. Unless I'm doing a timed painting, I often enjoy getting in the flow and totally losing track of the time. It works both ways. Always enjoy your thoughts, Robert.

From: Elisabeth Mills -- Oct 30, 2012

What a great idea! I really need this kind of discipline. My timer is an unprepossessing digital number from Ikea - not nearly as cute as a pomodoro - but if I don't look at it I guess it will work just as well! Yay hay - off to try it. Thanks

From: Phil -- Oct 30, 2012

I tried this at work today. It was very refreshing and motivated me as the Pomodoro Technique website indicated it would.
I bought the iPhone app too. It is called "Focus Time".
Not necessary, but I like gimmacks (except in my art).
I will use it now in my early morning weekday painting sessions before work. Thanks!

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki -- Oct 30, 2012

You know Robert, I think that some major religions started this way…

From: Russ Hogger -- Nov 01, 2012

If you are charging by the hour then you'll need a timer.

From: Marilyn Gourley -- Nov 07, 2012

I eagerly read all Robert's letters for tips to help me become a better painter. I really like the Pomodoro Technique and plan to buy myself a "pomodoro" next time I'm in a suitable store. Perhaps it will stop my procrastinating about starting a drawing or painting and get me going!

From: Judith Madsen -- Nov 09, 2012

I just discovered my iPhone clock with the timer about 2 months ago when I was so swamped with Gabriola Island items of living! So I set it for 30 minutes to get up to my studio and I painted like crazy even in the midst of all the clutter. It worked so successfully that I finished 8 paintings for our new Clinic medical centre opening that I was fundraising for in the 2 years. One of our doctors is from South Africa and I had just visited there. That was so successful I set the timer for 10 minutes to sort through my very delayed income tax submissions…Wow! I had so much success I set it for another 10 minutes.

From: Lorraine Kujawa -- Dec 08, 2012

Very busy life. Found an old timer in the closet and set it for 25 minutes. Worked for two hours. Thank You.




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Last modified: Oct, 22, 2014