Ok, here is week 2 as promised of my “30 Day Experiment with Pomodoro” (Part 1 – Why I’m doing this, Part 2 – Week 1 recap). This covers Friday, Oct. 30th – Thursday, Nov. 5th. First, I want to say that I am really enjoying Pomodoro, because I feel like I am actually getting more done before than I was when I wasn’t using Pomodoro. And I now have a much better feel for when I should be getting task at hand done instead of just surfing, checking email, etc. On a side note, I’m surprised that no one around me has said they want to strangle me because of the beeping kitchen timer (although, someone did tell me to get back to work when my 5 minute break was over). I’m glad I decided to keep using the timer and it helps to keep me on track and aware of how much time I’m spending on things – 5 minutes goes so fast!
The first graph is again my scheduled, unscheduled and completed tasks. For this week there were a few instances where the unscheduled tasks equaled or outnumbered the planned tasks. I need to figure out a good way to work with a group of people on a project using Pomodoro – that’s my major sticking point right now. It works really well when two of us are doing pair programming, but starts to fall apart when there’s frequent questions one of us has for the other and we’re not working together.
The second graph tracks my interruptions. This week I added in a new metric to track – Interrupted Pomodoros, for when a Pomodoro has been completely broken by interruptions (either internal or external). In this graph it is easy to see the correlation between external interruptions and broken Pomodoros. This week was a bad one for external interruptions – mostly calls from higher ups wanting to know the status of things that I was working on.
I’m also going to do a little time-comparison here, so I’m including two graphs showing the past two weeks together for each graph to better see how things compare.
Now, here’s a recap of last week’s goals and how I’m doing on them:
- Integration with OmniFocus. I think I’ve worked out a good way of using this with OmniFocus which I’ll detail shortly.
- Improve my average daily Pomodoro count. This one actually went down a little bit from 7.29 to 6.86. So, I’ve stayed roughly the same (at 7 Pomodoros/day). I have improved on handling interruptions (despite the increase in “broken” Pomodoros), but this one still needs some work.
- Decrease my interruption rate. I am definitely improving on my internal interruptions, and I’ll try to keep my external interruptions to only the most urgent.
For next week I want to accomplish the following:
- Improve my average daily Pomodoro count. I’d like to increase my average completed Pomodoros to 8 for next week, so I have some work to do to make sure that happens.
- Finish integrating Pomodoro with my task system. One thing I’m still not happy about is the extra paper for the daily To do list, but I still need something to help me track my completed Pomodoros. What I think I’m going to try is to use my little LiveScribe flip notepad to keep track of this. This gives me two benefits: first, it’s contained in one notebook; second, I can digitize and keep my notes forever.
- Finish cleaning up OmniFocus. I still have some stuff floating around in OmniFocus that’s duplicated, but I know have two primary lists: Backlog (taken from AutoFocus) and To Do Today. Other things are ideas that I want to work on, so they’re broken out by project and I move them off of there when I’m ready to work on them.
I mentioned I was going to talk about how I’m using OmniFocus with Pomodoro, didn’t I? The basis for this integration is right above. I have one project called AutoFocus, which I’m going to keep. In there I have three other projects called For Review, Backlog, and To Do Today. The For Review project has items that have become stale and I need to review. This is an artifact of AutoFocus and I will be cleaning this as I go through all of my tasks.
Here’s my daily routine:
- Do one Pomodoro on my Morning Pages. I write on stuff that happened the previous day, things that I want to mull over on paper, things that I want to accomplish that week/weekend or things I want to do that day.
- Break out a fresh To Do Today page and Yesterday’s To Do page. I then look over any planned or unplanned Pomodoros that didn’t get finished the previous day to see if they need to be moved over to today’s list, moving them either to Backlog or To Do Today. As I do this, I make sure to estimate the number of Pomodoros it will take to complete each task. If I’ve already done some work on one of these tasks, I make sure to note it in the side margins.
- Look over my Backlog. I check to see if there are items I want to get done today and move those to To Do Today, making sure they have estimates attached to them.
- Review my Backlog. I review it again to make sure there isn’t anything I’m missing. If I wrote anything in my Morning Pages, I make sure to note in either Backlog or To Do Today with a time estimate.
- Errands. I put these after regular tasks that I can time-box. I don’t give these estimates, as they won’t be counted in my Pomodoro count. If there’s a better way, someone tell me in the comments below!
- Sync with OmniFocus. The last step I take is to synchronize my OmniFocus file so that any tasks I finished are marked off and any new ones are entered. Then I sync OmniFocus on my iPhone so that that’s ready as well.
That’s about it. Would love to hear others’ thoughts on Pomodoro in the comments below!