My personal ramblings and snippits (mostly tech-related)

The Pomodoro Technique

First published: May 22, 2012

To help boost my productivity, I’ve recently started looking into the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially, it breaks tasks down into 25 minute chunks (called Pomodoros) with 5 minute breaks in between, and a 15 minute break every 4 chunks.

I first tried using an online version, but found it to be too clunky for my tastes. I tried a few Android apps instead, and settled on Pomodroido after poking around for a few minutes. I wasn’t fond of the red color scheme, but that’s really a minor concern, and didn’t find a problem with the rest of the app.

Here are the things I learned.

  1. Intentionally enabling the ‘ticking’ noise boosted my productivity. I had read somewhere (not sure where) that one way to increase productivity is to associate the ticking noise with ‘work time’. It also added a mild sense of urgency that prevented me from procrastinating, and compelled me to keep working when I normally would have drifted off. I suppose the ticking noise serves as an auditory reminder that I’m supposed to be working, and unlike music, doesn’t distract me.
  2. It’s easier to motivate yourself to work when you think in terms of 25-minute stretches of time. I had 30 minutes to spare earlier today in class, and instead of browsing the internet like I normally do, I got some homework out of the way after realising I had time to do one Pomodoro. I was also able to motivate myself to do an unpleasant task by promising to do only one Pomodoro – but by the time 25 minutes had rolled by, I was already in the flow and was able to continue working on to finish it.
  3. Besides just thinking in terms of 25 minutes, another key aspect I found to keep me motivated was how Pomodroido kept track of how many Pomodoros I was able to do per day. It’s a nice touch of gamification, and being able to see how many hours I had worked in a day (compared to before) allows you to finish on a high note.
  4. Five minutes is the perfect period of time to heat up and eat a s’more :D

Some other ‘commitments’ I made to myself based on other articles on productivity I read were:

  1. Trying to establish a pattern of doing as many Pomodoros as I can in a row. I didn’t want to slip into a pattern of brief bursts of productivity followed by nonproductivity, so I’m trying to train myself to avoid that habit to begin with.
  2. Drawing up a todo list, and picking away at all the tiny tasks that I keep thinking about, even if they aren’t a critical priority. I used to delay doing some chores or other obligations because they either had a longer time frame or weren’t as high of a priority then other tasks or homework assignments I had to do. This simply had the effect of distracting me from concentrating on my work. Now, I try to get all the tiny and distracting things out of the way so I can work on the more important things later, mentally unencumbered. I’ve yet to determine if this strategy will pay off or not.
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