Pomodoro timers and productivity

Our team has been experimenting with doing a once a week productivity day where we don't have meetings, we don't respond to emails, and we work on producing as much work on a project as we can. For this week I took this day and worked from home to focus on coding a highly interactive responsive website.

I attempted the pomodoro technique in-which you work at 25-minute increments or a single pomodoro and then take a short 3-5 minute break. After 5 pomodoros you take a little bit longer break. I used the Marinara: Pomodoro® Assistant chrome extension as a timer as well as how many pomodoros I did.

Takeaways

  • Pomodoros helped to focus on the task at hand and doing it as efficiently as possible without overthinking process.
  • Distractions were moved to break times or the next day. If I wanted to get coffee or more water I would wait until the short break. If a new task came in through email I would ignore it and look at the details the next day.
  • Usually, I have a few projects going on at once, so focusing on 1 project, I was able to get a lot further than I normally would trying to multi-task.
  • Pomodoros may work well for single-person task based work where you just need to get something done but I question how well they might work on collaborative open-ended projects that may require some creative exploration.
  • I would be able to better benchmark how long tasks take (distraction free) the more I did pomodoros. This would give me improved timeline estimating skills for the future.

Let me know what you think on twitter @rdallaire

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