21 Things to do on a 5-minute Pomodoro Break

21 Things to do on a 5-minute Pomodoro Break

I swear by the Pomodoro Technique for getting things done.

The basic premise is that you work for a concentrated 25 minutes, take a 2-5 minute break, then dive back in for another Pomodoro (For the uninitiated, I explain this in more detail here!). 

So what to do on those 2-5 minute breaks? 

Well, since I Pomodoro every day, I’ve taken notes on some creative ways to spend those slices of time. Here are 21 things to do on a Pomodoro Break, wherever you may be taking it!

21 Things to do on a 5-minute Pomodoro Break

Order a coffee. Order food and drink one at a time to spread out the treats, and because you might change your mind. Plus at Starbucks you get points per transaction rather than how much you spend.

Leaf through a magazine: at uni I carried British Vogue in my bag along with all my books! These days I like working in cafés that provide cool magazines (Filament, Lovecrumbs). Even better if you’re in a library! Get up and browse.

Look around you. People watch.

Have a Graze snack.

Dance break! At uni my roommate Kat and I would work at our desks until one of us declared it Taylor Time.

Singing break! See above, add guitar.

21 Things to do on a 5-minute Pomodoro Break

Update your time tracker. If you’re tracking your time, or your habits, a Pomodoro break is a great time to catch up on your notes.

Put on a load of laundry. Pressing start feels SO productive.

Take deep breaths.

Stretch. Self massage. Head massage.

Take a break from screens: If you’ve been working on the computer, close your laptop or turn off your monitor and give your eyes a rest. 

Write ideas in a notebook. 

Get up. Use the bathroom. Refill your water. 

Send a Facebook sticker to your best friend: My favourites are Bibimbap Friends, Opi, Rilakkuma, Yarukizero, and the classic, Pusheen.

21 Things to do on a 5-minute Pomodoro Break

Savour a single delicious chocolate truffle. Chocolate meditation is the best meditation.

Read something quick: a poem, essay, or chapter of The War of Art or Daily Rituals.

Have a chat: but be sure to time it if you can’t afford to get distracted!

Clean up the files on your desktop.

Moisturize your hands with your favourite lotion

Leave a review or comment on a podcast you listened to recently. I usually listen on the go, and keep a list of things I want to comment on once I sit down. Podcasts give me a sense of community, and sharing my thoughts makes me feel even more involved.

Write a birthday card. Perhaps my favourite way to take a break lately! Keep upcoming birthday cards tucked in your planner, and spend 2ish minutes scribbling in a heartfelt note to a friend. It feels great, and productive too!

What do you do on a Pomodoro break? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Pomodoro my friend timeI even . Yes you read that right.

How I Use the Pomodoro Technique to Get Things Done

How I Use the Pomodoro Technique to Get Things Done

I use the Pomodoro Technique every day for everything.

Mainly, the Pomodoro Technique helps me structure my work day, to get more done more efficiently. But I’ve also talked about how it helps me socialise and pack! In this video I break down what a Pomodoro is, and how I use it for increased productivity.

How I Use the Pomodoro Technique to Get Things Done

My top 6 tips for using the Pomodoro Technique

  1. Take time to decide what you’re going to do with your Pomodoro. I write this down on a piece of paper.
  2. Make sure you plan enough work per session. When there’s too much time you’ll fill it with dawdling.
  3. Keep estimating, and you will learn how much time things take. You’ll get better at estimating, which is a win in itself.
  4. Keep a separate note nearby to jot down distracting tasks that come up. The 2-minute rule does not apply!
  5. Wear earphones even if you’re not listening to anything.
  6. Be careful about Pomodoro-ing with friends. Make sure everyone is on board with rules, expectations, no interruptions. Breaks are hardest – they run long when others are involved.

Do you use the Pomodoro Technique? What are your best strategies for getting things done?

P.S. Before I tackle each Pomodoro, I need to set my to do list. Here’s how I organise my to-do lists in my Passion Planner.

10 Lessons in Minimalism and Simplicity I Learned from Living in an Airbnb

10 Lessons in Minimalism and Simplicity I Learned from Living in an AirbnbI intended to embrace January for what it would be: a challenge in simplicity.

In December we packed up our little flat, storing most of our possessions with kind friends, and taking the essentials with us to an Airbnb, where we now wait for our new flat to be ready for us. 

We were relieved to find that the Airbnb was as pictured (if anything, better), that there were no weird smells, that it was all-in-all quite pleasant for a couple of weeks’ stay. After the owners left I said “Oh no we forgot to ask for the wifi.” As the words left my mouth I realised that if it hadn’t been mentioned on our very thorough tour, it probably wasn’t there. Sure enough, we checked the listing and this was totally on us for not checking. No wifi. 

