I’ve been using the Pomodoro technique for most of my work for a couple of years, which has been a great productivity tool. Working in time-boxed blocks helps me keep focused without distractions. I recently learned about Work Cycles, which is a similar but even more structured technique. In addition to 30-minute blocks of focused work followed by 10-minute breaks, it includes specific questions for more mindful productivity, such as setting goals and evaluating one’s energy levels. The system also works great when combined with social accountability, and that’s how I learned about it.
Being a subscriber to the NessLabs newsletter already, I decided to support their community with a paid membership and joined their forum lately as well. In the “Events” section, I saw a thread about Work Cycles, calling it “a group Pomodoro work session”, a description that piqued my interest. I signed up for the first Saturday event, as I thought I could use some motivation to catch up with work over the weekend and joined the call yesterday.
There were six of us in a Zoom call. Kristijan, our host, asked each of us what we wanted to tackle in the session. Coincidentally, all of us were planning on doing something on a tech-related topic: learning, writing, or coding. I usually don’t have a problem working on my own and motivating myself (otherwise, it would be tough when you’re self-employed). Seeing this group of yet strangers working on something similar on their Saturday, however, immediately made me change my morale rating from three up to five out of five.
We went through three 30-minute blocks. Kristijan always gave us two minutes for preparation and evaluation, which we were allowed but not obligated to share, and set the timer for work. He also led the conversation about our experiences during breaks and in the debrief following the session. At least one other participant had experience with the Pomodoro technique, whereas another person meant they’re usually working in longer blocks. We also talked about a service called Focusmate that offers a similar format in a one-on-one setting.
I don’t think this is something I would do every day. Still, I can very much imagine doing it weekly to get some additional motivation, connect with people, and talk productivity.