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Comment author: MattG 26 December 2014 09:52:13PM 0 points [-]

Interesting thing about the 30 is it also has a small healthy meal attached. Eben says it has to do with maintaining blood sugar - could possibly be that without the meal, you're simply depleting your willpower/blood glucose, Which is why you can't do more than two in a row

Comment author: peter_hurford 27 December 2014 05:31:25AM 0 points [-]

That's a good point. I often eat while working or during my fifteen minute break, and I agree that feels very important for keeping my energy up. I don't know if I ought to dedicate time to eating and only eating, or if I should not eat for the two hour work block, though.

Comment author: VAuroch 26 December 2014 10:52:33PM 0 points [-]

From your description, your break looks more like a change in type of work, for the most part. The useful tasks you outline probably couldn't actually fill up 15 minutes, but just from reading the description it looks dominated by things I also wouldn't consider to be 'resting'.

Comment author: peter_hurford 27 December 2014 05:29:39AM 0 points [-]

From your description, your break looks more like a change in type of work, for the most part.

That's fair. Maybe "work - plan" is a better description than "work - rest"? I personally find the different kind of work still restful, in that I'm getting food, moving around, thinking about different things, not focusing super-hard, but I guess other people might differ on that. Interesting to know.

Comment author: MattG 26 December 2014 12:47:33AM 2 points [-]

Eben Pagan has his 60-60-30 technique based around circadian rhythms, may be worth looking into for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XbRYPriDSw

Comment author: peter_hurford 26 December 2014 06:36:25AM 0 points [-]

Huh, 60-60-30, which is really 50(work)-10(break)-50(work)-30(break). Not too different from my proposal, except for the thirty minute break. I wonder how crucial that part is. Interestingly, I've never managed to do more than two of these 45-15 in a row, so maybe that's something.

Thanks.

Comment author: Andy_McKenzie 25 December 2014 02:32:56PM 2 points [-]

I was thinking of social support of other people's goals.

Comment author: peter_hurford 25 December 2014 05:09:38PM 1 point [-]

Strictly speaking, is there any advantage for people who want to improve themselves to coordinate their efforts to start on the same day?

Not really, but there's an advantage to having one particular day on which to do things, to avoid the "I'll do it someday" problem.

Comment author: Andy_McKenzie 25 December 2014 12:02:23AM 0 points [-]

How much? :)

Comment author: peter_hurford 25 December 2014 12:48:19AM 0 points [-]

It depends. No hard and fast limit yet. I usually have to walk at least to get more food, refill my water bottle, go to the bathroom, etc. Sometimes I walk around more. If I'm tired, I like to take a 5-10min walk outside.

Comment author: Andy_McKenzie 24 December 2014 10:23:01PM 1 point [-]

Do you walk around for at least a little bit of this 15 minute period?

Comment author: peter_hurford 24 December 2014 11:41:40PM 1 point [-]

Yes.

Comment author: bingobongo 24 December 2014 08:45:31PM 1 point [-]

In my opinion you are not resting at all, if that's your routine.

Comment author: peter_hurford 24 December 2014 09:48:54PM 1 point [-]

Different things work for different people. If you need more rest, then modify the routine accordingly. Or maybe this routine simply isn't for you. Consider that it may be for others.

Also, it's not like one would do this 24/7. Longer rests -- "real rests" -- can take place.

You also may underestimate how long fifteen minutes is.

Pomodoros for Programmers

6 peter_hurford 24 December 2014 06:26PM

Unless you’ve been living under a productivity rock, you probably have heard of the Pomodoro Technique, where you use a timer to do 25 minutes of focused work, and then take a five minute break.

I used to use this technique a lot, up until I started doing computer programming.

You see, with computer programming, I get into this mysterious flow that consumes me, and I keep blazing passed the 25 minute interval, and the buzz of the Pomodoro merely distracts me and derails my work.

However, it’s still important to re-focus, even as a programmer. So I’ve tentatively settled on the following: 45 minutes of intense work followed by 15 minutes of intense break, using this custom timer made in a snap. (Inspired by the idea of "tocks", attributed to the co-founders of Beeminder, though I can’t seem to find a canonical post explaining it.)

You probably know what happens in the period of intense work — uninterrupted work in a distraction-free environment where I code like a mad man. If anything bubbles up in my mind that’s not a task, I write it down to address later.

But the intense break is important.

 

Here’s my routine:

1.) A bit of rest. Look away from the computer. Let loose. Focus.

2.) Ask myself — am I comfortable? Do I need to do anything to rearrange my working environment? Am I sufficiently free from distractions? Do I need to do anything to address past distractions? Do I need to refill my water bottle? Do I need to get more food?

3.) What did I do over the past 45 minutes? Did I do it right? Does it need revision?

4.) What did I miss over the past 45 minutes? Do I have any important emails that need to be processed right away? Did anyone send me messages over HipChat? Any FB notifications? I disconnect from these services while during my work sprint, but the urgency of work communication requires me to reconnect every once in awhile. I try to put off responding to messages until the end of the day if they don’t require an urgent response, though.

5.) What should I do during the next 45 minute interval? Am I on track to accomplish my goals? Will my next 45 minute interval be distraction-free? Do I need to do anything to address future distractions?

6.) Are there any quick tasks I can accomplish? Any emails I need to send? Any notes I need to take? Did anything bubble up that I should address now?

 

The breaks are just as important as the work, and it emphasizes self-care, which is important and often neglected. I find that each 15 minute break propels my next 45 minute block to be better than if I had spent the entire 60 minutes working nonstop.

In response to How to Read
Comment author: garabik 23 December 2014 12:22:49PM 4 points [-]

I've made a decision to read fiction primarily in foreign languages, to get some side benefit from it (in addition to the entertainment). This did slow my reading down (I am quite a fast reader) - several times unless I am already proficient in the language. This is mostly because of my conscious effort to pay attention to the grammar and vocabulary (dictionary lookup not included) - otherwise the slowing down would not be so pronounced.

I found out that after 5 or 10 books (and introductory lessons), reading in a foreign language stops being a hard work and becomes enjoyable again.

In response to comment by garabik on How to Read
Comment author: peter_hurford 23 December 2014 04:41:50PM 0 points [-]

That's an awesome idea! I'll do that if I ever learn a foreign language well enough...

In response to How to Read
Comment author: adamzerner 23 December 2014 05:11:14AM *  1 point [-]

I like Derek Sivers' book summaries - http://sivers.org/book .

In response to comment by adamzerner on How to Read
Comment author: peter_hurford 23 December 2014 06:03:59AM 0 points [-]

Nice! Thanks!

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