We use the Pomodoro technique at Eden to help us stay on task. It turns out that humans work well at roughly 25 minute increments with short (3-5 minute) breaks, creating a flow that improves mental agility. It works for us. We really like each other and we really like to talk about what went down in the hours we were apart. I know, you wouldn’t think much could happen in roughly 15 hours, but throw in some dogs, kids, significant others, books, movies, food and general small town hilarity and we can really get going. The Pomodoro helps reign us in a bit until our lunchtime chat. It works like this:
Choose your task (you do not have to finish a task in this 25 minute time, just focus on it)
Set the timer to 25 minutes
Work on the task until the timer rings
Take a 5 minute break
Every four Pomodori take an extended break of 15-20 minutes — you deserve it!
You can download free Pomodoro timers on your phone or computer that will track your Pomodori. I use the pomodoro timer on KanbanFlow. Or, you can just use a mechanical timer (the technique was named for the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by Italian creator Francesco Cirillo). Be sure to keep a tally of how many you have done so you can earn your longer break and track how long your tasks take you. It can be very useful for tracking billable hours, too.
How we spend our breaks: stretch; bathroom; beverage; play with dogs; check email, Facebook, or favorite blog; visit the chocolate stash. Yesterday, Jen did a dance for us (bonus break).