I have 25 minutes on my pomodoro timer.

Note: I have been using Pomodoro for the last 7 years. I believe that I am somewhat an authority when it comes to this technique. I have taught the method to many. I have written a blogpost about it previously. I would like to share it here. Do ask me if you have any other questions. 

What’s a Pomodoro?

The Pomodoro: A simple tool used to increase focus with 25 minutes of activity followed by a 5 minute break before resuming another cycle. A long break of 20 minutes is scheduled after 4 cycles to allow for memory consolidation and energy recuperation.

A video on the technique :

My Experience with Pomodoro:

I started using pomodoro back in university to focus better. When I first started, I tried it half heartedly and it didn’t work. After about a week, I buckled down and committed to it. I was amazed by how much more productive I was able to be. Hence, being consistent for at least a week with this system is crucial to experience the effectiveness of the system.

Nowadays at work, when a colleague interrupts me in the middle of a pomodoro, I can take a quick glance at the timer and tell her/him to get back in exactly 7 minutes. This helps me in keeping the flow during the day.

Pomodoro naturally breaks down a big task into smaller subtasks. It gives you small wins to keep you motivated throughout the day. Five minute breaks are enough to make sure you don’t miss an important mail or the end of the world. Don’t follow the pomodoro timer to the second. If you undershoot/overshoot by a couple minutes, it doesn’t matter. Take an early break, or have a shorter break.

It’s my opinion that the official pomodoro website itself is full with unnecessary information that will undermine the most attractive factor of this system: its simplicity.

 

My Pomodoro Scale:

Through my experience with pomodoro, I noticed the number of pomodoros completed in a day is directly proportional with your productivity for the day. Hence:
0 − 4 a day : Pomodoro Student
5 − 8 a day: Pomodoro Graduate
9 − 12 a day : Pomodoro Expert
13 − 16 a day: pomodoro Jedi

Remember, some days you’ll be a Jedi, others not. The important thing is to be persistent and in the long run your average pomodoro completed will increase.

Forgive yourself for bad days, and keep shooting for the good ones.

Apps to Help You Get Started:

1. Pomodoro with Kanban : Lean project management, simplified
2. On Google Chrome: Pomodoro.me – Time Marker
3. On web : Pomodoro!
4. On iPhone/ iPad: Promodoro app
5. On Android: Pomodoro calender, Pomodroido
6. On Mac: Tomatoes

My Reverse Pomodoro

I created this by accident.

On the days I decide to be lazy, I use the reverse pomodoro where I will do something useless for 25 minutes and then do a quick useful thing for 5 minutes (e.g. calling the magazine subscription service to unsubscribe, clearing out my snail mails, organise my CDs). These spikes of productivity made me feel productive even on my lazy days.

There. Break time.

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(Thanks Tim for the inspiration)

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