I love writing code and building awesome stuff, but there are times where fighting the urge to Reddit for 14 hours feels like this:

When this happens, I break out my secret weapon: The Pomodoro Technique. The basic premise behind this technique is alternating your time between spending several minutes on nothing but working towards a certain goal (let’s call it the hot period) or deliverable and a few minutes on anything that isn’t work (the cold period). 

While you’re working, you should be doing nothing else except the work unless it’s so critical that it can’t wait. Yes, that includes emails, IMs, and phone calls. This is critical, as this (a) trains you to put a completely unfettered focus into something, and (b) makes getting through that tough period a lot faster.

Your cold period, on the other hand, can be spent however way you want as long as it’s only for a few minutes. The cold period should be much, much shorter than the hot period; otherwise, you’ll run the risk of falling off and potentially wasting a lot of time.

My hot period is 30 minutes and my cold period is 10. For getting through a slump, this setup makes it just tolerable enough to get through the hill and the break just short enough to prevent falling into the deep end.

The official technique recommends a desk-side timer (I’m assuming to train your mind into eventually entering hot/cold periods automatically…or something), but I’ve found that any ol’ timer works just fine. I use my iPhone.

This is tom-foolery. There’s no way that this works.

Except it does! And for three reasons:

  1. It gives you something to look forward to after a few minutes of work, even if it’s short,
  2. It helps break down large and seemingly-unending challenges into smaller, more digestible ones, which makes it easier to see what the goal actually is, and
  3. It makes you feel accomplished, which will make you feel more encouraged to continue doing work so you can keep feeling accomplished.

Still not sure?

Try it for a week. Let me know how it goes!

About Me.

I’m the founder of caranna.works, an IT engineering firm in Brooklyn that builds smarter and cost-effective IT solutions that help new and growing companies grow fast. Sign up for your free consultation to find out how.http://caranna.works.

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