Manage your focustime with the Pomodoro Technique: Learn to code more effectively with a tomato kitchen timer.
Software Engineering is a challenging field. In order to become an excellent software engineer, many skills are needed. Not only tech skills like learning to code, becoming familiar with languages and syntax, understanding algorithms, testing, but also soft skills like communication, teamwork and time management. This article explains how a tomato kitchen timer can help tech professionals managing their focus time at work to become more productive and learn to code more effectively.
Work anywhere, anytime
As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere, at anytime. This “work anywhere, anytime” premise in modern society, blends work and personal lives more and more together. The downside: high level of distraction and interruption and a low level of mental focus and concentration can lead to poor work results. Simply said, multi-tasking is a myth. The more we switch between tasks and activities rapidly, the less we are able to concentrate and focus. So, how can we create mental focus and concentration to extract value from our limited time in an ever distracting society?
This is where the popular pomodoro technique can help. The Pomodoro Technique is a “time management method” developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. As a Italian student in Rome, Francesco struggled to maintain focus when working on his school assignments. He created the Pomodoro technique to improve his learning productivity.
Pomodoro work cycle
The technique uses a simple timer to break down work into 30-minute sessions with 25 minutes intervals of high-focus, distraction-free work, followed by a 5-minute break afterwards. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
By repeating this simple algorithm four times in a row, you achieved a two-hour productive work cycle. After the two hour work cycle, it is time to take a long 6–30 minute break. The short built-in breaks are an essential part of the method to succeed.
The Pomodoro Core Process
The Pomodoro Core Process consists of six goals:
- Step 1: Find out how much effort an activity requires
- Step 2: Get rid of interruptions.
- Step 3: Estimate the effort of activities (in pomodoro time)
- Step 4: Make the pomodoro more effective (use the first 5 min to review)
- Step 5: Set up a timetable
- Step 6: Define your own objectives to improve your time management
By applying the Pomodoro Technique consistently, you learn to:
- Handle interruptions
- Reduce the length and number of meetings
- Reduce time estimation errors
- Improve motivation by improving the quality and content of your work
- Transform time from being an enemy to an ally to achieve your goals
- Meet deadlines without time pressure
- Share with team members the same point of view of what to do
- Create an effective team timetable to reach multiple goals, handle unplanned events, taks, emergencies and change
- Reduce the complexity of your goals and the relative uncertainty of reaching them
- Optimize the interaction between team members needed to complete tasks
This is how the Pomodoro technique teaches you how to work with time, instead of struggling against it.
Pomodoro and Agile Techniques
The Pomodoro Technique can help aspiring software engineers to improve their time management skills fiercely. Mental focus is not about what you let into your mind, it is about what to leave out. Instead of taking up more and more tasks, pomodoro helps you to do the opposite: simplifying your workload to “one task at the time”.
That is what Pomodoro has in common with Agile techniques like Kanban, Lean and Scrum: focusing on small tasks and fully concentrating on them one step at a time, in short time sprints, in order to become more productive:
- “timeboxing” overcomes perfectionism, decision paralysis and procrastination by forcing you to just start working.
- “sprints” — most associated with Scrum- force a steady work rhythm of work, breaks and feedback.
Curious about Pomodoro?
Why not give it a try? Take a pen and paper to sum up your most important tasks for today and visit the pomodoro timer web app online to start tracking your time.
The Pomodoro Technique: Boost Personal Productivity with Timeboxing
Read on to see how it works. Remember, time is a greedy player who wins without cheating, every round. - Baudelaire…