I really like the Pomodoro technique. I find that putting stuff into small blocks with clear boundaries, with regular short breaks, helps me be more productive. Lately, though, I’ve moved away from using a timer.
I have a bit of an obsession with right-sizing tasks. I start by sizing tasks as either 1 hour, half a day, or a whole day. Tiny tasks get bundled into 1 hour chunks. Then I break down the half a day and day tasks into 1 hour mini-tasks. I prioritise the tasks and mini-tasks, then use a Kanban board (Wikipedia page, article on LeanKit to work through them.
I’ve found that with coding I prefer longer stretches of time. 25 minutes felt too short: like I was just getting into the flow of a problem when I had to take a break. So, when I use Pomodoros for coding, I tend to double up and use 50 minute slots, with 10 minute breaks.
These two things together (tasks about 1 hour sized, plus my personal preference for 1 hour pomodoros) mean that I don’t feel the need for a pomodoro timer. I pick up a task, work on it until it’s done, then take a short break of 5 or 10 minutes. Also: I kept forgetting to start the timer!
Do you use the pomodoro technique? Do you use a Kanban board? What do you think of this crazy pomodors-without-a-timer idea? I’d love to hear from you.