Consumerism Reports: With the $6.99 Tomato Timer, It's Always Tomato Time

The Pomodoro Technique is what you make of it

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Consumerism Reports

Welcome to Consumerism Reports, a recurring series about all my devices. I’d like to clarify that it is NOT a tech column — it’s about spending money to speed up self-transformation, and then buying more stuff when that doesn’t work. And so I have acquired an endless array of devices: from products that promise to make my face look more triangular and the skin around my eyes less purple to ones that shrink specific parts of my salt-logged body. Do any of them work?

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? No, it’s not what Hot Carmy’s big bro did in The Bear when he hid all those wads of [REDACTED] in crushed tomato cans, ha ha ha! I’d like to wrap him in an Italian loaf and dip him in some jus, ha ha ha! Kidding of course: I've been happily married for 12 years and have three wonderful kids, all named McKinley Grace. Speaking of bears, remember when a hunk of a grizzly in Tahoe was framed? Hank the Tank Innocent! And Dua Innocent, Too!

But I’ve digressed so far from the point of why I’m writing, and I always do. Any bit of free association to soothe the brain and to avoid the onrush of deadlines — which is why the Pomodoro Technique, in concept if not exactly in execution, has come in handy since I was in grad school. Roughly, one works in four 25 minute bursts with five minute breaks in between. It’s not so dissimilar to the Carbonaro Effect, ha ha ha! Oh here I go again.

To time these bursts of productivity, which are long enough to feel like you accomplished something and short enough to not get so bored you turn inward to self-loathing, you could use a regular timer on your phone or a cute little stopwatch website. Maybe you could try your intuition. Or maybe a regular-ass clock would work, but not for me because I don’t know how to read one. Last time I checked time was NOT a flat circle, hon!

Or you could do what I do, because I love buying stuff, and get a tomato timer for $6.99. I got mine in person years ago at the now-defunct Manhattan outpost of a cheap Danish curio shoppe, but it’s almost exactly this one available for purchase on Jeff Bezos’s Web Hobby. The tomato timer makes a satisfying ticking noise that encourages you to haul ass to get that blog post about the Queen’s legendary ice queen attitude toward a baby turned in, to use an example from my own personal life.

The tomato timer’s one fault is that when you set it for the five-minute break, its ability to tell time is totally accurate. You really do get a break of only 300 seconds, which is barely enough time to get an iced coffee, kiss your dog on the mouth, change shirts, and start an online feud with a stranger. But you don’t have to set it. You don’t have to use it at all. You can just look at it like an art object. And that’s the beauty of the Pomodoro Technique. You’re in charge of your own work ethic.

Previously: The $129 Barf-Preventing Bracelet