Opinion: Top 3 leadership skills

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Audio recording of this post

Being a leader implies a broad set of responsibilities and requires skills that differ from individual contributors’ skills. I was thinking about it yesterday morning and then the question came to my head “what are the most important ones?”. Huh, the wheels immediately started spinning in my head trying to find the answer.  Then I remembered that limitations foster creativity (here are two posts on this topic), so I decided to add a limit of 3 skills to make the exercise even more fun. So here are the top 3 of my choice.

1. Communication

“Communication is oxygen” sounds like a mantra in my head not only because it’s part of the Automattic creed, but because I feel it with my bones. I doubt there is a leadership book exists which doesn’t mention communication as one of the top skills for leaders or managers. I also think communication is the most powerful weapon in the leader’s toolbelt.

There is a lot already said and written about it, but through this year I’ve realized that being good at communication is not just being able to speak or write well and without mistakes. It’s much more – from understanding the theory of information processing by humans to resolving conflicts, from effectively expressing yourself to listening and creating a space for others to share, from stretching people to supporting them, from mentoring and coaching individuals to learning from them, and so on. 

As you can see, communication is a very broad topic, so mastering and practicing various aspects of it will never hurt.

2. Sense of balance

Leadership is a very inaccurate science. There is no one size fits all solution and many recommendations depend on the context. That’s why I believe it’s crucial to seek, define, and regularly check the balance which works well for your case. That applies basically to everything – the amount of uncertainty affordable in the projects and processes, the amount of autonomy and control you want to have in a team, the amount of tech debt taken into sprints, the amount of time spent on learning and self-development, saying yes or no to many ideas and initiatives; the list may go very long.

No matter what was your past experience, it takes time to adjust balance in your current context, so pure curiosity, observations, and regular feedback loops are your best friends in finding the right balance.

3. Self-care

Supporting your team and its individuals is another extremely impactful way of leading the team to success. However, you won’t be able to do it well if your battery is drained. That’s why I think taking care of yourself is necessary, required, and mandatory in that role. If you like many others experience impostor syndrome or feel guilty about taking care of yourself, it’s time to reach out for support. Talk to your lead, talk to your peers, consider working with a coach or a therapyst, because sometimes it’s really hard to cope with. And last but not least don’t forget that simple aircraft instruction “Put the mask on yourself first”.


Note: this is purely my opinion as of today, after being more than one year in that role with a fully distributed team, after experiencing a team growth from 4 to 12 people, after experiencing a team split, team focus shift, delivering multiple projects, switching team focus, talking to and learning from many great leads, mentors, and coaches around me.

I’m curious what would be your top 3, so I would be happy if you share them in the comments under the post.

Output vs Outcome

TLDR; Working hard and working smart are not the same things. The first ensures a lot of work is done, the second – moves you forward to the desired destination. Focus on what really matters can significantly boost individual/team/company effectiveness.

Last week I’ve read this post from The ReadMe Project about effective communication which resonated with me. The gist is that truly effective communication leads to the desired outcome rather than desired output. I think this rule could and should be applied to many other things as well: the code we write, the decisions we make, the projects we lead, the products we create, the actions or inactions we make, and so on.

The key difference between the two to my understanding is the output designates the artifact of the work like feature, document, message, post, etc, while the outcome defines the desired impact you want to achieve like improved user experience, change in the audience behavior, metric growth and so on. That’s why the outcome is what really matters and not the output.

I’m not saying the output is not important; on the contrary, I believe the output is very important. However, most of the time the outcome can be achieved in several different ways but often people focus on the output they planned to create and forget about the desired outcome, or don’t think about it at all. So far I’ve seen two very common patterns: doing something without thinking about the outcome and losing the focus on the outcome in the process. 

Not thinking about the outcome

This is usually caused by the too-narrow thinking which might have many various reasons underneath it ranging from not enough experience to dangerous not my problem mentality. In simple cases, the situation could be improved by clarifying the context for the activity, organizing learning or mentorship, or providing feedback. In complex cases, a more thorough investigation is needed to find the root of the problem and work with it.

Losing focus in the process

This applies to longer activities like projects, roadmaps, etc. Before the kick-off, at the planning phase, it’s quite common to keep the final purpose in mind to define what output is required to achieve the project goals. However, in the execution phase, that sense of initial purpose vanishes very soon and, if completely lost, can often lead to irrational or even wrong decisions. 

