User Interview - Jenny
Project: Unnamed Pomodoro Project
Location: At home through Skype
Job: Fashion Designer (freelance)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: Google Pixel 2XL
Pomodoro App Used: "Pomodoro"
Social Media: Twitter, Instagram
Researcher: Hi Jenny
Jenny: Hey - can you hear me alright?
Researcher: Sounds good on my end.
Jenny: Ok good.
Researcher: Ok, so first I just want to thank you for agreeing to this interview, I know you’re busy these days so I really appreciate it. As you know I’m working on a new type of Pomodoro app and I would like to find out more about people’s experiences using Pomodoro apps that are already on the market. This is not meant to be a test or an exam, there are no wrong answers. We’re looking for honest feedback. Also, your privacy is important to us, and if we want to make any part of this interview public we will only do so with your full consent. And to document the interview I will be recording this skype session. Do you have any questions before we get started?
Jenny: No, that all sounds fine.
Researcher: Ok, great, so to start off, tell me about yourself.
Jenny: [laughs] ok, Alex. So I’m Jenny, I’m a fashion designer, I grew up in Maryland and I recently moved into a new apartment in Greenpoint [Brooklyn]. I’m a Capricorn. I unironically collect stamps and my favorite movie is Bring It On.
Researcher: With Kirsten Dunst?
Jenny: And Gabrielle Union [laughs].
Researcher: And how did you get into fashion design?
Jenny: Oh I’ve wanted to be one since I was a kid. I first came to New York to attend the Parsons School of Art & Design and have been working in the industry ever since.
Researcher: And you work freelance correct? What is that like?
Jenny:Yea, honestly it’s not so different from any other kind of job. A lot of time spent on the computer dealing with stuff like stock control, client orders, digital marketing, stuff like that.
Researcher: But you also get to do some creative stuff with patterns and mockups too, right?
Jenny: Absolutely, and that’s what keeps things interesting.
Researcher: And so, do you use a Pomodoro App when you’re doing your freelance work as a designer?
Jenny: Yes, all the time.
Researcher: And which app [inaudible] is it that you use?
Jenny: Uhh I think it’s just called Pomodoro? Here let me check [Jenny picks up smartphone].
Researcher: yea it could be just called Pomodoro.
Jenny: Yea it’s just Pomodoro. [shows smartphone screen to researcher]
Researcher: Ok great. And how long have you been using Pomodoro?
Jenny: Uhmm, I think more than a year? I was using another Pomodoro app before that but then I got a Pixel phone, I don’t remember what it was called.
Researcher: That’s no problem. Had you heard of the Pomodoro system outside the context of apps before you went looking for one?
Jenny: No I hadn’t heard about it before then...I think I was just looking online for apps that help with focus and Pomodoro came up alot.
Researcher: So were you having trouble focusing at the time?
Researcher: if you don’t mind me asking, how was your trouble focusing affecting you?
Jenny: It was nothing too serious, I was still able to do the work I needed to get done, but I wanted to up my game a bit. I had actually recently gotten a big client and that was great but I knew I needed to take it very seriously, and it’s just so easy to get distracted when you work from home. Like I would catch myself on Twitter all the time, especially when I was frustrated about something. And I wanted to be able to power through those frustrating moments to be more productive.
Researcher: Do you have any examples of what type of things would frustrate you?
Jenny: Well [pause] I guess if I needed Photoshop or something and it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, I would eventually throw my hands up and open some dumb app. Or if I unexpectedly had to upgrade something before I could use it. There was always other work I could be doing but instead I’m just online. Stuff like that.
Researcher: So then you started using a Pomodoro app?
Researcher: And did you find that it has helped you in the past year?
Jenny: Well yeah, I do think it has helped me focus.
Researcher: Ok, great. So let’s talk about your more recent experiences with it. When was the last time you’ve used it?
Jenny: I used it yesterday.
Researcher: Was there something special going on yesterday?
Jenny: No, it was just a normal work day.
