How I Pomodori

Mike Cohn introduced me to a fantastic productivity enhancing technique called “Pomodori”.  It was originally invented by Francesco Cirillo with the intent of increasing the number of hours spent per day on productive tasks.  The concept is simple: work in 30-minute increments where the first 25 minutes are dedicated to heads-down work and the last five minutes are a break.  These thirty minute increments are called “pomodori”, Italian for tomato.  Why tomato?  The name comes from the tomato shaped timers used by Cirillo’s team.  See Mike’s new book Agile Estimating and Planning for more on pomodori.

I’ve been using pomodoris to run my days ever since.  Instead of a tomato shaped timer, I use some desktop tools to achieve the same effect.

  1. First, install Google Desktop Version 2, and run in sidebar mode.
  2. Next, install the Noodle Timer 2 plug-in for Google Desktop.  This plug-in adds a simple timer to your sidebar.
  3. Configure Noodle Timer to display a 25 min and 5 min timer.  As pictured below, I use noodle timer coupled with the Todo plug in:
    Pomodori Noodle
  4. To start a pomodori, double click the 25 min timer.  When the 25 mins is up, the timer will ring, then double click the 5 min timer to start your break.  Repeat as many times as possible per day.
Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

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