There are two key reasons for this: different levels of thinking and different levels of involvement from people between planning and execution phases. The planning phase assumes strategic thinking and deeper involvement from leadership (explicit or implicit), while the execution phase requires tactical thinking and deeper involvement from the implementation team.

To maintain the focus on outcome and make it part of the team or organization culture there are a few simple things needed:

  1. Create context for people operating on the tactical level. Make sure they understand the desired outcome and indicators of success. Worth mentioning is that the outcome is more important than output.
  2. Make the outcome a part of the progress tracking. First of all, it’s important to track the progress of the longer initiatives, so if you don’t do this yet it’s time to think about it. Second, make sure the desired outcome is part of the tracking progress, either via metrics or as a reminder of what you’re trying to achieve in the end.
  3. Reiterate the final goal/mission regularly to refresh it in people minds.

Although things above look simple, doing them consistently is tough, but only consistency will be able to build a new habit with time.

Examples

Output thinking

We should ship a new payment method X by the end of the month.

Outcome thinking

We help merchants and shoppers in Europe to sell and buy with their favorite payment method by adding a new payment method X to our product.

I need to create a weekly/monthly/quarterly report for my manager.

I’m providing the summary to my manager so they can do their work more effectively.

I need to gather feedback from peers and stakeholders.

I’m trying to make a better decision by incorporating the knowledge, experience, and unique perspective of my peers and stakeholders.

Validation

How do I know if somebody, including myself, is focused on the outcome over output? One of the best ways to check this is a five whys technique. Although the technique is originally intended to get to the root of the problem in this case it helps to see if you sense the root of intention:

  1. What am I doing at the moment and what should be the result of the activity? => Output.
  2. Why this result is important? => Outcome 1.
  3. Why outcome 1 is important? => Outcome 2.
  4. Why …

Ideally, after a few iterations, you should see the movement towards the mission statement (personal, team, or company). If it’s not happening, that it’s a good signal to step back and rethink if the task or even the whole project is still relevant, but that’s another story.


That’s it, I encourage you to raise your awareness about the outcomes you’re trying to achieve as it’s what really matters in the end.

Success diary – a simple tool with multiple powers

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TLDR; Are you lacking confidence? Don’t feel satisfied with your daily progress? Struggling with providing positive feedback to your reports, peers, or managers? You should try success diary practice! Every day, even the tough one, has positive moments and elements of success. Training yourself to spot it can help you in many ways!

Some time ago I was reading Bodo Shaeffer’s book “A dog called Money”. Despite being a very good book for kids and adults about dealing with money it mentions a fantastic tool called “success diary”. You need to write down at least 5 elements of success every day and that’s it. The idea sounds simple, isn’t it? But the power is huge, especially for leaders.  In the book, the diary was aiming to improve the self-confidence of a person, but after practicing it myself for almost a year I’m pretty sure it gives much more than that.

Success diary powers

Reflection 

Reflection is a great practice helping to increase awareness, performance and boost growth. While doing exercise you create a space for yourself to step back, look at your day and observe it in a different way. I was surprised how many great things could go unnoticed in the flow of tasks without such a reflection. 

Positive focus

Since you’re intentionally looking for success you tune your brain to search for it and filter out everything not matching “your request”. By doing so you train the brain to spot success even in small things.

Acknowledgment

By writing items down you consciously recognize and acknowledge your success. If you’re familiar with git it’s like committing new items to a success repository inside your brain. As an outcome, your satisfaction, confidence, and motivation are growing.  

Satisfaction

The third inborn intention is Sense of Accomplishment.

mentalhealthstrength.com

It feels good to accomplish something, right? Every item in your daily success list is an accomplishment. No matter if it is small or huge, it positively contributes to the sense of accomplishment and maintains it with time. If you look back in the diary after 30 days you’ll get at least 150 items. Do it for a year and you’ll be successful at least 1825 times! 

Confidence

Have you heard of Impostor syndrome? It’s very common in tech and often can lead to lower self-confidence and belief in own abilities. The success diary helps here by building a positive track of records. When feeling a lack of confidence or fear of failure just open the diary on the last page and start reading back until the feeling goes away, it should help 😉

Motivation 

You did the exercise yesterday and you know you’ll do it again today, tomorrow, and so on. This habit motivates you to prepare for success! So you might take some extra effort or plan some wins for the days ahead.