Researcher: ah, ok. So you use it pretty much every day?
Jenny: Yep. I usually use it on weekends too, it’s helpful with chores and things.
Researcher: So, during the weekdays, at what point in your daily ritual do you turn the app on?
Jenny: I usually get all my morning stuff out of the way, wash up, eat breakfast, read some news online, check my mail. Then I start up the app and get to work.
Researcher: Were there any times in the past week where you hit any snags when trying to open the app?
Jenny: No, not really. It’s a really simple app to use.
Researcher: And when you’ve used it this week, do you usually stick with the usual pomodoro sequence?
Jenny: Err - can you explain a bit more?
Researcher: Yes, sorry. The usual sequence is 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break, and then a longer 15 minute break at the end.
Jenny: Yea I use that. Honestly I don’t know anything about the Pomodoro technique outside of using the timer.
Researcher: During your sessions this week, have you felt that you were being productive?
Jenny: For the most part. Like I said there are times during work when I get frustrated and will end up just looking through my timeline…
Researcher: So Pomodoro hasn’t helped you in that regard?
Jenny: No I think it has, I do think it’s increased my focus overall, it’s just those really frustrating moments. When I’m frustrated I am the most likely to ignore my timer and go post some shit to the internet - oh [laughs] can I curse during this?
Researcher: [laughs] It’s fine. So how many of these types of interruptions have happened this past week?
Jenny: Maybe 4 or 5.
Researcher: Wow, seems like a lot. What happened?
Jenny: Honestly it’s just normal stuff. My computer froze twice this week. I had to update my InDesign in order to read some files being sent to me. And my internet died. Usually before I even start taking care of something I’m already on Twitter.
Researcher: And how much time did you spend on social media after each interruption?
Jenny: Really depends on if something interesting grabs me. Could be anywhere from 2 minutes to 20.
Researcher: How about this past week?
Jenny: I’d say I spent a good 15 minutes for most of them. A couple others were just brief pop ons.
Researcher: Has there ever been a time when you started browsing the internet when there wasn’t much time left in the work session, so it bled into the break session?
Jenny: Well, the timer needs to be tapped between each session to move on to the next one. So I’ve definitely been in the situation where I’ll start browsing, then look at the timer and see that it’s been waiting to start the break session, and I won’t know exactly how long it’s been there.
Researcher: How many times did that happen this past week?
Jenny: Uhh, maybe three or four.
Researcher: And when you do lose focus, do you reset the timer or do you plow through?
Jenny: I plow through. There is still a sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a full sequence, even if I’ve gotten distracted here and there. I sometimes have to compensate by doing more sequences than I would usually.
Researcher: How many sequences is it usually?
Jenny: Four two hour sequences a day. With a half-hour in between for lunch. If I’ve been lazy I make it five, or even six.
Researcher: Did you have to do that this past week at all?
Jenny: I did five instead of four twice this week.
Researcher: Ok, so if you were to grade your productivity this past week versus your productivity before using Pomodoro, what would your grades be? Out of one hundred.
Jenny: So before Pomodoro I would say my productivity was a 75, and now I’d say it’s an 83.
Researcher: What do you think it would take to get it up to the 90-100 range?
Jenny: Adderall? [laughs] I honestly have no idea. The app works but my impulse to get on social media just wins out sometimes.
Researcher: Alright, well let’s talk a bit about your breaks.
Jenny: [inaudible] My favorite.
Researcher: So this past week, what have you done during your break session?
Jenny: Sometimes I listen to music. But it’s really not much time, you know? I’d rather check my mail or mentions when I only have 5 minutes.
Researcher: Do you find that the breaks are fulfilling?
Jenny: Honestly, not particularly, but it’s still important to have them. They break up the work sessions so they don’t seem too long.
Researcher: Alright well we’re about ready to wrap this up. This has been really great, do you have any questions for me before we go?
Jenny: Uh, no I don’t think so.
Researcher: What music do you listen to during your work break?
Jenny: Lately it’s been a lot of Ariana Grande.