Cruel and Unusual

lockedToday was my first day of being sequestered.  For those who don't know, I've been named as a technical advisor for a contract source selection committee.  As part of the process, 12 people are to sit in a room and review submitted proposals/quotes. Today was our first day.  What I will say is the time I spent in that room was very painful.  Though I sat on a jury back in 2010, that was nothing compared to this. I've been told that I will be sitting in this room, with no access to the Internet, for 8 hours a day for the next 5 weeks.  I'm not allowed to have my phone turned on.  I'm not allowed to do anything but to read and read and read.  This is not supposed to be punishment.  We were selected because each of us is considered Subject Matter Expert (SME).

Being asked to read hundreds and hundreds of pages of text a day, with no real break, is like cruel and unusual punishment to me.  I'm a guy with ADD and I'll be in a room with people and not allowed to talk to them.  This should get interesting.

So, I am going to apologize if I'm a little quiet on Twitter.  I will continue to post on my blog at night.  During the day, I plan to drink pots of coffee so I can have as many breaks as the smokers.  That will give me a chance to log in via my phone and see what is happening in the world.

Drawing by Pictofigo

Pomodora Relationship

I have a dirty little secret.  I have an on-again off-again love affair with the Pomodoro technique.  Though I deal with a wicked case of ADD, I seem to keep it in check, thanks in part to my Personal Kanban.  The other method I use, though I admit not as commonly, is a pomodoro timer.  When things get really bad, I break out the timer.  And ya know, things get back on track!  You'd think I would learn. If you find yourself reading this blog, you'll find that I'm a proponent of  using simple techniques to get things done.  If you're looking for me to do a deep dive on policy, process, and procedure, you're in the wrong place.

So, how do I get some of my work done?  [1] I limit my work in progress (WIP) and [2] I limit my time (timebox). When I do both, I tend to stay focused and deliver more. The pomodoro technique, like other techniques I like, is pretty darned simple.

So, let's talk about my Piggy Pomodoro!

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, annotate the task you were working on
  4. Take a short break (I take 5 minutes)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break (I take 10 minutes)

As part of this process, I'm moving tasks on my Kanban from Backlog to Work in Progress.  If I take a break, I move it to Blocked.  When I return, I move it back to Work in Progress.  This allows me to visualize what I'm working on and know what I was working on before my break.

Have a Kanban or Pomodoro story?  I would love to hear it.

Why do I use a Piggy, you ask?  Because tomatoes give me gas and Chickens would just be wrong.

Image:  Amazon