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I work from home right now. I have an activity list that contains items that are career tasks and more personal tasks. Sometimes there is a fine line between what tasks go in which bucket.

E.g. Last night, after finishing my career tasks, I started working on a personal task of researching data api's. I didn't finish the task (I have a handful of Pomodoros left for it) Today, when I started my day, instead of continuing on researching data api's, I left that one incomplete and started on a career task of doing a coding tutorial. The plan is to come back to it after I finish my career tasks for the day.

For those seasoned Pomodoro users out there. Is this ok? Should I have finished the personal task before starting on the career task?

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3 Answers

As someone who works from home, I understand this sort of complication. There are 3 categories for me. Career items that must be done, vocational development things that should be done, and personal tasks.

I consider Career items as things that should be done first. This is essential when working from home. At the beginning of each day I start out by planning these pomodoros and then add the other tasks afterward.

One option that I'm working on is to create a sharp division of time. Schedule a set time for each type of task. People who go to work leave work at some point whether or not they are done. Having the 9am-5pm hours (as an example) set aside for Career tasks will help us to focus and not push ourselves too hard career wise.

Effectively not finishing a task before moving on to something else is equivalent to those who work in offices needing to readjust their pomodoros due to co-worker urgent distractions. It is always okay to finish the current pomodoro and then shift the pomodoros so that you are doing something that is more important. This situation is even covered in the introduction materials.

So long as you do not divide the pomodoro and you prioritize those tasks that are most important, you are doing it right.

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I personally believe that it is ok to leave a task unfinished AS LONG AS you didn't interrupt a Pomodoro. Sometimes you just need a break from a certain task or you aren't ready to complete it.

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I think it's fine to not finish a task during a Pomodoro. The ultimate goal of the Pomodoro is for you to focus on a task or set of tasks for 25 mins. Whether the task is finished or unfinished within a Pomodoro is not entirely within your control.

Re-evaluating your priorities after the Pomodoro is finished determines whether it's ok to leave the personal task unfinished. Is it more important to start on the career task or the personal task? If the career task is more important, has a deadline, etc... then leaving the personal task unfinished is the only way you can focus on the career task. If the personal task seems more important, then devoting a Pomodoro would be the answer.

If you feel it will take less than a Pomodoro, why not combine a few tasks (personal+work) that together would likely take a Pomodoro?

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