woman holding tomatoes
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I was introduced to the Pomodoro Technique by Shelley Hitz, my mentor at Author Audience Academy. If you are unfamiliar with the method, it is a simple and useful time-management tool:

Get ready to do your work. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus only on your work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break when the timer goes off. Repeat for 2 hours, then take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.

This method is helpful for writers and students who need to shut out distractions and procrastination and actually get something done. It also works well for household chores.

I, however, am a word lover, so I want to know WHY it is called “pomodoro.” Doesn’t “pomodoro” mean tomato in Italian?

Yes, and the method was invented and named by an Italian, Francesco Cirillo, who used one of those red tomato-shaped timers to time his sessions! This happened some time in the late 80’s or early 90’s (conflicting online info).

Nowadays, you can get a free, online timer, or you can subscribe monthly to an online timer (really?).

There is a dispute about the etymology of the word “pomodoro” in Italian, though. Some say it comes from “Pomo” (apple) plus “d’oro” (of gold). Others say it comes from “pomo di moro” (apple of the Moors). I like the second better, because most tomatoes are red (like apples), not yellow (like gold). That’s really neither here nor there.

At least I know the origin of the technique’s name: a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Have you got one at your house?

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