Today I’m Turning Pro Again

It’s not that I haven’t already turned pro. It’s that Resistance is so immutable that you can never stop turning pro. Just like an addict can never stop being an addict, we never fully win against Resistance. At least I don’t think so. So I have to gear up each and every day for battle with Resistance.

And sure enough, today there has been more distraction than usual. So I have to fight harder with my enemy. I had a temporary dental crown today, and I have an early dinner with a friend. My schedule is a little more challenging today. So, the opportunity to succumb to Resistance and procrastinate is large. It is large every day, but today is largest, because that is the only battle I can fight. The one today.

Oh, when I met my friend for a late lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill in East Cobb, there was yet more resistance. I broke my temporary crown right in the middle of chewing on a salad! I had to forget about getting home to work after the meal and instead head across town (the wrong way, during rush hour) and go to the dentist. Fortunately, they were extremely generous and squeezed me in. They stayed late until I was taken care of. Bless their hearts. But this meant I needed to work until 9:30 or so tonight before I got my Two Pomodoro sets in! Take that, Resistance!

Two Pomodoros a Day

I consider a single Pomodoro to be 4 25-minute concentration sessions, each with a 5-minute break. The second Pomodoro gets a 20-minute break. That’s 4.5 hours of concentrated work. I call that a solid day’s work in most 8-hour shifts at a company. I think most companies would be ecstatic if they could get that much work out of each of their employees every day.

Programming is pretty exhausting anyway. Your brain probably cannot maintain too much more than two of these full-house Pomodoros each day. Adding another one will bring you up to about 7 hours. That’s impressive. Sometimes a project might require that you do that. But I think you pay a price for this level of concentration.

Now, I want a level that I know I can accomplish each day. That will be my daily battle with Resistance. That’s what I will fight each day to accomplish. Perhaps I’ll just expect a single Pomodoro on the weekends. I’m not sure. Anyway, at some point there’s a point of diminishing marginal returns. There’s a point where you start burning out. There’s a level where if you maintain it, you start wearing yourself down so much that you cannot even maintain two Pomodoros per day. I don’t want to exceed that limit without a very good reason.

I want those basic Pomodoros each day. I want good, solid ones. Four and a half hours of solid work. And that will leave time for less concentrated work, such as meetings, email reading, and conversing with fellow workers at the water cooler. That’s a solid work plan that is maintainable.