Theo van der Sluijs
Theo is using the Pomodoro Technique as a Software Development Manager at work and husband/father at home on daily base since August 2012. With Pomodoro he’s more organized and getting things done is fun again, and he really gets things done! At the end of the day he’s got more time left to do fun things like Photography, play with his kids, picking up courses, reading books, blogging and so much more!
I started using the Pomodoro Technique at the end of August. I first read the book, look and read a lot of sites/blogs and look at the documentation written about the pomodoro technique. I use a digital timer (having my headset on) as I don’t want to disturb my colleagues.
I was working on multiple tasks at the same time, and none of them got finished!
I’m using the Pomodoro Technique for tasks I have to do at work, and stuff I wanna do at home (like writing blogposts).
At first I had no idea how long a task would take, not in 25 minute anyway. We are using Scrum at work and I could say that a task would take 2 or 3 hours up to 16 hours. But putting tasks in 25 periods is something I never did and thought of.
I tried to split the tasks in even smaller tasks, until they became so small that they took only a few minutes. Then I started putting them together until i reached a complete task that fitts into one or multiple pomodoros.
Now I am able to make a better estimation on how long a task will take.
Okay, I’m a Manager… so a lot of people come and go. So… doing a pomodoro is really difficult as people interrupt me every 5 minutes. Not only by walking in, but also by mail and phone.
Well, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Mail was the easiest. Just close outlook while doing a non email related pomodoro. But the walking in and phone was something different. I talked to my colleagues about this and I just planned pomodoro at the beginning of the day. So the first half of the working day is for pomodoros, the second half is "walking in" time. When I recognise the phone number of a colleague on the phone I take the call (as they know that in the morning they may only call when the place is burning down). When I don’t recognise the number of who is calling, the call is being forwarded after 3 rings to another colleague. Of course when my colleague start using the pomodoro, we’ll have another problem.
Multiple! First of all I have a more organized day! I always start early whenever I can (preferably before any colleague’s start working) so the goals I want to achieve in the morning is that all tasks are done. Secondly people now know when do not interrupt me.
At first I did not know how to make tasks small enough to make them fit into pomodoros.
I started really with a low profile. I just started cutting and cutting and cutting a task into little (really little) pieces. At that moment I could exactly say how long a mini task would take. During the time the estimation become more accurate and I started putting mini tasks back together to become a real task . So at a certain time I started the day updating the activity sheet fitting the activities in pomodories. My working pomodoro day never goes over 8 pomodoros. Recording the estimates really helped with this. At first it was quite a shock to see that the tasks did not seem to fit into any pomodoro:-).
Estimations are more accurate and I actually get things done within the time I calculated!
At first it was to fit tasks in a pomodoro, and the interruptions didn’t help.
Well, the biggest change was telling my colleagues that they couldn’t just walk in anymore. Also I really had to push my self to record all the pomodoros. At first I was more a do-er instead of a thinker. Now I think first and than start the task.
Tasks became easier to work on as I had more information.
As a Manager it was quite difficult to find the right time table.
I just recorded for a week when people walked in, when phone calls where made e.g. After one week I had a pretty good feeling about what were the busiest times. After two weeks I told my team and other managers about the pomodoro technique and we decide for the interruptions. Now as a manager there is always important work that should be done today. But when? Often I just do those tasks at home in the evening. When the kids are in bed I work with the pomodoro on the tasks with high priority on the top of my activity list.
Work gets done! Even when my day is chopped into half. And I even can work on private tasks like working on a blog at home or filling out a Pomodoro request for a Certified Pomodoro Master in Pomodoro World.
My personal objective was working on my blog once again. Because of my work and busy life at home (wife, two kids) I did not have time to do other stuff.
Actually I dont have difficulties, I am starting to use the pomodoro also when I am writing blog posts.
By starting the Pomodoro Technique!
The big benefit is that I’ve more time for my hobbies.
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