CT meditates: a comedy (23) pomodoro timer


So, maybe some of you have read this far. Thank you for coming along! One of the threads of mindfulness and meditation is developing Focus. So maybe you’ve now blocked out 2 or even 4 hours of your day to dive deeply. But once you’re here, cleared your desk, turned off your Internet, laid out your pen and paper and resources, and you find your mind wandering off. Darn! Three minutes, breathe, OK, focused again. Oh! Wandering off again! Just remembered things I have to do!

So, for those of you struggling with focus, consider the Pomodoro Timer. There’s lots to read online, and now I guess there’s a book and maybe courses to take. In short, a tomato kitchen timer is set for 25 minutes. That is short enough to trick your brain into staying on track and long enough to get something concrete done. Then there is a 5 minute break, and back at it. Four timers and then a longer break. You can then do this all day. Over time you get better at predicting what you can accomplish in 25 minutes, and then how many segments of 25 minutes it will take to do something. Then you’re less frustrated at the end of day as you get better at predicting how much can be done.

Furthermore, the quiet, insistent, calming tick of the time reminds you to stay on task. There are more tricks, like having a pad of paper handy to write down any ideas that spring to mind, to distract. Writing it down allows you to let it go and return to task.

Try it. I think you’ll like it. You can buy a IRL pomodoro timer from the store. I downloaded an app called Focus Keeper that I really like. Works for me.

From the Book of Joy pg 56: Richard Davidson, neuroscientist tells us that there are four  independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being.
1. Our ability to maintain positive states
2. Our ability to recover from negative states
3. Our ability to focus and avoid mind-wandering
4. Our ability to be generous

So, at least one way to well-being is a tomato timer!

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Pomodoro Timer is one of my secret weapons.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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