How to Do the Work

A Random Walk Down Wall Street Audiobook By Burton G. Malkiel cover art

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s by then university student Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo was struggling to focus on his studies and complete assignments. Feeling overwhelmed, he asked himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro technique was born.

Break down complex projects. If a task requires more than four pomodoros, it needs to be divided into smaller, actionable steps. Sticking to this rule will help ensure you make clear progress on your projects.

Small tasks go together. Any tasks that will take less than one Pomodoro should be combined with other simple tasks. For example, “write rent check,” “set vet appointment,” and “read Pomodoro article” could go together in one session.

Once a pomodoro is set, it must ring. The pomodoro is an indivisible unit of time and can not be broken, especially not to check incoming emails, team chats, or text messages. Any ideas, tasks, or requests that come up should be taken note of to come back to later. A digital task manager like Todoist is a great place for these, but pen and paper will do too.

In the event of an unavoidable disruption, take your five-minute break and start again. Cirillo recommends that you track interruptions (internal or external) as they occur and reflect on how to avoid them in your next session.

The rule applies even if you do finish your given task before the timer goes off. Use the rest of your time for overlearning, or improving skills or scope of knowledge. For example, you could spend the extra time reading up on professional journals or researching networking opportunities.

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Too long for the message

From Dr. Nicole LePera, creator of “the holistic psychologist”—the online phenomenon with more than two million Instagram followers—comes a revolutionary approach to healing that harnesses the power of the self to produce lasting change.

As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Nicole LePera often found herself frustrated by the limitations of traditional psychotherapy. Wanting more for her patients—and for herself—she began a journey to develop a united philosophy of mental, physical and spiritual wellness that equips people with the interdisciplinary tools necessary to heal themselves. After experiencing the life-changing results herself, she began to share what she’d learned with others—and soon “The Holistic Psychologist” was born.

Now, Dr. LePera is ready to share her much-requested protocol with the world. In How to Do the Work, she offers both a manifesto for SelfHealing as well as an essential guide to creating a more vibrant, authentic, and joyful life. Drawing on the latest research from a diversity of scientific fields and healing modalities, Dr. LePera helps us recognize how adverse experiences and trauma in childhood live with us, resulting in whole body dysfunction—activating harmful stress responses that keep us stuck engaging in patterns of codependency, emotional immaturity, and trauma bonds. Unless addressed, these self-sabotaging behaviors can quickly become cyclical, leaving people feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, and unwell.

In How to Do the Work, Dr. LePera offers listeners the support and tools that will allow them to break free from destructive behaviors to reclaim and recreate their lives. Nothing short of a paradigm shift, this is a celebration of empowerment that will forever change the way we approach mental wellness and self-care.

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My therapist recommended this book so I decided to give it a chance. I enjoyed how the author took a scientific approach to her concepts, but by about chapter four I realized that the author started to repeat themselves about how their life was falling apart before practicing these concepts and it started to feel more like advertisement rather than a self-help book. I kept waiting eagerly to get to the special activities that could help me achieve the level of change the author talked about, but with each chapter I felt more and more disappointed. This book is nothing but advertisement for the mindfulness movement and offers little insight into how to change your life from a state of trauma to a state of inner peace.
The book’s argument is trauma is completely normal and unavoidable and the only way to overcome it is to become aware of yourself and make new habits that support healthy behaviors. It’s what therapists wish they could tell their clients who complain about the same problems and never do anything to change their life story (which funny enough the author talks about this type of client within the first couple of chapters).
The narrator was good at least. She spoke clearly enough to run this book at twice the speed.

Exercises and prompts for getting started with shadow work:

Think about someone who triggers you.

So, a good place to start with shadow work would be to think of someone who bothers you, and reflect on what it is about that person that might also be within you, he says. To figure this out, he recommends asking yourself gentle questions such as:

Examine your family tree.

“Make a family tree of your two sets of grandparents, all of your aunts and uncles, and your parents because they’re the generations above you whose attributes—good and bad—might be in you,” she explains. This practice is all about getting honest enough to say, “I love my family, but one of my uncles drinks too much,” Swart gives as an example.

Confront your shadow.

Another exercise involves meditating on, and confronting, your own shadow. Once you’ve got a clear (or at least somewhat clear) view of the aspects of your shadow self, you can begin the work of confronting and releasing them with positive affirmations such as: