What length do you use? I vary between 25 and 45 minutes depending on
the task and my mood. Do you think there are any benefits to
consistently sticking with a single length? What length works for you?
Also, what do you do when you finish a task early? Lets say I have a
25 minute pom for knocking out a blog post and I'm all the way done in
12 or 15 minutes? I'm tempted to just count it as a complete POM and
to take a little extra break to celebrate being efficient. What does
anyone else do?
> What length do you use? I vary between 25 and 45 minutes depending on
> the task and my mood. Do you think there are any benefits to
> consistently sticking with a single length? What length works for you?
25 minutes is perfect for me. 25 + 25 is 50 which is pretty much a
microcentury (52 and a half minutes) which is a core focus of
By following the 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off, 25 minutes on, 5
minutes off, I'm finding that I can dink around with email and twitter
during my break without feeling guilty which is a huge bonus.
> Also, what do you do when you finish a task early?
It depends. If you have continuing work on a project, just continue
with that, otherwise, yes, treat it as a complete POM and take a break
for 5 mins and then get back on the next piece of work. Sometimes the
25 mins need to be dedicated to planning of course...
Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
CTO, Railo US -- http://getrailo.com/
An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
"If you're not annoying somebody, you're not really alive."
-- Margaret Atwood
I'm finding it beneficial to take the breaks anyway.
I do want to say that the rhythm of making the poms exactly 25 minutes (I'll give myself 2-3 minutes on the end of I'm that close to finishing) actually creates a nice flow, and I find that as I'm usually not picking up anything intellectually challenging in the breaks, I don't find the cost of reloading project state into my mind to be that high at all.
I don't plan at that granularity. I tend to block the day into Project
A in the morning, Project B in the afternoon and then just use the
poms to focus on getting tasks done on each project. A lot of the
time, I give over my mornings to reading / writing email / blog posts
/ "stuff" that has no specific project focus (my mornings are usually
only about two hours - 10am to noon) then have lunch then settle in
for five hours of work which happens to work out at 10 poms and be
fairly strict about that, working on each project for up to 10 divided
by # projects :)
I don't find daily planning to be valuable but I use Things for GTD
and my "plan" for the day is whatever it tells me is on "Today"s list
because I put *everything* into Things, with due dates and a lead
time. Sometimes that means I have some rather hectic days but mostly
it works very well.
If I have a 2 hour phone conference with a client is that four poms? I
don't think that is matches the core intent of pomodoros in terms of
25 minutes of focus and a 5 minute break, but because I'm also
overloading poms as a time tracking and management technique I find
this useful. It also reminds me that if I've been on the phone for two
hours I should take a longer break as it's a four pom stretch, so it
helps me to do a better job of managing my day.
As for general tasks, I'm also trying to start to do poms for checking
email and the general stuff that comes up during the day to get to the
point where about 70-80% of my day is pom'd. This gives me really good
visibility on how much of my time I'm investing in responding to
emails, writing or reading blogs, etc. It also brings the discipline
of the time box, so if I run out of time I'll just skim the mailing
list emails, and finally it makes sure I don't just sit down and do
three hours of emailing without a break. I'm finding this quite useful
but would be interested in anyone elses thoughts or experiences.
> If I have a 2 hour phone conference with a client is that four poms? I
> don't think that is matches the core intent of pomodoros in terms of
> 25 minutes of focus and a 5 minute break, but because I'm also
> overloading poms as a time tracking and management technique I find
> this useful. It also reminds me that if I've been on the phone for two
> hours I should take a longer break as it's a four pom stretch, so it
> helps me to do a better job of managing my day.
In my view, any phone conference that takes more than half an hour is
largely a waste of time anyway! Get your clients using the POM technique as
well, then you can both have more productive days by keeping the phone
conferences short. Just my 2c worth...
I'm glad to hear other people taking this position. I agree that it's
really hard to be the dialed in folks when a large group are f2f so if
you can maintain the discipline for everyone to dial in and have the
same experience, that really helps.