I am not good at time management. My life is a mixture of doing very little in a cosy blur, then running very fast up to deadlines screaming. So far I have managed to keep on top of things through blind panic and wining charm.

One of my core modules this term is an independent project in which time management is obviously going to be important. In one of the lectures for this module – quite how an independent project merits 20 hours of teaching I am not sure – we had a talk on time management.

The basic premise was that the whole day should be divided down into 48 half hour blocks called tomatoes. One tomato consists of 25 minutes of doing a task followed by a 5-minute break. Every four tomatoes you complete you award yourself a tomato length break.

Am I making sense so far? I wouldn’t blame you for wondering what on earth tomatoes have to do with time management, but bear with me.

The problem arises with sleep. Assuming most people follow recommendations for eight hours, you need to set aside 16 tomatoes to sleep, a standard eight hours. Using the tomato method, though, you presumably have to wake up every 25 minutes to take a break from sleeping with a half hour break after 2 hours.

I think I might scrap the system when it comes to bed. I usually don’t need to take a break from sleeping – I am quite good at it actually.

I have started using this system to try and get my work done on time – and so far it is helping, but with the various lures of home waiting over Easter, I wonder how long before my tomatoes go off. I hope they don’t, as with a framework I am far less panicked about the stuff I have going on in my life, and being organised might be just what I need.

Ben Macpherson

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1 Comment

  1. Stefan
    March 27, 2013 at 22:15 — Reply

    Have you ever considered getting a diary?

    p.s. I do like your tomato method though.

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