Book: The Pomodoro Technique: Do More and Have Fun with Time Management Francesco Cirillo
Publisher: FC Garage
Publication date: 2013
Source: Purchased the Kindle edition from the book’s website.
Summary: The basic technique of the pomodoro is easily explained. Well, once you understand that ‘pomodoro’ is the Italian word for tomato and that a popular kitchen timer in Italy is in the shape of a tomato.
A pomodoro is 25 minutes of time focused on a chosen task. Choose your task, set your timer, don’t allow interruptions for any reason short of a fire alarm. When the 25 minutes are up, take a break. Repeat.
Of course, you don’t need a whole book to explain that. The book helps you take that basic technique and turn it into a way of gradually improving the efficiency of your entire work day.
Thoughts: I must have encountered pomodoros when the first edition of this book came out in late 2006. I’ve used them on and off for years, but recently decided that they might help me structure my days better. I was suffering from too long To Do lists and too little time focused on the tasks on those lists. I purchased the latest edition of the book to see if I could build a new way of doing things around it. I’ve been working with the system for a little over a month.
The Pomodoro Technique has helped me plan my day better. By framing things in pomodoros, I’m able to predict how much can be done in a day, so I’m no longer putting twice as many tasks on my to do list than can possibly be completed. The pomodoro, itself, has helped me stay focused on each task as I do it, so that I’m being more efficient when I work (Facebook videos have to wait until the breaks between pomodoros). I usually get up and walk around a bit during my breaks, so it’s helping the step count on my Fitbit, too!
I’ve made The Pomodoro Technique my own by using playlists as my pomodoro timer. Spotify shows how long a playlist is, so I can make them about 25 minutes. If you’re on Spotify, you can check out my lists:
I started making playlists for this purpose after reading Your Playlist Can Change Your Life by Galina Mindlin, Don Durousseau, and Joseph Cardillo. So, most of my lists take their suggestion to start with a brain-engaging relaxed piece. Then, I add instrumental music, switching styles with each pomodoro so that I don’t get bored. I like up-beat music when I work to keep up the energy, but that can include everything from Mozart to Joplin to Copland. I think my next new one will feature Charlie Parker.
Appeal: This book suffers a bit due to the formal style of English and the highly structured style of an engineering mindset. Be patient. What it lacks in readability, it gains in usability. If you’re a more visual or right-brained person, I suggest making a mind map as you read the book to help keep track of the various components. The subtitle is correct — this system is fun when you actually start playing with it.
Challenges: This is Book 12 in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge for 2014 — I should make my goal of 16 books easily enough.
Do you think the Pomodoro Technique would help with the time and task management challenges in your life?