The Ultimate In Productivity Voodoo: The Egg vs. Graham

“Finds it hard to concentrate”, “has a short attention span”, “is easily distracted” – these were some of the staple phrases that graced my school reports. I guess they weren’t allowed to write “was bored shitless”…

OK. So I’ve a little trouble keeping my mind on things, especially if these things are tedious. Like work.Β  Don’t get me wrong – I actually like my job. Out of all the things I’ve ever done to earn a living, this is by far the best gig. After all, I get to write about FOOD! All day! However, it’s tricky to come up with new angles on stuff you’ve already chewed over a zillion times. So, it can indeed get a tad dull. If it weren’t, I figure, I’d not be paid to do it, but I’d be bashing it out for free. In fact, it would be like blogging, or eating cake.

Anyway, ever since I started freelancing a decade ago, I’ve been on a quest for productivity-boosting strategies.Β  A few years ago, a friend of mine suggested something called the “Pomodoro Method”. Without going into too much detail, it basically involves setting a kitchen timer for 25 minutes, within which you DO NOTHING ELSE BUT STRICTLY FOCUS ON YOUR WORK. Then you can google kittens for a bit. You repeat the cycle as needed, until you get the job done.

So, off we went, my productivity midwife and I, trundling down the East Finchley High Road (I was still living in London then) to procure the essential equipment from the local kitchen supply store.

And there I found him, the last of his bovine kind, wedged between the pepper shakers and the butter dishes, with only a couple of penguins for company. My friend insisted that he needed a name, and suggested Graham. He reminded me of a Graham I used to work with when I still had a proper job, a rotund and docile kind of a chap, so the name stuck.

Graham worked miracles. My productivity soared over the next few months, I was a one-woman-article-writing-machine. Needless to say, Graham moved to Spain with me. He even got to go on the plane, rather than being shipped in a box with the rest of my detritus, such was his status.

Over the past year, sadly, Graham had been ailing. It started gradually. He’d just stop dead in mid-rotation. At first, dinging his midriff with an impatient flick of the finger would re-animate him, and when that no longer worked, I figured out that weary Graham could still perform as long as he was lying down. It seems that middle age is a tough bitch, even for a plastic kitchen gadget.

This touch-and-go state of affairs continued for several months until prostrate Graham started making weird strangulation noises that sounded a bit like a metal chain being pulled through an air vent. Within a couple of weeks, no amount of rolling, cajoling, pummelling or bashing his horns with the tea mug had much of an effect. He’d just utter a faint “tick tock tckzzz…”, before his innards ceased up again.

I had to face the awful truth. Graham had popped his cogs.

Graham

RIP Graham. Sniff.

OK, time for a confession: Graham had long lost his power as a productivity totem. I’d been breaking the “no distractions” rule left, right and centre, and these days I’m about as productive as a Spanish government office in August. But, dammit(!!!), I can’t actually work AT ALL now without something ticking away right next to me.

So, last week, I ventured, heavy-hearted, into the new Tiger shop that had recently opened up in Toledo. Right by the entrance, I spotted a pink kitchen timer and plonked into my basket. Tiger, a Swedish chain, seems to have copied the infuriating store lay-out invented by its compatriot IKEA, which makes it impossible to get to the till without having to pass through the entire length of the store.

And then, right in the neon-lit back of the shop, I saw it: The Egg. I tossed the whimsical pink ticker aside.

The Egg commanded respect. The Egg would take no nonsense. No more Mr Nice Graham. The Dark Orb would vaporise any illegally googled kittens in one tick-tock. I would heed The Egg.

The EggMaybe I’ve cracked my productivity woes once and for all, what’cha reckon? πŸ˜‰

Advertisements

82 thoughts on “The Ultimate In Productivity Voodoo: The Egg vs. Graham

  1. Wendy Kate

    Indeed, Mr Egg does look like he means business….
    My parents have a large plastic strawberry timer (for cooking) which goes off VERY loudly, even so they often don’t hear it until I bellow at them πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. NancyTex

    I have the egg, in white. The black version looks much more serious.
    Being naturally ADD, I am thinking that I might take a go at your method. I literally get bored in the 2.5 nanoseconds it takes t load a new web page and start doing something else. I know… I have issues.

    Like

    Reply
  3. northern_star

    I am so saddened by the death of Graham. I felt I knew him. I don’t like the look of the new one. Bossy.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Expat Eye

    Eggsterminator – he eggsterminates your lack of productivity πŸ˜‰ That actually sounds like a great idea! At the moment, I’m too busy to procrastinate though – feeling guilty taking an hour to catch up on some blog reading right now! But this was worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. freebutfun

    That one has style!
    Just hope this one lasts longer than its IKEA bought cousin, that lasted about 36 hours and then lied down to rest for good. May have to pop in to a Tiger now because now I have to actually explain to the kids that it’s enough of tv, earlier I just putted the timer on and they new that there were no discussions after the ring. Easy. This use also increased my productivity heaps πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Ha! I have a partner in crime πŸ™‚

      Hmmm… The Egg is already having some arrhythmia issues, it may need a pacemaker… I don’t think it’ll be in service for too long. My mum had the same kitchen time for twenty-odd years.They just don’t make ’em like that anymore!

