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I have just started to use Pomodoro today and I am trying to work out what I should and should not do during my 25 minute work time.

For my 25 minute work stint I started to write some code and realised that I had done something similar in a related project so I opened that solution to copy and paste that existing code. Question is, is this allowed?

Also, if during my 25 minutes I realise that there is an important work-related email that I need to send can I do that or should I wait for the next 25 minutes or the break ?

I am writing this question during my, now extended, 5 minute break. Is this work or is it a break?

I really will appreciate some guidance as I want to use Pomodoro to focus better on my work.

Another thing that happened to me was that a Adobe AIR update alert came up on my desktop during the 25 minutes. Should I ignore such things until the break?


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closed as off topic by Jim G., gnat, Walter, Yusubov, Dynamic Sep 29 '12 at 2:57

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Also there is some people that say if something take less than 5 or 3 minutes do it right the way, because to take a note and then come to it later may take more than this time. – Joqus Sep 26 '12 at 19:50
up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Work" should be things that don't interrupt your train of thought on the task you chose for that pomodoro. Writing code includes researching existing solutions, talking to coworkers, or whatever you need to do to keep writing the code. Things like an email you should write down a reminder to get it out of your head, but wait until the next pomodoro to actually write it.

Things like an Adobe AIR update depends on how much it's going to interrupt you. If it would take less time to just hit the update button, and you can continue on with your work, do it. If the update would disrupt your work, write down a reminder and put it off. The idea is to deal with interruptions in the most efficient manner possible without breaking your train of thought.

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When I use the Pomodoro Technique, I always start by formulating a sentence that captures what I set out to accomplish during the next 25 minutes. For example "I need to figure out what's wrong with this loop" or, when studying, "I need to understand this theorem".

Every time something unexpected pops up, ask yourself: "Is this directly related to the goal I set for these 25 minutes?" Copying and pasting code seems directly related. Emailing would also be OK, if it was directly related to the goal. Any other mails will have to wait. Asking questions on SA is OK, if and only if it is directly related to the goal, and so on.

Using this technique has really helped increase my focus. I get more things done in less time because I'm concentrating solely on the problem at hand, and not one of the other thousand other things calling for attention.

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