As mentioned in my previous post, my colleague Troels Richter is working on a Pomodoro application. What I did not say was that it is actually already available for people to try out – it’s called Tomatoday, it’s based on Silverlight 3 (SL4 version on the way), and it can be found at www.tomatoday.dk.
It consists of an online activity inventory and a simple timer application that is pretty nifty when run out-of-browser. It will of course be even niftier when it gets fully ported to Silverlight 4 when the timer gets to run in chrome-less out-of-browser mode.
If you try out the application, and you have suggestions or ideas, we will be very grateful if you submit them to Tomatoday’s forum at Uservoice.
At Trifork where I work, one of the hot new things is The Pomodoro Technique, as it seems more and more of my colleagues are experimenting with it. If you don’t know anything about it, I can tell you (in my own words) that it’s a personal mini-process to make you more productive, thus more happy and fulfilled.
It goes like this (from www.pomodorotechnique.com):
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
- where tasks are chosen from your “todo today”, which you assemble in the morning by picking tasks from your “activity inventory”. There’s a few more tricks in it, e.g. a form of notation that fits the process well and how to track disturbances.
Having done this for little more than one month, I think I can safely say that it is almost guaranteed to either
- make you more productive
- make you very conscious about why you’re not that productive
Practitioners of the technique usually prefer to use a real egg timer (in the shape of a tomato of course), because of the tactile feedback you get from actually manipulating a physical object – but as I am sitting in an open office with 6 other developers, and some of them are doing pomodoros as well, we are using the next best thing: a Pomodoro timer app.
Right now I am using the Focus Booster app, because it’s pretty and doesn’t take up that much space on the screen. One of my colleagues, Troels Richter, is currently working on a more complete Pomodoro app (in Silverlight) that will help in all the aspects of the Pomodoro Technique.