Tuesday, May 03, 2016

My favourite time management trick - the Pomodoro System

I have not been able to bring myself to blog since the death of my nephew.   Zafer would have wanted us to live life so I am back blogging.


I have previously blogged about the Pomodoro system.   It is simple.  Set the timer for 25 minutes and work all out on the task at hand.  No emails or calls.  No one is offended if my door is closed for 25 minutes or if I do not get back to them for 25 minutes.

A friend asked me what tricks I might have to make the Pomodoro system work better.  He was simply not getting enough Pomodoro's done for the time lapsed.  On paper it seems you can do 2 per hour and have a 5 minute break every 25 minutes.  In practise, I have never been able to do this for more than a couple of hours.

Doing 8 pomodoros in a 10 hour day is tough.  Some ideas:

1 - Have a list of "easier" things to do.  So I often do a tough pomodoro followed by an easy one.

2 - I close my email window, stock prices and phone off (or silent mode).  Realistically, no one will be offended if I get back to them a few minutes later.  Sometimes I am expecting a call so do not do that one.

3 - Exercise helps me.  So a brisk walk - even some pushups tends to help my focus.  (you know me - exercise helps everything).

4 - Being rested helps.  I have high focus on days where I slept well the night before.

These last 2 things remind me of the routine chess masters do.  A chess master friend, AJ Steigman emailed me the link.

5 - although technically the system is 25 minutes then 5 minute break then 25 minutes, I usually do 25 minutes then 35 minutes of "catch up work" like email.

6 - If I have bigger projects, especially when I am energized early in the day, I switch to a 35 minute Pomodoro.  I know technically that is not the program but...

Good luck with your Pomodoros.

I always love marketing.  KW record had an article that confirms that startups that focus on marketing win.   I also did another Linkedin Post on "Excuses to Market".


At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Joseph Lalonde said...

I've heard a lot about the Pomodoro System. I'd never heard of the strategy of taking a 35-minute or so catch-up break. How has that worked out for you?


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