This week’s selection is the Pomodoro Tomato by Instructables contributor prusteen.
If you haven’t heard of the “Pomodoro Technique”, you should learn more about it. It’s a time management approach designed in the 1980s to prevent burnout. Often people doing intense thinking work tend to work far too long and their performance drops off. In many cases — myself included — I “run out of gas” later in the day.
If only there was a way to re-energize yourself throughout the day.
Well, it turns out there is one: the Pomodoro Technique. “Pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato” and the technique was inspired by tomato-shaped kitchen timers that were popular decades ago.
The idea is to segment your work and breaks on a timed basis. Typically, the Pomodoro Technique has you working for 25 minutes, and then taking a break for five minutes.
This is easily done with a timer on your phone, but there are two problems: first, you have to make sure you’re hitting the correct countdown timer. You may have to switch the countdown from 25 minutes to five, and vice versa all day long. That’s annoying.
Secondly, if you’re doing this on a phone, that phone may be interrupting you constantly while it was supposed to allow you to focus on your work.
The solution is the Pomodoro Tomato, a 3D printed device that implements the 25-5 minute sequence at the touch of a button.
Designer prusteen provided extensive instructions in a recent Instructables to 3D print the case and install an Arduino Nano inside to run the system. His code is available for download on GitHub, and can be flashed into the Tomato.
Once assembled and loaded, the Pomodoro Tomato can be placed on a desk and it’s operation is quite simple: hit the start button and it then counts to 25 minutes. Then, an alarm goes off. Immediately it begins counting to five minutes, and alarms when it reaches that minute count. Automatically, the process repeats all day long, with literally only one touch of a button at the start of the day.
You can see how it works in this short video:
The Pomodoro Tomato is not only highly functional, but also attractive, especially if you use red and green filament to produce the 3D printed parts.
Unlike many 3D printed projects, this item is very practical and just might increase your productivity to a level that justifies the effort in making the tomato.
Be aware, however, that this is as much an electronics project as it is a 3D printed project. You will need a number of electronic components and are expected to solder items together, load firmware, etc.
Prusteen expects the tomato to be best used by students, but in reality it’s highly useful for anyone that’s doing constant, sit-down thinking work.