Productive Time Management

This week I played with the Pomodoro time management technique to see if it would improve throughput. Results are encouraging.

My typical day can be classified into 3 buckets; client interactions, writing and project work (with includes coding). It is very easy to get distracted as the events of the day transpire naturally.

I usually keep all non-essential emails to the evening when I am at home, where I will respond when the stresses of the day are behind me. I enjoy that part of the time and I am disciplined to leave an email unread until times I am ready to action it.

This previous week though, I have tried something a little different, to see if productivity can be improved if I dedicate blocks of time to a given task. I have started out with one hour blocks.  Setting a timer in Google I then focus on a given bucket, awaiting for the obnoxious noise telling me times up.

This is commonly known as the Pomodoro technique, while I am not following its complete rule set, the spirit of it has been embraced.

Overall the experiment has worked very well, particularly when it comes to writing. I discovered I wrote a lot more with improved quality. I think I can put that down to the fact that I was given license to not only ignore everything else that may come in, but to also know that my writing time was fixed, so it wasn’t that I was looking at a document trying to find the words for the whole day.

As for project work, an hour is probably not quite long enough. I will play with time frames to see if that improves. There is work that you need to get your head into, an hour is just not enough time for some of the more complex problems you look to attack.

I will continue this experiment for a little longer, but early results are encouraging.

Author: Alan Williamson

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