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Pomodoro Technique Illustrated: The Easy Way to Do More in Less Time (Pragmatic Life) Paperback – January 7, 2010
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""This is an easy read with a life-changing message to all of us who have "too much to do and not enough time." Since Staffan introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique, I have become a better person, both professionally and in my private life. This is a book I wish I had read years ago!""--Thomas Nilsson CTO, Agile Mentor, Responsive Development Technologies AB
""The Pomodoro Technique is the one action-planning technique that fits exactly as conceived into Agile approaches to projects. If you want to learn the technique and become excellent at it, you need this book. Staffan brings humor, examples, and a step-by-step approach to making the Pomodoro Technique work for you. Your overall estimates will become better, and you'll get more work done.""--Johanna Rothman, Author, Consultant
""The Pomodoro Technique is amazing in its simplicity and its power to make you more productive, and this book is the perfect introduction to the technique.""--Dave Klein Author, ""Grails: A Quick-Start Guide""
About the Author
Staffan Noteberg has 20 years of experience as a freelance software developer, Agile coach, and conference speaker. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden and Istanbul, Turkey. And he's not only focused on his own productivity; he's also passionate about helping all kinds of office people to improve their personal time management.
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The Pomodoro method is pretty simple, in its most raw form:
- break your tasks up into 25 minute chunks, with a 5 min break in between (15 min after 4)
- always work on the mots important thing during your next Pomodoro
If you're looking for a description of the method, that's it in a nutshell; don't buy this book. Also, if you're an impatient person, don't buy this book.
If you want to know why the method works, and some of the science behind it, then get the book. Or, if you like understanding the entirety of a concept before implementing it, then get the book.
All the best to you in your time management endeavors!
Many time management systems focus on strategic goals in life - i.e. 7 habits of highly effective people.
The pomodoro technique is highly tactical. Rather than answering the question, "what should I do in life?", it attempts to answer the question, "What should I do right now?"
The technique involves basically prioritizing tasks for the day, and then commiting to working on particular tasks in 'pomodoros' which are blocks of focused time - recommended at 25 min a piece. For a particular pomodoro, one commits to ignoring all distractions - including distractions from OTHER work pulling at you.
Sound simple? It is and it isn't. Anything that interrupts a pomodoro invalidates it. A coworker interrupts, a bathroom break? Doesn't count as a pomodoro.
The purpose is to truly instill the discipline of focus. and to learn how to divert interruptions. The technique urges timing each pomodoro, and keeping a record of interruptions, so that one might improve at it. Between pomodoros breaks are allowed, but these are recommended to be time boxed as well.
In practice, it is surprisingly difficult to complete more than 4-6 pomodoros in a day (for me at least), and striving to do so has improved my prioritization and focus. The author does NOT recommend that a person live their life by the pomodoro, but rather use it as a tool for when they want to get serious work done. I find that it complements other agile practices quite nicely and have found it useful to implement from time to time when appropriate.
First of all, this is a respectable effort in every which way: Nöteberg blends a good amount of practical Pomodoro experience with secondary research on human brain, psychology, and various cognitive theories to appraise the technique from all sorts of angles. In doing so, Nöteberg not only lays a strong foundation for future Pomodoro researchers, but also widens the practical appeal of the technique as he shows it to be highly compatible with the findings of cutting edge research in time management.
Along the way, Nöteberg makes quite a few unique contributions to the Pomodoro practice. I found his "Now" list particularly useful. Like most intuitive things that make you go "How come I didn't think about this?", "to-do now" list points at the obvious: Build a manageable daily to-do list and add your top priority task to your 1-task-only "now" list. And then just do it. Simple, eh? Like loading a gun with a single bullet and then firing it...
Nöteberg addresses every imaginable aspect of Pomodoro practice including tools, management of break and Pomodoro periods, group work, effort estimations, handling interruptions, managing your task list, and many others with a friendly yet authoritative voice. The book is full of sound, practical advice delivered crisply and concisely that would serve both novice and expert Pomodoro practitioners equally well. I'd like to quote a few here:
-"...working overtime is like shopping with a credit card. With it, you buy things you can't afford right now"
-"with the pomodoro technique, rating 25 minutes of effort as a success gives us immediate feedback"
-"focused, quality work is the goal of the Pomodoro, and a focused, quality relaxation is
the goal of the break"
-"never switch activities in the middle of a Pomodoro"
-"when you estimate that an activity will take more than seven Pomodori, the it's too complex. You'll need to break down the activity"
I found a few topics in the book, such as his emphasis on constant reassessment (just how many times a day can you set strategic goals?) and Recording & Processing begging a bit more clarification.
Finally, there is something to be said about the eye-catching illustrations on virtually every single page of the book. They are so cute that it hurts - possibly reflecting the playful and intiutve nature of the Pomodoro Technique. Well done Mr. Nöteberg!