I tried it:
the Pomodoro Technique.

At 818 we love anything that will help us work smarter, and achieve better results as a team, and ultimately improve our client’s experience with us. Trying out different time management strategies became a necessity with a long list of projects and emails to handle, and little brain space on a Monday to figure out what needs to be done first. As a designer, it is so easy to get lost in Illustrator for hours on end, tweaking minor details on a project. This is necessary at certain points in a project but can make one lose focus on the bigger picture.

Anyway, I browsed the Google Chrome web store for an extension that would help with time management and thought it would be fun to give this one a try for a couple of days. It is based on the famous Pomodoro technique– read on to see my results!


Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, this time management method breaks down larger projects into smaller intervals.

The method is simple. Choose a task. Work on that task for 25 minutes. Take a 3-minute break. Repeat these steps 4 times (essentially 4 tasks) and then take a 10-15 minute break.

The 3 parts (plan, track, record) of this method are essential when you try it out. Planning gives weight to your “to-do” list and enables you to estimate the effort a task will require. Tracking the time reduces internal interruptions, creates urgency, and gives you a specific goal. Recording adds a sense of accomplishment, while also giving hard data that you can improve on in the future.


Try #1: I decided my first task would be to plan the 6 social media posts I had for a client this week. I guessed that it would take me about 2.5 hours, but this whole thing is about working smarter, and in less time, right? So, 4 Pomodoro rounds should get the job done, I thought. I wrote down “6 blog posts”, set the timer on my web browser, had no music, and got to work. Then my cell phone chirped with a message- and I wanted to check it. Don’t worry! I have slightly more self control than a golden retreiver puppy, so I handled it by putting the phone in my desk drawer. Back to focus. Another thing to note, the Google Crome extension legitmately covers your browser when the time is up. Kind of jarring, but I get it, I need to take a break.


Try #2



Hyper focused on one task:

Your day flies by:

Sense of accomplishment


INTENTIONALLY LIMITED: intentionally limited, therefore focused. 



REALLY RIGID: it’s a timer tyrant. You are constantly watching the time, which makes it a little too urgent.

END GAME: this method can only really work if there is a specific end in sight, which is super difficult with some tasks.

CREATIVE CRUNCH: creativity is really hard when it is stifled to a specific time. Concept work is hard to measure.

SELF-AWARENESS: this method is not creating a self-awareness that I strive for. I am just a mindless bot living by the timer, not actually taking a break when my body tells me I need it.


Pomodoro: the strict mom

A little too rigid. There isn’t much fluidity, which can make many people feel constrained.

I feel like there is a give and take, this only worked for me on a few projects that were easily measureable. Sometimes you need the fluidity to work on a myriad of projects at one time, sometimes you need silence, discipline, and structure. The Pomodoro technique can be extremely effective for those times that you need to make very fast progress on a project or task.

I usually think of getting things done by the week/day, but this technique breaks it down even more—by easily managing the minutes of the day. Pomodoro sessions will leave you feeling like you achieved more in one day than the rest of your coworkers achieved the entire year.
So, yeah. I am basically a super-human. Humble, though.

Pomodoro is kind of like that strict mom whose house is a little too clean, and asks everyone to “quiet down” when they are laughing. There is for sure a time and place for this, but   😄

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