Friday, 8 April 2011

Over Learning

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Pomodoro Technique Illustrated (Neill Alexander) (Noteberg)
- Highlight Loc. 646-56  | Added on Sunday, March 27, 2011, 12:49 PM

Never switch activities in the middle of a Pomodoro. If you finish an activity halfway through a Pomodoro, spend the rest of the time over-learning. For example, if I finish early, I review what I have done, I repeat what I have learned, I see whether I can enhance my work, or I note new conclusions on paper---until the kitchen timer rings. Over-learning is when we continue to study or practice even after attaining proficiency. Malcolm Gladwell argues that this is necessary if we want to be really good at something: "Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.".[32] So, you're not allowed to impulsively switch activities in the middle of a Pomodoro. In fact, just having the option to switch in the middle is a recurring disturbance. You can't just stop in the middle of a Pomodoro and take a break either. Then you will lose the rhythm. And since the stopped Pomodoro was shorter, it will not be compatible---in terms of tracking---with other Pomodori.
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I hadn't heard or read the phrase 'over-learning' prior to reading this book. It makes sense, and is something I am looking to adopt to improve my technical / programming skills.

The Pomodoro Technique is, 1 week later, proving to be a useful addition to my personal productivity.

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