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Why adjusting the length of each Pomodoro is not recommended

When you don’t use the Pomodoro Technique, you have many tasks to do, and your teammates or your client wants to know when you’re going to be done with them. Often that creates problems.

Predicting how long something will take and then realizing that your guess is counted as a promise creates anxiety. The problem is that you don’t know exactly how long the activity will take, and you will be punished—by, for example, missing a client’s expectations—if you don’t live up to your prediction. Anxiety reduces motivation and productivity.

As you know, in the Pomodoro Technique, a single Pomodoro is 25 minutes of effort. It’s an indivisible and abstract unit—a timebox that disregards scope. Basically, you promise to spend 25 minutes of effort in the best possible way that you can. Whether the activity is completed during this iteration is not an issue while you’re in the Pomodoro. The only thing that counts at that moment is that you do your best.

How does this help you tell your client or your teammates when you’ll be done with an activity? Actually, it doesn’t. But, when you’re in a Pomodoro, you should only care about the 25 minutes—not about when the whole activity is completed. This will help you focus.

The clock is visible, and it counts down from 25 to 0. After 25 minutes, you get the intrinsic reward. You write an X and take a break with guiltfree playing.11 This gives you the feeling, throughout the Pomodoro, that you’re getting closer and closer to a reward.

-- Pomodoro Technique Illustrated; ch. 3 Mechanics; sec. Abstract Time Unit

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