So this past weekend I decided that I really wanted to try out the pomodoro technique. I’ve mentioned this technique before in my post on Time Management. I’ve meant to try it before, but never got around to it. The idea behind it, is that you set a timer for 25 minutes. After each 25 minute session (or pomodoro) you get a 5 minute break. Thus, there are two sessions every hour.
Instead of just using the timer on my phone, or microwave, or any other one I could have, I went searching for a timer app for my laptop. I eventually came across this pomodoro app. It can be downloaded through the Mac App store for $4.99, or you can download an older version of the app for free from the link I gave. They also have the source code available, if you want to compile it yourself. I downloaded the old version 0.31 because I didn’t want to pay before I knew if I liked it.
In my first attempt of trying it out, I managed to do 6 pomodoro sessions over the course of Saturday. And, for the first time in a while, got a few items crossed off my to-do list. I don’t think the app makes the technique work better then just using a timer, but it worked well for me.
There are a couple of nice features contained in this app that I found very useful.
- It sits in the top task bar and counts down how much time is left in your current session. That way, you’re not surprised or shocked when it goes off at the end.
- Instead of just sounding an alarm, there’s a computer voice that tells you when you’re done.
- You can name each session based on what you’re going to work on, and what you want to accomplish. Then, you can see stats – how many pomodoros you did, when each one started, and what they were called.
- Every four pomodoros, you get a break of 10 minutes instead of 5.
- You can have it automatically move into the next pomodoro after a break, or you can have it wait for you to press start again.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about doing, is using an app to block certain sites on the internet so that I can’t just browse when I should be working. However, so far, I haven’t needed that when I’ve been doing the pomodoro. I think that’s because I can see how much time I have left to go, and it feels really sad if I’m not able to “resist temptation” for 25 minutes at a time.
I’m using a pomodoro right now to write and edit this post. It’ll be my first one of the day (and a relatively late start to the day). But, getting that first one done just means I’m ready for the second.