And so the challenge became even more challenging. But as a reward for embracing it, I was gifted with clarity, a refresher course in the lessons I’d learned years ago.

How to Maintain a Minimalist Mindset:

10 Lessons in Minimalism and Simplicity I Learned from Living in an Airbnb

Lesson: I don’t need a lot of clothes.

I have about 30 pieces of clothing, and only half of that with me right now. Overnight, the weather and the laundry discuss the question of what I will wear, and they let me know in the morning. And this system works pretty well. It’s like saving time in the morning by setting out my clothes the night before, except I don’t even have to do that. 

Lesson: I do need more than one pen.

We had to place an emergency Muji order because I brought only one erasable pen. This was silly. Pens are miniscule. I am a writer; pens are kind of essential. I should have brought more pens.

Lesson: Cooking is less overwhelming with less in the fridge.

Without our store of spices, sauces, and too many bags of cocoa powder (ahhh so much cocoa powder! We had completely lost stock of what was actually in our cupboards at the old flat!), without our food processor and blender, we have be challenged to perfect our simplest recipes: pasta and tomato sauce, risotto, stir fry, and sausages and mash.

What’s left in the fridge dictates what meal we cook next. The aim is to prepare us for those days when we don’t have time to cook from a complex-but-utterly-delicious recipe, to keep us from constantly buying frozen pizza, or ordering less frozen pizza.

Lesson: Everything I own needs a home.

I already knew this, but it’s reiterated when I’m in a space that is not my actual home. Actually, it’s especially important while traveling. When I got to my Halmoni’s house at Christmas, with allll our stuff (normal travel stuff, Christmas present stuff, extra storage stuff), I spent my first morning in America repacking it to make it accessible and lovely. I’m actually really proud of this.

Lesson: My laptop needs a home too.

Even though a laptop is portable, and that’s the whole point, it needs a bed. A place to rest and recharge (ha.) before it spends another day out on the town, assisting me in coffeeshops as I type articles like this one, traveling to the kitchen to play music while we cook. In the Airbnb I found a spot to nestle my laptop, where it plugs into the wall, and is tucked away at the end of the day. Mmm I love it!

Lesson: Wifi is distracting and stressful.

Not having wifi encourages slower living, spreading out, and writing. I am more thoughtful without it. I am less jittery without it. I watch movies more mindfully without Netflix, and I allow myself to go to the cinema more. When we pause the movie I downloaded on my 11” laptop during the day and I have 2 minutes to spare, waiting for Steve to refill the snacks, I no longer compulsively check my iPod because there is nothing to check. Instead I do this revolutionary thing called sitting still. Breathing. Waiting. Doing absolutely nothing.

For a moment I thought, what if we don’t reconnect our wifi, and spend the budget on more cinema trips? And then I thought about all the projects I’ve put on hold because I need internet at home, at the frustration of relying on the chance of coffeeshop wifi.

Lesson: Without wifi at home, I cling to public wifi like I’m gasping for air.

So yeah, there is another side of that coin. When I was little we didn’t have tv at home, so when my sister and I would go to Halmoni’s house we would be glued to the televeision, watching entire That’s So Raven marathons. It was not good. I find myself constantly checking my iPod for wifi networks, stopping in front of cafés to log on, scrolling through nothing at dinner just because Pizza Express has free wifi! I would never do this. I don’t need to do this. But now I do, and I’m trying to stop.

Lesson: We should get a fluffy rug.

There is a fluffy rug in the Airbnb. It makes the room feel very cosy.

Lesson: A room can dictate your lifestyle.

With no screens and not too much stuff in the room, there is little else to do besides read. And so we read, more than we usually do, and as much as we would like to do. In our old flat, the sofa faced the computer screen that we used to watch movies and Gilmore girls and play Braid, so we would spend a lot of time on that computer. There were books piled halfway up the wall, so we spent time reading their spines rather than their pages.

Lesson: I work best with more of a routine.

I used to go to coffeeshops a lot, because I work better outside the home, and I didn’t have a permanent desk space in our flat. But now that I rely on coffeeshops not just sometimes but daily, I am more mindful of how I spend that time. Taking up a table, and only having so much laptop battery has forced some routine into my daily coffeeshop visits. I do 4 pomodoros in the morning, break for lunch, and do 4 more in the afternoon. Clockwork.

Off to learn another lesson,

P.S. You can read more about my adventures in minimalism in my book, Own Your Story.