My Pomodoro Structure

Recently I’ve been getting back into the Pomodoro Technique. It was fun at first, then got to be to much, then I stopped, now I’m trying to continue at a basic level.

I started with Tomatoes, a mac application that was highly recommended and seemed to do the most important Pomodoro necessities.

I quickly found that I wanted to write notes on my actions, and the application didn’t have any simple way of doing this. I also wanted to see if I could add other useful info, so I designed a Pomodoro sheet and started using it.

While I’m all for web applications, paper is often far more flexible. I could imagine that there is the potential for web applications to truly be flexible. This is not yet the case, and not even being able to add simple fields (notes, emotional level, etc.) to Pomodoros makes me feel like existing tools are quite inadequate. Perhaps I’ll eventually attempt my own software solution, but for now I wanted to experiment with what works for me on paper.

Pomodoro Rule Sheet

A day later after creating the first page, I realized that this sheet still didn’t give a good breakdown on what I was doing throughout the day. Sadly the App doesn’t provide information into this either.

To compensate I made another page for myself to scribble notes on about my workload. The segments that are shaded are the ones where I did actual Pomodoros. I have used big numbers (low ones between 1-7) to indicate which specific Pomodoro activities I was working on (labeled by number on the first sheet).

This particularly felt frustrating because I do have lots of information online with time stamps. This includes git commits, documents, and my work log on Hipchat. Unfortunately I haven’t found any way of combining this data to understand how I spend my time. This is some of what I am hoping to eventually achieve with Feedhaven, assuming no one else makes something satisfactory first.

Pomodoro Time Sheet

The idea was to have both of these sheets side by side. One big issue with this was that my desk isn’t really big enough to hold on to the folder. This, given the fact that I was using a small binder which was clearly not designed for looking at both sides of a page, made it very difficult to actually use this system in a practical sense. It feels strange in retrospect, but my work flow was limited by the length of my working desk.

I did this for two days, then found that I lacked all will to continue with the entire system during the weekend.

Office Setup

Below is a summary of an approximation of the Pomodoros I have done each day. Note that over the last weekend (the 16th and 17th) it fell off almost completely as I got really frustrated with the method. Now I will continue to use this mediocre software system, and will slowly wait until I feel ready to go back into a more rigorous paper-software combination again.

Tomatoes Pomodoro App Worklog

Now I’ve temporarily put the paper system on hold, but am still doing the application one. I’ll definitely re-attempt the paper version soon, but the most important thing for now is to at least keep on the Pomodoro system in general.