      Like

      Reply
  6. expatlingo

    That egg means business! Think I can use timers to convince my kids to give me 15 minutes or so of uninterrupted time to myself at least occasionally during these long, school-less days of summer? What timer shape would best serve my purpose?

    Like

    Reply
  7. Lynda

    Your problem seems to be one of Eggsistentialism:

    “…individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will…” (Here shamefully edited to make my point πŸ˜‰ ) Found here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existentialism

    We have a obscenely expensive *stove which came with a broken timer. When set to “continuous beep” it merely went, “beep (pause) beep-beep” That’s it, nothing more. After four months of haggling with the techs and know-it-alls in corporate, they finally realized that it was a bigger problem than the silly housewife who can’t make heads or tails of her owner’s manual. Ahem, there were lots of us with the same defective part… The touch screened computer that runs the thing has been replaced and my timer now works maddeningly well! πŸ˜€

    *(An upgraded replacement for previous stove that died under warrantee)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Aw, these gadgets sure know how to make our lives even more difficult… oh the irony…! And how I hate making these types of phone calls. Well done you for being insistent. Has it made a difference to your cooking?? πŸ˜‰

      Like

      Reply
  8. narami

    The timer works for pretty much everyone. My mom taught it to me when I was a child and I’ve loved it since then πŸ™‚
    And yes, that egg would make me work. It looks as if it has a stinky side eye, and it doesn’t even have eyes!

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      My dad used a timer on me for solving maths problems. I still feel the anxiety of these sessions 35 years later when I think about them. Eeeek!

      Let’s see if that egg managed to keep me in line πŸ˜‰

      Like

      Reply
  9. bevchen

    RIP Graham!

    Why does it not surprise me that you have a short attention span? πŸ˜‰

    Hmm, maybe I should suggest the kitchen timer thing to Jan for his dissertation?

    Like

    Reply
  10. Mr. Thursday

    I just love the Cow timer picture…I think you need a ‘seriously-scary-voodoo-alter-of-timers’ with which to wail at when time becomes pressing and the creative juices wont flow. A collection of timepieces could be added… dark incantations to the god of cookery prose sung out… foodstuffs offered (nibbling of course allowed!)

    Tick tock goes the egg, Moo Moo goes the egg timer.

    Like

    Reply
  11. Pingback: TIME…Out of Time | Mr. Thursday:

  12. Jenna

    I literally spit out my water laughing (ps you owe me a new keyboard!) when I read that you were as productive as a Spanish government office!

    From friendly bovine to the Death Star – at least you’ll have good eggs!

    Like

    Reply
  13. TBM

    Poor Graham. My grandmother always said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” And the egg, I would expect a cake every time it dinged. Then I would have to leave to buy a cake. I fear my productivity would diminish and my waistline would drastically increase.

    Like

    Reply
      1. ladyofthecakes Post author

        I can tell! Same here. About to go off to my class, and I shall stop off at the ice cream place for an unspeakable indulgence and a read. Will buy a head of savoy cabbage from the greengrocer to compensate.

        Like

  14. Kim in Fiji

    Fun stuff. It’s funny how traits identified in childhood seem to foretell the lifetime. “Talk, laughs, and giggles” (one of the 10 or so undesirable classroom behaviors on the left side of the report card) was almost always ticked on mine. 50 some years later, I still can’t sit in a lecture without talking to my neighbors. RIP Graham, you looked like a good friend.

    Like

    Reply
  15. LAMarcom

    I’m gonna take a paint pencil to my lame-ass timer and paint a caricature of Bugs Bunny. Should prove interesting, as I cannot even draw a stick figure….
    Story at eleven.
    Great post!
    Loved it!
    Cheers,
    -Lance

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      You’ve just witnessed the extent of my drawing skills in the first picture. That’s the absolute BEST I can do. Bunny ears would be way beyond my capabilities. But I believe in you!

      Like

      Reply
  16. barbedwords

    I agree with Kim that no matter how much time has passed, we would still get the same comments in our end of term reports (actually, that’s a horrible idea – imagine if our families and friends had to do a report on us!) The Egg is scary, he’s definitely going to crack the whip more than Graham – I hate to speak ill of the departed, but Graham looked far too amoosing to be a strict task master πŸ˜‰

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Hmmm… I’m hoping they’d stick to stuff like “eats a lot of cake” rather than venturing into some more controversial areas πŸ˜‰

      Aw, Graham… four years of loyal service…

      Like

      Reply
  17. samdfb1

    Waha! Great. Us freelancers work hard at trying not getting distracted…look there goes a unicorn! Love Tiger. And guess what? I’ve got the same timer from Tiger-but mine is white. We are clearly sisters-separated at birth…I just know it. Yup. Really great post. ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. samdfb1

        Oh dear. Mine is performing well-which is surprising asI have dropped it like a billion times. I use that timer every day-could not live without. Team Tiger-am so addicted. Its like a poor man’s IKEA-with really useful products.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s