How does it help leaders?

There are few more bonuses for leaders making their life easier at work.

First of all, for yourself, it helps to fight the lack of immediate accomplishments after transitioning from an Individual contributor role. I wrote a bit about it in my previous post.

Secondly, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to acknowledge and celebrate team success as well as to provide feedback, including positive ones, to your direct reports, peers, and managers. The success diary trains your muscles to spot success not only in yourself but around you too! So it will be much easier to provide positive feedback or recognize the achievements of others and will lead to better team morale.

My experience

I practiced the success diary for almost a year, every day, and stopped only when I felt I don’t need it anymore because I noticed I started doing it automatically in my mind. In the beginning, I was struggling to spot success. Sometimes I was staring at a blank page for minutes or stuck after 2-3 items. The key mistake was to look for huge or big wins only and to neglect smaller ones. After some time it got to the habit and I could easily write 5 – 10 items within several minutes. Moreover, I started noticing signs of success around me and noticed I have a better mood in general.


Is it cheating or gaming? No, I don’t think so, at least if you are being honest with yourself. It doesn’t mitigate mistakes or failures, it doesn’t keep you always positive either, but it supports you in stormy and good days as well as gives powers to support people around you. 

Tune your mind for success and enjoy it!

Mind shift: from engineer to lead

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TLDR; There is a significant difference between individual contributor and team lead roles. The lead’s focus is on multiplying a compound value delivered by the team, rather than accomplishing something on their own. So the mind shift is necessary to transition into a leadership role successfully. 

Have you been thinking about stepping into a leadership role or just get “promoted” to team lead? That’s great, congratulations! The leadership role is great and has lots of fun, challenges, and interesting cases, but it requires a different mindset compared to the engineering role.

Note: further I’ll use the terms engineer, developer, and individual contributor interchangeably. Although it’s debatable and some people prefer one title over the other, however, the difference is not so important in the context of this post.

Promotion or not?

Apparently, the transition from individual contributor to team lead is a big change, but let’s take a look if it is a promotion at all? 

It has some elements of promotion. E.g. you’ll have direct reports, some of them even might be your previous peers or you could get a compensation raise (happens pretty often, but not always). Also, there are many talks in the industry stating that team leadership is an obvious next career step for any senior-level developer. 

I can’t agree with the last statement because the leadership role implies a significant change in expectations from the candidate, responsibilities, and skills necessary to be good at it. On top of that, I truly believe stepping into a leadership role requires a significant mind shift. This makes the whole change closer to career path switch rather than promotion.

So you can decide for yourself if it’s a promotion or not, but the size of the change remains significant no matter what you decide 🙂

How successful team lead looks like?

When I was considering a team lead role the coach asked me: “How successful team lead looks like in your mind?”. I was absolutely sure how a good developer looks like – they write high-quality code, do great code reviews, decompose complex problems into simple ones, know a bunch of tech tools and fundamentals, mentor more junior peers, are able to drive complex feature development, communicate well with stakeholders, etc. But at the same time, I didn’t have a good answer for the same question about a team lead, only a bunch of random ideas. I was surprised, I thought it must be obvious, but it wasn’t.

After that, I started searching the Internet for possible answers, asked a few people in the company, including my lead, and was very much surprised by the range of answers I got. Some answers were overlapping but the priority of them was different 🤔 At the same time, I noticed the definition of the lead role, its key responsibilities, and even titles were different from post to post. Team leads, tech leads, engineering managers, all had interleaving descriptions and similarities as well as significant differences in their scope. Later I came across this post describing five engineering manager archetypes and that was a very good explanation of the observed answers range.

At the same time, there were common patterns among all the answers. Success was defined at the group level, rather than at the individual level. The leader was considered successful when the team is successful as a group. The leader is focused on multiplying team effect by supporting team members in different ways: setting focus and vision, fostering tech decisions, recruiting the best people, helping each team member to grow, creating a safe environment, establishing and improving processes, supporting team morale and so on. You see there is no mention of working on features, crafting architecture, or learning the latest fancy tech. It’s a completely different role compared to engineering with its own different focus.

What about the code?

