Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pomodoro Time Management System

I am using the Pomodoro system a lot right now. The gist of the system is set a timer for 25 minutes and focus heads down on the task at hand. I like the idea because I tell myself "I can do almost anything for 25 minutes".

I also like that it creates high focus. I tend to flit from one task to another and often allow interruptions. Pomodoro helps me think of focus.

What I am enjoying about it is I am learning that many things actually take a lot less time than I think. Usually these are the things I have been avoiding doing. For example, I had lots of paper in my den for the past 2-3 weeks (my excuse - too much travel). Sure enough, one Pompdoro (25 minutes) and it was not only tidy but I had time to spare.

One time management principle is mess adds stress and detracts from good time use. The Skinny on Time Management Book reinforced this in me.

One easy way I deal with mess is to not ever let things get messy. The simplest technique for this is to leave the room (or car or garden etc.) just a bit tidier than when I arrive. It is amazing how that simple method can keep a car clean or a garden weeded (well not completely but much better than not).

I love eating fresh food from the garden but find the preparation time longer. But while using the Pomodoro system, I found that picking vegetables, cleaning, preparing dinner also only took 25 minutes. And kitchen cleanup was well under 25 minutes.

If there is any challenge in the system is it is very tough to be heads down focused for many pomodoros in a row. I am surprised that in a 10 hour period, I am only able to get 16 or 17 pomodoros in. Perhaps I do not work as hard as I like to think I do.

Today I ran Angels on the Bay 10K race today. It is a well run race (no pun intended). And one of the best value races. Lots of draw prizes, BBQ, great gifts etc. So to all the runners out there - support that race next year.

I came in 3rd in my age in 51:20. There were not many runners (about 90 in the 10K) so placing was not a major feat.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Hello Jim,

In general, I do agree, that quite often "it's easier done than said". As you say, one indeed finds that a dreaded, long side-stepped task doesn't really take as long as anticipated.

Having said that, One of the pitfalls of Pomodoros may be that it's easy loose sight of one's priorities. Are those 16-17 pomodoros, that you find insufficient (in a 10 hours period), really top priority items that you wanted or had to do?

I, for one, find a 25 minutes block of time insufficient for anything requiring "depth". Less (i.e.: less pomodoros) may often be more...

At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Paul Murcott said...

I've been using the 25 minute system for a few days now - obviously a small sample size - and it really has been great. The number one benefit is stress reduction, I'm less stressed with my to-do list because I know I can do so much with a pomodoro.

Thanks Jim!


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