The Pomodoro Technique
Right from Day 1, you’ve probably seen my talk about Pomodoro. The Pomodoro Technique is a really simple concept to help you manage your time.
The basic idea is, instead of working in one gigantic blob of time, you work in smaller chunks of 25 minutes. This working block is called a Pomodoro. During that time, you don’t allow yourself to get distracted by anything. In theory, that means anything. No lolcats, no Facebook, no answering your phone (even for something work related). Just focus on the task at hand. Everything that can wait should wait. In practice, it’s not quite so simple, because you’ll have people coming over and interrupting what you’re doing to ask you a question or something, and of course, there are some things that are too important to ignore.
But anyway, the idea is to be focused for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. That’s when you check Facebook and your stocks.
So work for 25, break for 5, work for 25, break for 5, ….
Usually, after a couple of hours, I’m ready for a little longer break, so I take a 15 or 30 minute break instead and get lunch or whatever.
You’re supposed to set a timer, so that you know exactly when your work sessions and your break sessions end. The “official” version would have you use a tomato timer. I had never heard of a tomato timer. But they exist.
Anyway, I don’t use a physical timer. I use a Chrome extension called Strict Pomodoro. It’s actually better than a physical timer, in my opinion. Because I can set it up the way I want and it prevents me from going to sites that will waste my time while a Pomodoro is active. I get a little screen that says, “Page blocked until a Pomodoro break starts. Back to work!” This has kept me focused hundreds of times since I started using the extension. If you’re interested in trying out the Pomodoro technique, I’d definitely recommend this.