What about writing the code then?! I am good at it, does it mean I have to stop and don’t code anymore? Well, the reality is that you shouldn’t write the code anymore. It is not your focus anymore, it’s your team focus. There are a couple of exceptions though – if you’re in a pure tech lead role with somebody else wrangling the remaining responsibilities or if the team you lead is relatively small (up to 4 people) so you might have some time left for working on code. I also know a few leads with full-size teams who are able to book the slot in their calendar for coding work while keep doing all the rest, but the size of the slot is never above 10% and according to their words it’s really hard to fit in.

Does it mean all the experience you got about the code, architecture, patterns, and a ton of other things not needed anymore? Of course not! It’s tremendously helpful for understanding the essence of software development, the process, and the way engineers think.

The shift from writing the code to doing many other things but not code also has a very interesting side effect – it’s harder to sense the feeling of accomplishment. When writing the code it’s obvious – you fixed the bug or shipped PR you got that feeling immediately! With a leadership role it’s different. The impact of your words, actions, and inactions may become noticeable long after you made them or even be left unnoticed (at least without explicit acknowledgment). So as a leader you’d need to adjust your brain to cope with the absence of that immediate accomplishment feeling and find your own ways of validating you’re on the right track, but that’s a topic for another post story.


There are many more differences between leadership and engineering, and I’ve only scratched the surface of that iceberg. However, it should be enough to see that successful transition requires a shift in the mindset. The shift takes time no matter how well you are prepared in theory, so if you’re in the middle of a transition give yourself time to become a better leader for your team and you won’t regret it! If you’re only about to dive into leadership just know, it’s doable and it’s much better to step in being aware of the mind shift. 

Good luck and happy leading!

Book review: A higher standard

TLDR; In the book, Ann Dunwoody describes her journey within the US Army starting from the very beginning to the highest rank ever achieved by a female person at times of her service. Along the way, she shares a great number of thoughts and examples of both good and poor leadership encountered during the years of an outstanding career. 

The book is written by Ann Dunwoody –  the first four-star female general in the history of the US Army, and subtitled “Leadership strategies from America’s first female four-star general”. I’m not very familiar with US army ranks but four stars sound like a significant achievement for anyone in the army. However, the fact that Ann achieved this being a female person in the very male-dominant system (at least that was my perception of the military before reading the book) makes it an outstanding achievement. I was curious about the story of Ann on its own but the leadership strategies part in the subtitle increased my team lead’s interest. 

While reading the book it was obvious and impressive how Ann is very proud of her country and US army. Sometimes I even thought it couldn’t be ideal like that in reality, luckily there were moments in the book describing very tough challenges physical and mental, how arrogant male officers would try to put her down or obstruct personal growth and fail in their attempts. I admire how Ann overcome those challenges and changed the perception of many about what a strong leader can achieve no matter what their gender is.

At times it was a bit hard to read the book due to multiple references to military ranks. Without understanding them the difficulty of a particular choice, the importance of new opportunity, or the overall context of the described cases wasn’t fully clear. However, it wasn’t too much trouble, I was able to get the essence of leadership examples and as a bonus got a better picture of how the US Army operates.

Speaking of leadership advice and examples, there were plenty of them along the lines and I found them very useful and inspiring. My quotes list from the book got too long to publish in a single post, moreover, some of the quotes cover pretty broad topics deserving their own post. That’s why I’m sharing only some of my top picks.

You train people so they don’t flail or fail – you train them to succeed.

In my opinion, that’s a great mindset for leaders to have – focus on what needs to happen or to be done for success, rather than making minimum to escape failure. Despite the quote mentions people training, I think it applies to success in general as well, no matter if it is your success, direct report’s success, team’s success, company success, etc. Once the leader is aware of the success definition for each individual case they can work towards it.

The most important leadership lessons I learned throughout my career came directly from someone who took the time to teach, coach, and share ideas with me.

This is so true and I fully agree. What I also like in this quote is that one could receive and give support at the same time. I really appreciate the intention, time, and knowledge of people who mentors and coaches me, and at the same time, I’m doing my best to pay back and forward.

Never walk by a mistake

That rule might sound arguable and I think even be harmful if applied at the extreme level, but the idea is very powerful. An unaddressed mistake sets a lower standard by giving a signal to a person or a group that a particular level of quality/behavior is acceptable. After a few confirmations (unactioned mistakes) the lower standard transforms into the implicit culture. That’s why spotting, acknowledging, and working with mistakes helps to update the standard and support the culture. 

