Hot tomato sauce

pomodoro-techniqueAt 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

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. 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

focus-boosterPractitioners 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.