I know this isn’t QA specific, but I wanted to share something that I haven’t done in years, and that’s now having good results. Just after writing how being disorganized and unfocused can be an advantage to testers, I decided to try out the Pomodoro Technique again.
If you’ve never heard of it, the Pomodoro Technique is a way to break up a day’s work into short timespans. Normally this is 25 minutes, and ideally, you’d pick tasks that can be completed in that time. Each block of time is called a Pomodoro. After you finish a Pomodoro, you get a short 5 minute break. Every four Pomodoros, you get a longer break–30 minutes.
It’s admittedly a productivity hack, and the reason it works is because there’s a mental shift that happens, when you commit to focusing on something for just 25 minutes. If otherwise you might think you have to spend the whole day just “doing stuff”, maybe you won’t be as effective.
I know I’m not, so that’s why I’m trying it. Crutches can be very helpful, even if you realize that’s what they are 🙂
There’s an app that I’m trying, called Pomodroido. It’s working really well–it’s very configurable in ways such as how to let you know when your time’s up, and how long to have the Pomodoros, short breaks and long breaks last. You can fine-tune the app to get you to focus for longer (or shorter) periods, whichever works best for you.
Plus, you can see how many Pomodoros have been completed today, and this week, which is helpful for the built-in progress system, that gives you a title as you complete more Pomodoros (right now I’m a “Beginner”). The per-day/per-week tracking lets you benchmark how many Pomodoros you’re completing, so you can set your own goals. Maybe you want to try 25 per week, or 10 per day? That’s possible with this app.
If you find your mind wandering and want to see if you can increase your focus, I’d recommend this app, or a similar one. It’s been a very helpful tool to me, one which I’m already seeing an increase in productivity with, and so I wanted to share it with you.
And: If you start using something like this (or already are), can you share what you think? How well does it work for you? What do you like or dislike about it? What are the technique’s shortcomings? I’m interested in hearing what you think.