Tomatoes, single-tasking & innovation?

Pomodoro for new product innovationOkay, so a tomato can’t make your new product innovation move any faster, but a little concept called the Pomodoro Technique might help eliminate some of the bad multi-tasking that wastes time and can slow any new product project down.

I’ve written a lot lately about eliminating multi-tasking for personal and corporate productivity, but only recently ran across this concept from a link in the Knowledge Jolt with Jack blog. I think it makes a nice little adjunct to Personal Kanban which I’ve written about before. It works like this:

  1. Break your work into small bite size tasks
  2. Set a timer and work only on that item
  3. After 25 minutes, take 5 minute break
  4. After doing this a few times take a longer break.

Why’s it called Pomodoro? Simply because the timer that is used looks like a tomato (or Pomodoro in Italian).

The upside – Pomodoro is an easy to implement tool, and by staying focused, most folks are going to find they get more done. Plus it’s simple, and I’m all about simplifying.

The downside – Okay, it’s a little redundant with Personal Kanban, which says you should limit work in process already. But it’s easy for most of us to get distracted dozens of times per day only to realize we haven’t pulled much through our Kanban. WIP limit or not, that this can be an easy way to force yourself to stay focused for a manageable chunk of time.

Also, not all tasks can be broken down into 25 minute bites. And even if they can, there are some tasks where immersing yourself and getting into a flow for a longer period can be very helpful. When I write, I sometimes find that I get into a flow state where I’m productive for hours. Stopping after 25 minutes would be counter-productive. I’d recommend adopting the discipline, but setting longer times for such flow tasks.

Simple Bottom Line: Adding Pomodoro to Personal Kanban might be a powerful one-two punch. I’m giving it a try – how about you?

This article appears by permission of the author and was originally published on his Simplifying Innovation blog.

Dalton on Innovation

Mike Dalton is the author of Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits – with your existing resources

Author: Michael Dalton

Mike Dalton's Guided Innovation Group, works with companies that want more impact form new product innovation in less time. Clients credit Mike with helping them double new product profits and cut time to market by more than half. He's also the author of the book Simplifying Innovation: Doubling speed to market and new product profits - with your existing resources. You can download free sample chapters at Simplifying Innovation. Prior to starting the Guided Innovation Group, he had 24 years of experience growing new and existing businesses as a general management and business development executive for the industrial polymer division of the multi-billion dollar S.C. Johnson & Son family of companies. He holds an MBA in marketing & finance from the University of Chicago and a chemical engineering, gas, and energy technology degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. You can learn more about getting more impact from your innovation by visiting Guided Innovation where they offer an array of reports and other free innovation resources.

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