Today was day 2 of trying out the Pomodoro technique. It was a very productive day. I feel like it was more productive than normal. The primary reason for this, I think, is because Pomodoro forces me to think through every task I need to accomplish each day. Having spent the first Pomodoro planning and then having added tasks as they came up made me more efficient with my tasks than I typically am on Mondays. In fact, tasks I sometimes feel like I don’t have time for on Mondays were completed today.
Aside from increasing productivity because I was working on tasks all day rather than determining what needed to be done next in between each task (or, worse, floating in between tasks rather than focusing on one thing), deferring interruptions also made each task go more smoothly and efficiently (Note: An interruption can be anything: internal, like remembering a task that needs to be done unrelated to the task at hand, or external, like an email or text message. “Interruption” is not a negative term in Pomodoro. It is simply a label for anything that comes up that changes the focus while working on a particular task.) I recently read that it takes the mind about 5 minutes to fully recover from an interruption and get back on task. I don’t know how true that is, but deferring interruptions, especially internal ones, seems to have helped my productivity a great deal.
With all the positives, I did fail to complete every task. One task was left undone because I ran out of time. In one sense, this is also a positive as it helps me better understand how long tasks actually take.
The last thing I noticed was that spending time “over-learning” was very helpful. After finishing a particular task, I had about ten minutes left in the Pomodoro. So I went back and kept working to improve the project and was able to do quite a bit to enhance it in that time. Not only am I seeing increased productivity, but I also am seeing an increase in quality. If secular companies seek to increase quality and efficiency, how much more important is it for pastors who have charge over not mere worldly wealth but over the souls of God’s people? In an upcoming post I hope to discuss Pomodoro and how to best use it in the context of pastoral ministry.