Discover more from Tending with Dr. Kate Henry
Breaking Out the Ol' Pomodoro Method
when and why I choose to use it
You can listen to an audio version of this newsletter above. Please note that this is unedited and I’m recording in my home office, so you may hear some meows, raindrops, or traffic in the background.
Before I dive in, I have some quick news to share!
My May 17th Queer Valley Leadership Group event is now virtual. You can learn more here.
My May 18th “Work Smarter, Not Harder” workshop is cancelled and will be rescheduled for sometime in September. If you signed up, you’ll receive a message from Bloom Local about next steps.
On Monday, June 12th I’ll be offering a virtual productivity workshop as a part of PhD Life Raft’s Month of Mondays. I’ll share more details soon!
May co-working for paid subscribers will take place on Tuesday May 23rd 11am-2pm EDT. I’ll send an email later this week with Zoom information.
I’m collecting questions for the May Q&A for paid subscribers through Monday May 22nd, so please submit questions via comment or email to email@example.com.
Most folks in the knowledge work and academic world have heard of the Pomodoro Method.
It’s a version of the Pulse and Pause Approach, which alternates between a focused work session (the pulse) with an intentional break session (the pause). I often jokingly call it “ye olde” method, but it’s still massively popular, and for good reason.
A few years ago I created a free resource called “100 Pomodoros in 1 Month,” which helped me to track 100 different focused work sessions. I tend to use the Pomodoro Method when:
I’m working on overlapping projects and need to increase my output
I am feeling distracted and craving a reset
I need to set boundaries around how long I work on a particular task
I want to track how long certain tasks take
I’m working on a complex project and wish to measure my progress by time spent versus tasks accomplished
Just today, I used Pomodoros to respond to client emails, create a video lesson, prepare for a meeting with my VA, and work on this Substack letter! The traditional Pomodoro approach is 25 minutes for your pulse and 5 minutes for your pause (after 4 sets you take a longer break). I’ve been sticking with that, but extending my 5-minute breaks if I want to make lunch or rest my senses.
I’m big on personalizing your approach to productivity, so here are a few ways you can personalize your own Pulse and Pause session:
Set your pulse and pause session to a time that feels accessible to you. 25 minutes feel daunting? Go for 10! Want to do some deep work or hit your flow state? Go on and do a 45-minute session. Just be sure to take some breaks, okay?
Generate a list of tasks you can do during your break so you’re more likely to actually take a break. Here’s my list: go say hi to Kris, make a cup of tea or coffee, check the mail, do a half-forward bend with my hands against the wall, watch the bunnies in the back yard. And yes, sometimes I check social media during my break!
Use an app or timer that you like so you know when to start and stop. I just downloaded the Forest app for $4 but there are tons of free Pomodoro timer trackers online. I’m really into the Forest one because it has a rainstorm sound that plays during the Pomodoro session and I love background noise when I work.
Make your Pomodoros a game with my free 100 Pomodoros in One Month workbook. It includes sheets for doing 50 or 100 Pomodoros, tracking your progress using a cute coloring sheet, and space to write down the tasks you complete during each Pomodoro.
Here’s a photo of a sheet I filled out when I completed 100 Pomodoros in September, 2020:
What about you?
Do you use the Pomodoro Method? If so, what kinds of tasks do you use it for?
This section of my letters is for things that made me say “hmmm” or “wow!” recently.
The weather is finally nice enough that I can eat lunch outside, which means it’s time for charcuterie! My favorite lunch is a board of raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, and bread. I’ve been fancy and adding pickled green beans, beets, and stuffed grape leaves. It’s delectable.
In proof that I’ve married the right person, on Friday Kris came home from work bearing the new Zelda game, which I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this weekend. When I feel stuck and can’t figure out a puzzle, I turn it off and we switch to playing the new Jedi: Survivor game, which is also very cool but looks very hard, so I’m glad I’m “sights” and not “sticks” for that one. If that sounds weird, it’s nerd-speak for one person playing—sticks—and one person watching and being an extra set of eyes, or sights.
For Your Consideration
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