Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Try Pomodoro

Today I finished the book of "Pomodoro Technique Illustrated". Actually I heard of the Pomodoro in last year, but I did not think it seriously, until recently Dan North recommend it in his last two talks, so I decided to look at it. Through over a week's learning and practicing, I like it, it is simple, straight forward, and powerful.

The Pomodoro technique is pretty simple:
- Choose one single activity from your TO DO List;
- Set clock to 25 minutes focused on a single activity for 25 minutes, during this time-boxed 25 minutes,  you only have one activity, and one goal: finish it.
- After 25 minutes, take 5 minutes break;
- Choose the next most important activity, start again;

The Pomodoro is timeboxed, focus on single activity and single goal. It helps you prioritize your task, help you keep focused and remain high productivity.
It emphasize on execution, getting things done, and NOW. I found it is similar as Getting Things Done, but comparing with GTD, I like Pomodoro because it is quite hands on and easy to implement,  actually I have not finished the GTD book  yet. It focus on only one thing at a time, and its emphasize on NOW remind me the ZEN philosophy.

From Agile perspective, Pomodoro like a personal agile methodology, or specifically it very similar as SCRUM, I would rather say it as personal SCRUM, because you can treat each Pomodoro as SCRUM sprint, and the inventory as SCRUM backlog. And quite similar, in SCRUM, you can not change your task during each sprint; while you can not change your task during each Pomodoro. Pomodoro also focus on planning,processing, tracking,retrospective, so it is really agile.

I only started Pomodoro for only a week, I like it because it provide you the awareness the time,prioritizing and single minded; before it is quite easy to yak shaving, or get distracted. The Pomodoro provides a mechanism to let you get focused and remain higher rhythm, then improve your productivity.

Some notes from the book:

- time-boxed, single activity,single goal
- 5 stages: Planing, Tracking, Processing, Visualizing - retrospective
- Deming-Shewart cycle: plan, do, check, act
- Tools: TODO Today Sheet, Activity Inventory,Record Sheet
- Pomodoro will first Prioritize, then focus on the most important activity (like scrum)
- Pomodoro need to see the big picture before you decide what to do
- it is goal oriented
- it has immediate feedback

- principle: neither switch activities nor stop an activity in the middle of a Pomodoro.
- avoid LIFO
- avoid BPUF

Deal with internal interruptions
- Strategy: Accept, Record and continue
- Write it into Unplanned & Urgent
- never switch activities in the middle of Pomodoro: "Once a Pomodoro begins, it has to ring."

Deal with external interruptions
- Strategy: inform, negotiate,schedule,call back

I use my iphone as a timer, but I want to use it as vibrate only, but I could not find a vibrate only ringtone, try this link, it tells you how to set the silence only ringtone

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