So this rule should be considered in the context of the culture you’re supporting. Never walk by a mistake disrupting your culture. Even if it’s small enough it’s way easier to fix it until it grows into something huge like a snowball.

Do the right thing for the right reason

Courage is defined in the book as “Having the guts to do the right thing for the right reasons”. This is so true, whether it’s speaking up, having a tough conversation, letting the person go, stepping back, or anything else, leaders need the courage to get out of their comfort zone and “Just Do It” :trademark: It may look like something easy to do in theory but very hard in practice at times.

To maximize potential – … – leaders need to look in the mirror and at their immediate surroundings to figure out what’s missing. Those courageous enough to embrace the power of diversity will thrive.

People are different, everyone has their own unique background – the mix of history, knowledge, culture, environment, and experience. It applies to people you work with and people you create products and services for. So our background inevitably affects any opinions, thoughts, or biases we have and limits our ability to see a bigger picture. That’s where the power of diversity is needed to look at the problem from various perspectives, assemble the pieces of the puzzle, and make better decisions.

Everybody is replaceable – kings and queens, generals, CEOs, Hall of Fame athletes. Great leaders should be prepared to fire themselves and help find their heir apparent.

No comments here, just fully agree and love that idea.


I got the book more than a year ago as part of the employee welcome pack at Automattic and it spent some time on the bookshelf before I finally read it. I enjoyed the book a lot and recommend reading it with a pencil, notebook, or any other tool of your choice to collect the leadership wisdom dimes and bring them to life for the win.

Make STOPs to steer your life with open eyes

Stop sign image
Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

Steering with closed eyes is not the best way to get to the destination. And I believe each of us is a driver with a “steering wheel” in the hands – the steering wheel of life. We have plans and we’re taking actions (or inactions) many times a day the same way as a driver has a route to the destination and choosing when to accelerate, stop and change the route. Ask yourself would you be happy if your taxi driver gets off the route, misses a turn or goes the wrong way? Probably not. While it’s relatively easy to look around and follow the route while driving the car it might be challenging to do the same with your daily life. 

TLDR; I’ve read about the tool called STOPs in the book “The Inner Game of Work” by Timothy Gallwey. I use STOPs to align with my plans and take actions in a timely manner. More details 👇.

Zooming in and out

In Google Maps you can zoom in and out to see more or fewer details on the streets and roads. Depending on how far you go you might need to zoom out to fit the whole route. However, you should zoom in to get detailed directions to the destination while driving. Moreover, if the route is unfamiliar Google Maps can make life easier by tracking the position, notifying on required actions and suggesting alternative routes.

The same way any higher-level goals and plans can be split into smaller tasks and milestones. The same way precise steps need to be taken to get the result. However, following own plan is hard because there is no such Google Maps for it. You should manually zoom in and out to check your current position on the route and correct the directions to reach the destination.

Execution inertia is your enemy

Besides our plans and goals, so many things break into the daily routine from different sources like family, coworkers, communities, friends, etc. We are going through hundreds of messages, calls, posts, tweets, meetings and so on. We’re creating task lists to keep things organized and under control.

Even if you apply task and time management tools it’s so easy to get into a trap of unconsciously executing one task after another without realizing the importance of the task or how is it related to the higher-level goals. This is what is called execution inertia. It keeps you driving full speed in the flow of daily tasks without giving a chance to check the directions on the map.

STOPs to the rescue

I’ve read about the tool called STOPs in the book “The Inner Game of Work” by Timothy Gallwey.

STOP is an abbreviation of four steps:

  1. Step back.
  2. Think.
  3. Organize your thoughts.
  4. Proceed.

Step back. It is a crucial element of the tool. First of all, it requires you to take a pause and step out of the flow of tasks. Then you have to zoom out to create a different perspective on the current situation.

Think. Once zoomed out you can better observe the current position and direction, analyze it and compare with the desired route. Just draft some thoughts and ideas at this step.

Organize your thoughts. While the previous step can bring a lot of insights and interesting ideas, this step is required to update the existing plan or make a new one.

