jeanne’s attempt at pomodoro

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jeanne’s attempt at pomodoro

September 13th, 2011 by Jeanne Boyarsky

When I work at home on personal computer projects, I have one of two problems:

  1. getting distracted from my main task by other computer things or other items that need doing around the house
  2. getting so absorbed in my task that I forget to look away from the computer causing me to get a headache and need to stop
Neither of these is an issue at work and I can usually get a couple hours of personal project stuff done on a given weekend day before it becomes a big problem.  Which is all the time I usually have anyway.  One weekend was different.  I was technical proofreading a 300-400 page book (The Well Grounded Java Developer) and needed to get a lot done in a short time.  I blocked out my weekend to have 15-20 hours to do it.  Then all I needed was focus.
I’d read about Pomodoro and decided it to try it with this particular project.  (which is evidence of problem #1 – I was experimenting with Pomodoro when I should be reading.)
Installing software
First I installed the GNU pomodairo app.  Including the download of Adobe AIR itself, this took less than ten minutes.  I added my tasks and kicked it off.
How it went
The beginning two Pomodoros were the toughest.
  1. On the first one, I got water 2 minutes before the break. I needed to trust it and wait longer.  The sound was a bit jarring.  I only read 3 pages (and played with an example.)  Not much momentum yet.
  2. On the second one, I worked a whole pomodoro but only read one page (and fiddled with examples).  I did get in the zone although I could have stayed there longer.  I took a break anyway to avoid burnout.  I did successfully wait out the Pomodoro to check my e-mail (which I noticed because gmail automatically pulls mail and I needed to refer to one as part of my task).  I learned the tool shows your pomodoro as interrupted if you don’t click the right button at the end of a Pomodoro.
  3. On the third one I was starting to feel the flow.  That time I did get fully into what I was doing in 25 minutes and got two tiny chores done during the break.
  4. At this point, it started working.  I got absorbed during every Pomodoro.
My stats weren’t correct.  I lost two pomodoros on the second chapter I read. I think it was because I didn’t explicitly select the next task when I finished the first one.  But the stats didn’t matter.  What mattered is that I was able to get focus and momentum going.  And I didn’t have a headache at the end of the day.
Conclusion
I’m not sure if it was the Pomodoros themselves that helped me or the fact that I was doing something different so felt obligated to be responsible.  Hmm.  That sounds like a good question to post on productivity.stackexchange.com.  Did so here.

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