Flow or Pomodoro

There are two terms I hear the most in the context of productivity: ‘Flow‘ and ‘The Pomodoro Technique.’ Both of them are lauded as silver bullets for productivity godliness.

They both seem like good ideas, but I don’t think you can use them both. Some people say they switch techniques depending on what kind of work they’re doing. They may be onto something.

But, how can we possibly choose between the two?! We’re all doomed to a life of analysis paralysis, because there are two competing techniques that we can’t do at the same time.

No, don’t be silly.

First of all, don’t prematurely optimize your life. If you get work done, and you’re happy with the dent you’re making in the world, just relax and enjoy the ride. You don’t need any techniques.

Next, pretend you’re a good programmer, and find the answer for yourself. Try one technique for a while, and measure your productivity. Then, switch to the other, and measure again. You now have an obvious answer for which technique works best for you. Just make sure that you compare the same kind of work (deep vs shallow).

Today’s blog post idea brought to you by the guy who is making One Hour One Life. He did a talk at GDC that got me thinking about my own work style. Go watch it, and go play his game (it’s awesome).

I’ll update you once I have done my own performance profiling on my productivity.



Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.