What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

mechanical kitchen timer

on September 14, 2014

A couple years ago, my interest was caught by a mention of using the “Pomodoro technique” to help focus attention and give some structure to work-time. In its most basic form, one sets a timer for 25 minutes, then engages with a single task. At the “ding,” the timer is reset for a five-minute break. When the break is over, another “pomodoro” (25-minute work session) begins. If you’re thinking, “Isn’t pomodoro the Italian word for ‘tomato,’?” you’re correct. The then-grad-student who invented the technique used a kitchen timer shaped like everyone’s favorite summer vegetable to meet his study goals.

Nimue and I find the technique useful, as do enough other people that Pomodoro timers are as plentiful as tomatoes in late summer. I suspect there are dozens, if not hundreds, of software versions for every platform. Dedicated devices are available for purchase by those who are wired that way. Or, if you like to keep things simple, you can just use a plain old kitchen timer, like the originator.

The concreteness and texture of a mechanical tick and ding appealed to me, so I bought a “vintage” kitchen timer on eBay. After I cleaned it of a coating of aerosolized bacon grease, it worked well at first. Then I guess it got tired. It ticks for a few minutes, then stops. Maybe it thinks it’s a pomodoro break timer.

For months I’ve kept it on the kitchen counter so I could occasionally give it a crank, hoping it would get over it. But it hasn’t. A timer that won’t time is just a decoration, and I don’t want it for that. It’s from the age of steel, so I’ll reluctantly put it in metal recycling.

Fox and Percy just pretend their indifference to the challenges of finding a really good Pomodoro timer.

Fox and Percy just pretend their indifference to the challenges of finding a really good Pomodoro timer.

shedding style: recycle
destination: community recycling stream

Comments welcome … how much time would a timer time if a timer would not time?


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