Hacking Mount Pomodoro (Technique)

Are you familiar with the Pomodoro Technique? Simply put, you work for a certain amount of time, stay on point, and then take a break. This is a crazy oversimplification, but in essence, it’s what I get from it. Oh yeah, then you chain several together, try to see how many you do in a day, and then your life will be perfect and productive!!!

Yesterday afternoon I decided to give it a go. I had read an article some time ago and emailed myself the link to Evernote to follow up on downloading an app (glorified timer) to Pomodoro-ize my workflow.

It was late in the afternoon, and I know from experience, and many years of living with myself, those late afternoons aren’t that productive for me. So I decided to download the app and kick my last couple of hours into productive bliss (sarcasm). Guess what? It actually worked.

Again, not me, but wicked-cool.

The app came with a default setting of working for 25 minutes, then taking a 5-minute break. Looking at the clock and the time I had left at the office, I decided to change the setting to 20 minutes, with a 5-minute break, and then hit the start button on my phone.

The first thing that I noticed was how distracted I work. As I was typing away on a report, my mind wandered to checking my personal email. I stopped typing and began to reach for the mouse — Pomodoro! — reminded that I was on a short work-sprint and I was able to forego the instant gratification of clicking my mouse. I actually stayed on task. This happened several more times as I continued to focus on my project. The main surprise was when the timer went off and reminding me that my 20-minute session was over.

At this point I looked at the screen and saw that the app was telling me that I had accomplished “1/10,” but I’m sure I could change that setting of having a goal of “10” to whatever I wanted later. I didn’t want to waste my 5-minutes of “chill” on changes app settings.

When the 5-minute timer sounded, I reached up and hit the 20-minute button again and got back on task. I can actually see where this could train me to focus and work toward the 5-minute reward. It made me more aware of my distractions, and after spending the last couple hours of the day using this technique, it made time zip by, but more importantly, it left me with results.

Not me (for the last time), but I do have flip-flops like this.

Have you ever tried this technique? Any tips, traps, success stories?

Originally published at Man Ramblings.

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