Pomodoro Technique

I will take the next 25 minutes writing this article about the Pomodoro technique.

After a discussion around life hacking tricks (see here in French: http://lifehacking.grassouille.org/) I am trying to adopt the Pomodoro technique.

The method is simple, and the tooling that you will need is basic: a timer, a sheet of paper and a pencil.

It’s a five-step process:

  1. Plan the tasks to do at the beginning of the day
  2. Stick to this during the day during each Pomodoro cycle
  3. Record your daily observations
  4. Convert the raw data in information
  5. Visualize daily information to find improvement areas

Writing this, I can see that step 1 is not a problem (I was already doing this using a mindmap to represent my daily activities). I was also quite good with the step 2 (I will describe the experiment later in the article). Not so good on step 3, and I didn’t start applying the two last steps…

What is a Pomodoro?

A Pomodoro represents 25 minutes of work without any interruption. I can see how I am efficient when I focus on one activity. I am also able to measure how much time it takes to do each activity (It’s easy to count the Pomodoros on the mindmap).

After 25 minutes, 5 minutes break… The first times, it’s too early! And at the same time, it’s terrific! I can adjust my posture, breath, drink a glass of water… From time to time, the temptation to continue to work even if the timer ring is high, so I can understand that some Pomodoro software block the keyboard…

After 4 Pomodoros, the break is longer from 15 to 30 minutes… And it seems long! I tried to reduce this time to 10 minutes… And I have observed that I was not taking enough breaks before being “too” tired or “too” stretched… Significant learning, I need to work on that!

Either for short or long break, it’s difficult to stop and to stop to think about the work we are doing… I also observe that when I can do it, it’s straightforward to get back to the previous activity after the break.

Interruptions

Pomodoros are steps of work without interruption. And it’s hard to stick to that. When the phone ring or when I have a notification on IRC. When the counter of new messages raises suddenly, or if a colleague asks a question. Resisting the temptation is difficult. But when I do it, there’s a lot of benefits. Another improvement topic there.

Benefits

The major advantage is that the focus on a particular task improves my efficiency.

Difficulty

The pressure generated by the timer on the top right of my screen is sometimes quite significant. The pressure increases when I see that the estimates of my work are wrong and that I will not be able to deliver what was planned. Estimates are difficult, a recurring problem to address in another post.

Conclusion

I will stick to that technique and will explore all the steps.

It took me two Pomodoros to write this. Two times the estimates.

Resources :

Header picture is from Ryan McGuire.

9 thoughts on “Pomodoro Technique”

  1. C’est drôle, j’applique le début de la méthode.
    Chaque matin, je liste les choses à faire et je définis les priorités.
    Par contre, sur la gestion du temps et le fait de ne se focaliser que sur une tâche, je ne suis pas calé sur des cycles de 25 minutes, je fais tout plutôt au jugé et je me fais totalement déborder par douze trucs parasites donc c’est sûr que j’y perds en efficacité. Je fais aussi des poses régulièrement car je finis par craquer mentalement. Estimer le temps correctement reste effectivement le challenge ultime.

  2. Quand je dois être très productif (quand je suis charrette 🙂 j’utilise la technique 10+2*5
    10 mn de travail, puis 2 minutes de pause, et on répète 5 fois par heure. J’ai pour cela un timer sur le Mac qui me prévient à chaque fin de phase.
    Les phases sont donc très courtes car l’idée est de rester concentré sur la tâche courante jusqu’à la fin des 10 mn.
    Très utile pour un procrastinateur 6è dan comme moi !

  3. Dans mon cas, beaucoup trop d’imprévus professionnels (appels, visites, pannes) qui interrompent mes pomodori…
    Je ne sais pas comment les gérer…

    1. Pour les appels, on peut choisir de laisser faire la messagerie et consacrer un pomodoro à traiter cela. Pour les visites, je connais plusieurs personnes qui indique par un signal visuel qu’ils ne peuvent être dérangées au cours d’un pomodoro et demande à ce qu’on leur laisse un message.
      On pourrait également proposer la règle des écouteurs 😉 http://theheadphonesrule.com/

Comments are closed.