After having a pretty hectic work schedule the last few weeks, and after reading Anthony’s post on the Pomodoro Technique, I thought I’d try it. I don’t know if I’ll keep using it long term, but for now, I see a few benefits. Here’s what I’ve noticed after a day.

The first thing is that it’s a lot easier to get myself to stop working. Hopefully this will translate into being able to predict when I’m going to get home, farther in advance than “I’m leaving now.” It also gives me periodic interrupts throughout the day when I can check email, read a blog post, get water, use the restroom, check the kanban board, etc.

I noticed how much time I spend on things. For example, yesterday I decided to transcribe some notes from paper into our work tracking system. It took almost an entire Pomodoro. Having the time box gave me pause — was it worth writing up what I was working on? I think this could help me become more self-aware, better able to recognize when I’m wasting time, in the future.

It was also nice to focus on one thing at a time. My work schedule usually is “charge!” That means work furiously on whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t make me relaxed, and probably doesn’t make me more effective.

I also noticed that I’m not very good at sticking to the time limits. I usually stop my pomodoro after 25 minutes and 16 seconds. I usually start the next one 15-30 minutes later.

And, when people come over and ask me for help, I’m still pretty likely to stop what I’m doing (i.e. interrupt my Pomodoro) and help them.

Finally, I feel really silly walking around thinking, “gotta keep doing this pomodoro thing” which, in english-only, is “gotta keep doing this tomato thing”. So I have a tomato timer on my apple computer. Whatever. It seems to help.