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 TIP: Using Sleep Now for the Pomodoro Technique 
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:22 am
Posts: 16
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Post TIP: Using Sleep Now for the Pomodoro Technique
I was recently reminded of an anti-procrastination technique that uses blocks of uninterrupted time as units of productivity. The idea is to gradually get away from the frightening notion that time is a flow sweeping over and past us. Instead, we start to realize we have the freedom to grab the horns of time and ride it forward, because we only need to hang on for a limited time (and then repeat!) in order to make great progress. (This metaphor is my own, and it just occurred to me.)

It's called the Pomodoro Technique, and the idea behind it is simple: a pomodoro is a 25-minute chunk of contiguous productive time, followed by a 5-15 minute break. There are more details about the technique at but what is relevant here is the fact that they strongly suggest using a wind-up kitchen timer, so that there is a ticking sound as a reminder to stay dedicated to the task at hand.

Alas, the android apps for the Pomodoro technique get all wrapped up in tracking tasks with cute tomato graphics (because Pomodoro means tomato, and the first kitchen timer used for this task was a tomato-shaped one). Worse, these apps omit the helpful ticking sound. I sighed when I realized this, and muttered to myself, "If only there was a timer app that could play a ticking sound for a set period of time, and then another sound at the end of that time..."

Then it occurred to me: I have a *purchased* app that can do this! IT EVEN HAS A TICKING CLOCK SOUND BUILT-IN!

So I opened up Sleep Now, and played around with settings awhile, and then sat down to the most solid hour and a half (or three Pomodoros' worth) I've worked in a long time. Here's the program I came up with:

Phase 1 ('relaxing', aka "Working Calmly and Productively"):
sound: clock (vol: 90%, so I can hear it underneath the instrumental music I always have playing)
duration: 25 min (a standard Pomodoro)
fade-out: 20 min (slow and subtle, but powerful: as the ticking grows more subtle, I am less aware of passing time and more aware of increasing progress instead; also, I don't want to get sensitized to the ticking sound, so I'm using it as sparingly as possible.)

Phase 2 ('sleeping', aka "Putting Work Thoughts On Hold to Steep in the Background"):
sound: rowing boat (vol 80%) (the birdies make me think of camping and being outdoors: my kind of relaxing!)
duration: 5 min (with no cross-fade from Phase 1)
fade-out: 1 min (so as soon as I am not hearing the birds anymore, I know my break is almost over)

Phase 3 ('waking up', aka "Time To Resume Working"):
sound: a pleasant, slow, gong-like chime ringtone called 'Alpha' that came with my phone (vol 85%)
fade-in: 1 min (because it isn't urgent that my break stops right at the 30th minute)
duration: 5 min (and it's not annoying enough that I have to turn it off right away, either)
snooze: 10 min (if I want to go back to 'break' for awhile longer, like I am doing right now :P)
alarm: no (but if I could find the place to set this alarm tone, I might try picking one to remind me gently but more urgently to get back to work).

So, thanks, mobotobi, for inadvertently creating the perfect tool for the Pomodoro productivity technique! :)
-Qrystal, off to go do another few Pomodoros! :)

Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:12 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:37 am
Posts: 1412
Post Re: TIP: Using Sleep Now for the Pomodoro Technique
That's a very cool and novel way to use the app. Thanks for sharing !!

Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:03 pm
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