Tom Hanks Used a Popular Productivity Hack to Write His First Novel—Here's How It Works

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With an Oscar-winning career spanning more than 80 films over four decades, Tom Hanks knows a thing or two about making movies. 

But when it came time for the 66-year-old to sit down and write his first novel, Hanks needed help. 

In a recent profile in The Atlantic, the "Saving Private Ryan" star revealed that he relied on the famous Pomodoro Technique to crank out his 448-page book "The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece." 

Under the guidelines set out by the time-management strategy, a person works in 25-minute intervals – dubbed "pomodoros" because the technique's Italian creator had a tomato-shaped timer – with a five-minute break following each interval. 

After four pomodoros – or two hours – a 20 or 30-minute break can be taken. 

It's a technique that studies have shown boosts productivity and improves impulse control in the people who practice it. 

A 2014 report in the Harvard Business Review found that experimenters who tried out the technique saw that their "initial expectations were regularly exceeded" when it came to improving productivity, reducing distractions from technology and building a more reliable work process.

In Hanks' case, not only did he use the Pomodoro Technique to help him focus on writing his novel, he also had to write the fictional script for the "Motion Picture Masterpiece" that would propel his novel's plot. 

Despite employing the productivity boosting technique while writing his book, Hanks described his desire to write as nothing more than the pursuit of another creative outlet.

"I just do writing," Hanks said. "I write because I've got too many f—ing stories in my head. And it's fun."

Hanks' novel will be released on May 9.

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