pomodoro brilliance: part 2 (maximum value)12 Oct 2016
now that part 1 has explained how and why pomodoros work, here’s part 2.
pomodoros are absolutely the most helpful when you have a consistent/constant type of work to power through. for many knowledge workers, the expectation is to switch between different types of tasks often. in those cases, pomodoros are still helpful for focus. but in the case where the work is consistent, pomodoros gain an additional value.
i’ve written several times about how the process of writing my master’s thesis changed my life. it’s a perfect example (writing a long document) of the type of work for which pomodoros deliver the most value. other types of work like this include ideating, doing graphic design, reading, thinking, etc.
anyway, here are the layers of value that pomodoros provided during my thesis process (of course, in addition to the things listed in part 1).
- writing in pomodoros helped make clear how much work i could do in a given time. after a few weeks, it became clear to me that i could write 300-500 words in 25 minutes. more and better sleep meant more words, as did having exercised and having coffee.
- knowing my writing pace helped me created a writing schedule. once i knew i could consistently plan on 300 words per 25 minutes, i knew i could get 600 words/hr. that’s about two (double spaced) pages/hr. i could then make predictions like “if i need ten pages by the end of the week so i need five hours of pomodoroing.“
- over time, i learned how long i could pomodoro before losing steam. near the end of our sessions, annemarie and i would notice increased difficulty focusing and a diminished word count. eventually, we discovered that we could write for about 3 hours before needing to tap out.
- knowing how much i could write in a given span of time before reaching fatigue helped me (imperfectly) plan out my entire thesis process. ex: if i knew i had a full draft (80 pages) due on april 30th, i could say “at 3h a day i can, conservatively, write 1800 words a day which is 7 pages. if i need 80 pages, i should give myself 11 days.” i rearranged my schedule to make sure i could hit my deadline (i gave myself a few days of cushion, too).
the dope thing was that i actually finished EARLY based on this planning and data (which 100% came from me). none of this included my editing process (which ended up being longer and harder than i expected), but still, finishing early felt dope. it also gave me some time to design the document for my final client.
the dream is real!