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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