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Flowtime Technique: the best Pomodoro alternative for flow

2023/12/31 • Max Shen

Do you keep finding the Pomodoro Technique ineffective for your work? If so, you’re not alone. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method, but it might not be the best fit for everyone.

The good news is that there’s an alternative that might work better for you - the Flowtime Technique. Before we dive into it, let’s first understand what Pomodoro is and why it might not work for you.

What’s Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, is a time management method that uses a timer to break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by 5-minutes short breaks.

These intervals are known as “pomodoros”, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.

Why Pomodoro might not work for you

While the Pomodoro Technique is popular, it might not be the best fit for everyone. Here’s why:

  1. Interruption of Flow State: The rigid timing can disrupt the deep “flow state”. When you’re deeply engrossed in a complex problem, stopping because a timer goes off can break your train of thought.

  2. Variable Task Length: Tasks vary in complexity and often don’t neatly fit into 25-minute intervals. Some tasks might require prolonged uninterrupted focus, while others are shorter and more straightforward.

  3. Context Switching: Frequent breaks mandated by the Pomodoro Technique can lead to excessive context switching. This is counterproductive for tasks that require sustained concentration and a deep understanding of the problem at hand.

The better alternative - Flowtime Technique

The Flowtime Technique a.k.a. Flowmodoro is a flexible alternative to the Pomodoro Technique that addresses the limitations of traditional time management methods.

Unlike the Pomodoro Technique, the Flowtime Technique counts up instead of counting down when you are focusing. It allows you to work until you naturally feel the need for a break. Then, when you decide to rest, you simply stop the timer, divide the focus time by 5, and set a countdown timer for your break.

This method respects your flow state and adapts to different task lengths.

How to implement the Flowtime Technique

Implementing the Flowtime Technique is simple and can start with tools as basic as a stopwatch and timer app. Here’s a basic guide:

  1. Pick one task: Begin by selecting a single task to focus on. This ensures that your attention isn’t divided across multiple tasks.

  2. Start the work: Once your task is chosen, start the stopwatch. This marks the beginning of your focused work period. Dive into your task without any distractions.

  3. Stop the work: Keep working until you naturally feel the need for a break. This could be when you feel your concentration waning or you’ve reached a logical stopping point in your task. Then, stop the stopwatch. This time recorded is your focused work duration.

  4. Take a break: Calculate your break time as one-fifth of your focused work duration. For instance, if you worked for 50 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Set a countdown timer for this break period. This ratio ensures that you get adequate rest without losing the momentum of your work.

You can repeat this cycle again and again.

Automate the process

I have been using the Flowtime Technique and it really helps me improve my productivity while coding. However, I noticed one minor drawback: the repetitive process of setting up the timer manually each time.

To address this, I automate this workflow with Flowmodor.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick one task

You can create tasks in the Tasks tab or link your tasks from Todoist. When you’re ready to start working, select the task you want to focus on.

task selector in Flowmodor app

  1. Start the work

Click on the play button to start the timer.

  1. Stop the work

When you’re ready to take a break, click on the stop button. Flowmodor will automatically calculate your break time.

  1. Take a break

Click on the play button to start the break timer. Flowmodor will notify you when it’s time to get back to work.

This automation makes it easier to implement the Flowtime Technique and focus on your work without interruptions.

Apart from the timer, Flowmodor also provides detailed stats and insights to help you understand your work patterns better.

Click here to try Flowmodor now!

Conclusion

The Flowtime Technique is a flexible alternative to the Pomodoro Technique that respects your flow state and adapts to different task lengths. This method can help you maintain your productivity and focus without the rigidity of traditional time management techniques. Give it a try and see how it works for you!

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