Proceed. You’ve already done a great job at previous steps! It’s time to get back to the refreshed tasks flow 😉

Different flavours of STOPs

All STOPs shouldn’t be the same. You have a lot of freedom regarding when and how many STOPs you wish to make. They can be done during the day (e.g. start, middle, end of the day), once a week, month, quarter, etc. The duration can vary with the frequency of the STOP and depending on how far you zoom out when stepping back.

At the moment I have daily and monthly STOPs. I try to check the monthly plan a couple of times a week just to keep it in mind during the daily STOPs. And I check the quarterly plan during the monthly stops. 

In my opinion, it’s not that important how many STOPs you have. The key point is to get most of them for yourself.

Bring structure to chaos with Pomodoro technique

Photo by Tristan Gassert on Unsplash

There is no such a thing as time management because you can’t control time. However, you have ability to choose how you use your time.

I’ve come across this idea ☝️ several times for the past couple of months. The wording was different but the idea remains the same. Well, it sounds simple as many great ideas but how do you apply it to your daily life? How do you leverage this knowledge when your day is packed with lots of different activities, communications and interruptions?

TLDR; I use Pomodoro technique to split my day into focus slots. If you want to find out more on how I use it keep reading.

Focus, focus, focus

As it was said many times, context switching kills productivity so staying focused is a solution to the problem. And for developers who often work on complex problems it is very important to be in a flow state with high focus and concentration. To reach that state you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible and it’s not that hard to achieve if you work remotely from the home office like I do. But there is another trap in the full focus mode – it is so easy to spend too many time focused on developing software that I can completely forget or miss other things I wanted to do. And this is where Pomodoro technique come to the rescue.

Managing your day with pomodoros

Okay, I want to be focused for some time but not too long just to keep other things on track. This is exactly what Pomodoro is about:

  1. Pick a task and set a timer (25 minutes is recommended). One slot is called Pomodoro.
  2. Work on the task without switching and distractions.
  3. Take a break. Recommendation is 5 minutes after each Pomodoro and 15 minutes after each fourth Pomodoro.
  4. Go to step 1.

Idea is super simple. This allows you to structure your day into finite amount of focus slots and you have a choice which activities you fit into the slots. On the other hand, Pomodoro just gives you a framework routine and it’s up to you how to use it. Recommendations above are good enough to start with but they may be not ideal for a particular daily schedule or activities. So some adjustments might be required and the good thing is nobody forbids doing so. Believe me, there is enough space for experiments and here are mine Pomodoro hacks:

  • I spend at least one Pomodoro at the beginning of the day for planning: catching up with updates (emails, chats, etc.), creating todo list, prioritising and “distributing” tasks into slots.
  • I experiment with the size of the slot for different activities. E.g. 55 min slot for development tasks with 5 min break works better for me.
  • Use breaks more effectively:
    • Quickly check chats during some of the breaks and update todo list.
    • Make STOPs (will write some post about it later) during the breaks to check how I am progressing during the day.
    • Do real breaks, move around, take a glass of water, tea, etc.
  • Combine multiple small tasks into a single slot. It’s just more efficient when you’re focused on handling multiple small tasks altogether.
  • Have some free slots without any tasks scheduled to fit in emergency activities. But I have a pool of some low priority tasks in case there are no urgent tasks.
  • Allocate some slots even for such things as random search and non-work related activities.
  • Allocate slots only for the type of activity rather than precise task. E.g. when planning I don’t try to guess how much time a specific task will take I just allocate some slots for development, code reviews, communicating in chats/emails, reading posts, etc.

Tools

At the moment I use PomoDoneApp for timers both on Mac and iOS, it’s free for my use case and has many configuration options which is nice for experiments. I use Todoist for task management and there is an integration available with PomoDoneApp but I’m not using it because of the reasons mentioned above.

Before switching to PomoDone I used Be Focused for Mac and iOS. There is a free version with annoying ads and without synchronisation between Mac and iOS. I decided not to use it because I constantly missed the timer on the phone because of the vibration only and I had to buy two apps (Desktop and mobile) to make synchronisation work.

Final thoughts

Pomodoro technique helps me to set time boundaries between different activities I schedule for the day and stay focused while working on each.

I have to say it wasn’t that easy to apply the Pomodoro technique to my daily routine. Sometimes I still forget to enable the timer or ignore the end of slot signal when I need some more minutes to finish the task but now I definitely have way more control and structure in my daily chaos.