Friday, 3 September 2010

The Tomato Cometh

So I have now been doing the Pomodoro Technique for 3 weeks, and I have to say, that it is working very well.

I am even writing this blog within a Pomodoro - watch for live end/starts and interrupts/failures

I am averaging 8 completed Pomodoro a day. You can see my end of day report sheet here.


If you took a look, you'll see that the most I get is 11, and the least is 5. There is no direct correllation between failures and successes, but some things to note:

The Boss is away: Less completed and more interruptions/failures as I am being (Pomodoro ends) requested in his place. (finished sentence and save)

Quick 5 minute break and I'm back (start)

Here is a one day todo when my boss was off


Discussion with others: This is difficult, especially when I'm the one being asked, to keep to within 25 minute slots, so an hour can get lost outside of my daily tasks.

So, how is my day worked.

First hour - no Pomodori

8 -> 9am
get in, check emails and relevant blogs/websites.
write out plan for today. If there is nothing already on my radar, then set aside a Pomodoro to go through emails/RT to get new things onto my radar, and replan the day

9->9.05 - 5 minute break, ready for first Pomodoro to start.
From now on, I work in Pomodori, 25 minutes and then a 5 minute break.
(Just had a failure - interruption where I needed to discuss something with someone for > 30s - start new Pomodoro)

If I get an interruption of approx 30s (very quick question from my team members) then this only counts (to me) as a brief interruption, and I don't fail the Pomodoro. If it is longer than this, then the Pomodoro fails.

Now, I am expected to act on emails if they are urgent, so at the end of any Pomodoro or interruption, I check my inbox, and if necessary, replan my day for the next Pomodoro (or x) to act on an urgent request, else they get deleted or put to act later.

In my break, I typically get a drink, look out of the window, go for a quick stretch of my legs.

This tends to go until the end of the Pomodoro that occurs after 4pm. At this point, I don't start another one, but do the daily tidy up (although not of my desk :) ) and fill in my report chart, final check of emails, and twitter out my successful Pomodoro for the day, plus the last song I was listening to.

Interesting things I have noted over the last 3 weeks:

1) Time goes quickly

2) Breaking jobs up into smaller tasks really helps

3) I can't always predict the number of Pomodori a task will take, but I'm getting slightly better

4) Failing at 20 minutes can make it seem like a task has taken less Pomodori than it actually did

5) I can get more done this way (one set of tasks took about 1/2 day less)

6) A five minute break away increases the likelihood of the Eureka solution to the problem you spent the last 15 minutes looking at

7) Time really does go very fast

So now what?

I am going to continue with this, and I am planning a talk on it now. I think the technique really works for me, and I can track what I have done so much easier than just closing RT tickets/completing features in Pivotal Tracker.

I strongly recommend this to anyone, and if you need any more suggestion to give it a go, here is a paraphrased Tweet I read a couple of weeks ago:

The PomodoroTechnique quite literally saved my arse - Software developers at increased risk of Hemorrhoids.

So get up and move every 25 minutes - you'll be better for it.

(9 minutes left of Pomodoro, time for review of the post)

The two Pomodori this was written in

- first 15 minutes of P1 - taking pictures of my sheets and storing on Flickr
- review - fix all cases of lower case pomodoro(i) to Pomodoro(i)
- review - deciding that I would add this link to yesterdays To Do Today sheet
- review - find out how to embed the photos instead of links