A Day In The Life: How The Tomato Method Can Make You Insanely Productive

How cuckoo is your time management? Here’s my mock nonfiction humor article in Defenestration.

Dawn Gernhardt


Schools implement a dizzying assortment of district-mandated procedures for teachers and students: No Child Left Behind, 21st Century initiatives, and The Common Core. The latest rollout: The Tomato Method. How’s it going? Let’s find out.

One inspired teacher, overwhelmed with work-life imbalance, instituted The Tomato Method not only in her middle school classroom but throughout every aspect of life. Here’s her day to remember.

Day In The Life reporter and crew met with teacher, mom, and wife, Mrs. Byrna Ana Peele. She’s using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to help her be more productive and efficient with her minutes, hours, and seconds. We asked her, “What’s the Tomato Method and how does it work?”

“I’ll show you. To answer, I’ll need,” Mrs. Peele said while counting seconds and calculated, “if one tomato equals thirty minutes, my morning at work should amount to four tomatoes.”

As a previously relaxed Mrs. Peele set the knob, her nostrils flared under the high-efficiency, time-management pressure.

“I untangled the vine of my complicated school day and home life,” Mrs. Peele said as her pupils dilated. “Thanks to setting micro-goals and achieving them through evenly paced and measured steps. Now my crisp magnetic tomato-shaped cooking timer comes with me everywhere and keeps me on task.”

Without boundaries, our crew followed her in Orwellian style. People impacted by Mrs. Peele’s newly implemented hyper-efficient, productive, and controlled way of life weighed in on the changes, too.

Morning: Work — Sisyphean Heights Middle School

“Now, everything in my classroom agenda is divided into and counted by tomato time wedges,” said Mrs. Peele with a tic in her eyebrow.

“How do you manage to get things done within tight time constraints? Let’s say your students’ revisions take longer than anticipated? Do you add more time?”



Dawn Gernhardt

A writer: nonfiction in Random Sample Review and Pink Panther Magazine and humor in Defenestration, Wry Times, Funny-ish, and The Haven. Working on a novel.