Five twenty-five


Despite being constant, time is an elusive commodity. One way to harness it to your advantage is through attention and focus. I have adopted a technique that is helping me to get both mindful and focused like never before. I call it Five Twenty-five.

It is a hybrid version of the Pomodoro time-management technique. Put simply; the Pomodoro technique is a way of breaking down time into twenty-five minutes chunks with a five-minute break to help us focus our full attention on one task at a time. I have been aware of this technique for about four years, but only started to use it more frequently last year when I was in Bali.

At the time, I was also exploring mindfulness, and I decided to combine short moments of relaxation with focused Pomodoro sessions. Instead of taking a five-minute break after a stretch of uninterrupted work, I decided to take it before. I had the luxury of working from home where I could lie down anytime I choose to. I started my five-minute session by sitting or lying down and letting go of everything. I soaked the moment and let thoughts float by like clouds in the sky. Then the timer would ring, and I would focus on only one task for twenty-five minutes. If I finished it before the time was up, I would turn my attention to the present moment. The light, the air, the sounds , my posture…  When the timer rang  before I was finished, I would work on it a little more to make sure I did not loose the thread for when I got back to it later. Then, I would start another five-minute of mindful awareness. This is how Five Twenty-five was born. Back in the busyness of life, I have managed to keep up with the practice every now and again and find it useful when I am having to work under pressure.

This practice is also good on the eyes and the back – for a lot of my work is computer-based. I sometimes use the five minutes break to stretch or to do some eye exercises.

As well as improving my focus and performance, I have come to appreciate my Five Twenty-five sessions as a practice in attention and mindfulness. Paradoxically, containing time in 5-25 chunks, has allowed me to be less pressured by it.


One sentence journal – day 11:
“Lack of sleep made for a bumpy start of the day, yoga grounded me, now the afternoon feels like a new morning. ”

This blog is part of a renewed 42-day writing challenge inspired by Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Book.
Background photo: Loic Djim

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When the Way Ahead is Blurry


As I sit at my desk, I can hear the sound of a clock. We like to know what comes next. It gives us a sense of security. We like patterns, rituals, the known – the taste of the familiar… it gives us comfort.

Yet, we also crave for a break from the monotony of every-day existence, for the unexpected, and for freedom. The sense of adventure that comes with the new, the stimulation from a new body, the desire to travel to foreign lands… all feeds an unsatiable demand for more.

This is a sort of sabbatical year for me, and so far I have filled my days with activities, some repetitive, some regular and others more unique. Yet there does not seem to be a guiding thread. I am very grateful for most of them and I take things one day at a time. At times my heart is content and does not really wish for more, at others I feel restless and want to change everything.

It all started simple: few commitments and no sense of urgency. But things are getting more complex. With every new meeting comes more responsibilities and we say yes to more.

This is where this project comes in. A desire to discover what matter most, to have a sense of focus and most importantly to complete worthwhile projects. Apparently there is such a thing as choiceless awareness. I like the sounds of this, yet I have never really experienced it. At the moment, I stay with the confused old self, writing down my intentions, choosing to let go of the past and happy to move on… As I travel along, one thing is becoming clearer though is that the way ahead is blurry.


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