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Squeezing time out of weekends

stoning_man profile image Tan Shun Yuan ・2 min read

In the beginning

Having only weekends to work on side projects, I was strapped for time. In an attempt to create more time during the weekends, I started waking up early in the weekends around 6 to 7 am. The temptation of lazing in bed is strong but the drive to generate time was stronger so I dragged myself out of bed and went on with the day.

Waking up early does not get easier even after a month, but I pressed on and got work done. However, being awake for long hours made me drained and prone to distraction. I scrolling through social media applications on my phone or watching youtube videos excessively, procrastinating at the task on hand. At the end of the day, I am left with little time to complete my work.

Taking Shape

Many weekends passed with me procrastinating, I decided that it needs to stop. Thus I wrote a guideline on what items that needs to be completed. Using Trello, I started to list down the tasks that need to be done and whenever I finished a task I would mark it as completed and move on to the next one. Having a guideline gave shape to my day but I was still distracted when dealing with daunting tasks such as debugging or planning out features which takes up a huge amount of time.

Experimenting

To prevent me from getting distracted while completing tasks, I began allocating 2 to 3 hours time frame for completing the task only to break when the task was finished. Initially, I can complete my tasks but overtime it increasingly got more difficult to focus.

When a large time frame did not work, I shifted to a smaller time frame of one-hour intervals but it was still difficult to focus. While desperately searching for a solution, I came across the Pomodoro technique which indicates that one will work for 25 minutes and rest for 5 minutes. The ideal amount of cycle to hit is 8 with break time incrementing up to 15 minutes.

Pomodoro Technique

Initially, I was skeptical about the time frame given to focus as it was only 25 minutes. After all writing code is all about immersing yourself in the lines and getting lost with time right? Well, I was never wrong more. The technique worked miracles, allowing myself to work for 25 minutes meant that I can have a laser focus on the task at hand and the short breather of 5 minutes allowed me to plan what I was going to do next.

Conclusion

Overall, I am very happy with the results that I have achieved with the Pomodoro technique. It has allowed me to complete my work at consistent pacing, speeding up the development process. Moreover, with break time I can reduce the fatigue that I faced previously while coding for long periods.

Additionally, at the end of the day, I will do a review of what I have done and written it down. This is to prove to myself that I have indeed done something during the day and did not waste it.

Hope you have enjoyed it!

Discussion

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yusufcodes

I've been using Pomodoro for years as a student, and now as an early developer. It can be tempting to become immersed into the project you are on but taking a step back can actually help you solve your issues.