Alternative Pomodoros for Quarantine

Illustrations by Jason Chatfield

The Pomodoro Technique suggests that to maximize productivity, we should work for 25 minutes at a time before taking a 5-minute break. However, that was in Before times. Things are different, now, and productivity has become vastly less important than passing the time. We offer some alternatives to the original pomodoros, now that taking a break is as unpleasant as working.

  • 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of perusing Twitter for a particularly infuriating take.
  • 20 minutes of work, 20 minutes of hand-washing, just to be on the safe side – if you do all 20 minutes at once, you’re good for the rest of the day.
  • 15 minutes of work, 4 hours of vacuuming the same area of the rug you vacuumed yesterday. 
  • 12 minutes of work, 4 more hours of vacuuming because you saw a new piece of dust – nice. Your efforts are validated. Plus, you have a new boyfriend (the dust).
  • 11 minutes of work, 11 minutes of masturbation. That’s right – three masturbations, back-to-back.
  • 10 minutes of work, 18 news articles about how the quarantine will last anywhere from 4 months to 15 years to 17 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.
  • 9 minutes of work, 342 calories of snacking.
  • 8 minutes of work, 2 seasons of a Netflix show that didn’t ever make it to its “trending” section but is still much better than Love Is Blind.
  • 7 minutes of work, 7 hours of stalking your ex, which is now the healthy alternative to reading the news. You learn that he’s also upset about coronavirus – you have so much in common.
  • 6 minutes of work, 30 minutes of FaceTiming someone you weren’t all that interested in keeping in touch with anyway. How do you say no? The government didn’t prep us on this – so irresponsible.
  • 5 minutes of work, two full-sized Klonopins. Plus a Klondike! 5 minutes is a lot.
  • 4 minutes of work, 45 minutes of screaming about how late some states imposed their stay-at-home orders. You never wanted to think about Florida again, not after…Spring Break ‘08 (turns out, “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear” only applies if it’s fewer than 17 beers).
  • 3 minutes of work, one full day of rolling your eyes all the way back in your head when you read the terms “Georgia” and “ready to reopen” in the same sentence. Unless the sentence is: “Georgia is an example of a state that is not ready to reopen,” or it’s a reference to a woman talking about opening herself back up to…new possibilities.
  • 2 minutes of work, two days in fetal position. Leave only for bathroom and snack breaks (three per hour, max). Actually, to be more efficient, start out in your bathroom, and bring the snacks with you.
  • 1 minute of work, three days of wondering what the point of work is, anyway. Will things ever be the same?
  • 45 seconds of work, four days of lying on your back in existential despair
  • 30 seconds of work, a week of moaning, “WHYYYY?”
  • 15 seconds of work, an endless eternity of wondering is there an “After.”
  • 0 minutes of work. A full breath of relief now that you’ve accepted you will no longer be productive. Also, another Klondike bar – you deserve it.

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