Michael Cohn

Wiki Contributions


Third Time: a better way to work

Total restriction is tyranny – ruled by a despotic tomato, and forced to work like a robot.


I've heard some people describe the unnaturalness of the pomodoro method as a benefit. The reasoning is that if you take breaks when you feel like it, you're likely to do it 1) after completing a task and before starting the next one, or 2) when the task you're on becomes unusually unpleasant. This timing makes it more difficult / painful to get moving again after the break. If you instead take breaks when you're interrupted by a timer, there's an obvious point at which to resume and a flow to get back into. You might even want to get back to what you were doing. I've found this somewhat true for myself.

The downside to this approach is that you're more likely to lose a lot of state than if you take breaks at times that feel natural. I don't know if there's a good way to combine the two. 

orthonormal's Shortform

In terms of naming / identifying this, do you think it would help to distinguish what makes you want to double down on the current solution? I can think of at least 3 reasons: 

  1. Not being aware that it's making things worse
  2. Knowing that it made things worse, but feeling like giving up on that tactic would make things get even worse instead of better
  3. Being committed to the tactic more than to the outcome (what pjeby described as "The Principle of the Thing") -- which could itself have multiple reasons, including emotionally-driven responses, duty-based reasoning, or explicitly believing that doubling down somehow leads to better outcomes in the long run. 

Do these all fall within the phenomenon you're trying to describe?

San Francisco Meetup Oct 18, 6:30 - 8:30

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