Progressive Pomodoro’s

If you’re not familiar with Pomodoro’s it’s a simple concept of working for small chunks of time and then taking short breaks. The idea is to maximize your focus and optimize productivity by allowing your mind to ‘get in the zone’ for a brief period of time and then taking a short break to recharge.

There’s a ton of information out there on Pomodoro’s and how to use them: What is a Pomodoro?

In practice, I’ve found pomodoro’s work best when I’m already highly motivated. When I’m feeling great and ready to go, a 25 minute pomodoro is a good chunk of time for me to knock out some solid work.

But what happens when I’m not feeling great? What happens when I’m not on top of things? What happens when the task I’m looking at is dull and boring or when the task requires a higher level of effort to complete than my normal day-to-day? When a 25 minute pomodoro seems impossible…

I could try forcing myself to work through a half-assed pomodoro doing subpar work or I could complete a Progressive Pomodoro. A Progressive Pomodoro works like a regular pomodoro except instead of starting at 25 minutes, I start at 1 minute.

1 minute of work.

1 tiny insignificant minute of work.

This one minute is usually opening my tool of choice, reading a single email, reviewing my next action, starting the research into the task I need to accomplish. It’s just a small insignificant piece of work that I can’t say no to completing.

And then when that minute is up, I take a 1 minute break. I read an article, check my social media, or just go get a drink. It’s my 1 minute break so I do whatever I feel like doing. After that break, I take on 2 minutes of work.

2 tiny insignificant minutes of work…

Then I take a 1 minute break and after that I take on 3 minutes of work.

3 tiny insignificant minutes of work…

And I repeat this process over-and-over until I’ve either completed my task or reached a point when I start to feel like the next chunk of work is too much to accomplish. At this point, I hit the reset button. I go back to square one, back to…

1 tiny insignificant minute of work…

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