A Year of the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is method for improving productivity by segmenting work into 25-minute intervals. You focus intensely on a task for 25 minutes, then take a break. Rinse, repeat.

I began using the technique to study for the cryptography course I took last winter. The benefits were clear from the beginning. I enjoyed working in 25-minute segments and started using it at work as well. I want to share with you some of the things I learned along this year-long journey.

Update April 2019: I'm no longer 100% confident that the Pomodoro Technique is best suited for work. I'll follow up on this more later.

The Pomodoro Technique is about breaks

Sure, you could study for 5 hours straight. But do you know how I feel after intensely focusing on something for 5 hours? Completely burned out and like I want to do something else the rest of the day.

Pomodoro helps me study or work for longer periods of time by giving me a strategy for taking breaks. By forcing me to stop every 25 minutes and decompress, I can sustain focused work for longer.

Intentionality

Before I hit the start timer button, I think to myself, “what do I want to accomplish in this interval?” Pomodoro has helped me be more intentional about my work.

Time Management

Since December I’ve been keeping track of all the Pomodoro intervals I do in a spreadsheet so I can see the distribution of where I spend my time.

At work I know that I can complete around 6-10 pomodoros in a day, about two of which will be email. This leaves me with about 30 pomodoros of product work per week. If I see that I’m spending too many pomodoros on a low-priority bug, I stop working on it. This system gives me evidence I can use to prove to myself to stop working on low-priority tasks instead of stubbornly trudging ahead and wasting more time.

Summary

This is all to say – I recommend trying out the Pomodoro Technique. It has improved the way I work, and it might do the same for you too.