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  • The Pomodoro Technique

    I read today about this technique:
    http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/
    It seems interesting, does anyone have experience in using it and combining it with GTD?
    Thanks.

  • #2
    Combining GTD/Pomodoro

    I use it fairly frequently in combination with GTD. I use GTD to sort out what I need to do, but once I'm ready to work (which is typically at the computer), I use Pomodoro to keep me focused. I like to either pick a single task (which could take approximately 25 minutes) or a context in which to work for the allotted time. The constant ticking really keeps the pressure on.

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    • #3
      Useful in some contexts

      The Pomodoro Tecnique can be integrated with GTD and could be useful in some contexts.
      It's curious that TPT has been developed in a software development point of view, where the (25+5 min.)*4 cicle can effectively work.
      In other contexts probably you could use different combinations of minutes dedicated to work and minutes dedicated to a break.

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      • #4
        first I've heard of this technique, but one thing I've discovered for myself is that especially when I'm engaging a task I'm not particularly eager to do, I'll set a timer and tell myself “OK, you’re going to FOCUS and work on this for the next 20 minutes and then you’re done for today and you’ll move on to something else.” in doing this I find it easier to break the inertia and engage what I need to be working on. If instead I say “I've just gotta work on this until its finished or until I'm tired, my brain doesn’t really know what that means and doesn’t really engage the task.”

        so I find the benefit twofold. First, it helps me break the inertia. “I can do just about anything for x minutes.” Second, the timer helps me really focus. I’m just doing this task and this task alone for this discrete amount of time, so no interruptions, let’s get on it and get it done.

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        • #5
          I just came across the Pomodoro technique (click here for the PDF explaining in detail) and I think it could work with the GTD method, but I'm not quite sure how to integrate it.

          Anyone with experience care to elaborate how they use GTD and Pomodoro together? Could you give an example please?

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          • #6
            I dont think there' any real conflict between Pomodoro and GTD - its like saying can you do speedreading and GTD or touchtyping and GTD - of course you can!

            In GTD you might identify a task that needs doing, one that may take all afternoon. You then use the Pomodoro technique to blast through it in chunks, staying more productive overall. When completed you then tick it off your NA list and move onto the next one.

            Simple.

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            • #7
              Yea you're right. I figured out how and been using the pomodoro technique for a couple days and admit that I've been able to get through a lot of work. Here's my workflow from gtd to pomodoro to done:

              1) mind sweep

              2) go through inbox todo items and select those that I want to get done that day

              3) organize the items into sequence

              4) use pomodoro technique for 4 hours (work on item for 25mins, then 3min break, 25min, 3min break, etc for max 4 rounds then 15 min break). Meanwhile, keeping track of how many pomodoros and interruptions for each item. Once item is done, cross it off and continue w next item.

              5) lunch

              6) more items via pomodoro


              That's it. I think the this gtd combined with pomodoro is a killer git-er-dun combination, but I'll report back in a couple weeks and post an update.

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              • #8
                I've used the Pomodoro Technique for a year now along side GTD. PT works very well when you consider working on a project, not so much with a next action. You can use a NA to kickstart a Pomodoro and get the ball rolling but after you get going your NA list really doesn't come into play.

                In general I have not had good luck with smaller tasks (less than 25 minutes) and the PT. You need a good hard project with a few key NAs to really see any benifit to the PT but once you get rolling it really shines.

                I think that the main difference between the PT and GTD is that GTD handles big and small tasks well but that the PT is meant for grinding through a large amount of work without getting burnt out. GTD handles interuptions very easily as well.

                Using both systems, GTD for life and PT for large projects, works very well. When you are done with your 6 or so Pomodoros for the day and feeling pretty worn GTD can still make you productive by watering your plant or calling ahead for dinner reservations.

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                • #9
                  Integrating the Activity Inventory?

                  The Pomodoro Technique is very interesting. If you have used it successfully, how are you using the Activity Inventory? Are you creating one inventory for each context (calls, PC, action) or are you just using one activity inventory? How are you using your Master Project List with the Pomodoro Technique?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by debbieg View Post
                    The Pomodoro Technique is very interesting. If you have used it successfully, how are you using the Activity Inventory? Are you creating one inventory for each context (calls, PC, action) or are you just using one activity inventory?
                    I ignore the lists used in TPT and use the action lists from GTD instead.

                    Originally posted by debbieg View Post
                    How are you using your Master Project List with the Pomodoro Technique?
                    The GTD project list usually becomes my Pomodoro to-do list. I pick the most pressing project off the project list and try knocking out a few Pomodoros to make some progress.

                    All in all I ignore the majority of TPT except for the 25 minute work blocks and the recordkeeping. All of the lists and actions that TPT uses have been better handled in GTD. Also, smaller than 25 minute tasks are harder to track in TPT. Where GTD seems to a little weak for my job is with the large brain-power-required projects, which TPT handles well.

                    When procrastination bites I know I can do two things: I can usually commit to half an hour of work on a hard task (a Pomodoro) and I know I don't have to think about the kick start action (already on my GTD list), I just have to start. The rest follows.

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                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=Defibaugh;82870]I ignore the lists used in TPT and use the action lists from GTD instead.

                      Thanks,
                      What context lists do you find most helpful? (action, calls, etc???)

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                      • #12
                        My project list, @work, @internet, and @anywhere are the ones that I primarally use when starting a Pomodoro.

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                        • #13
                          After seeing this topic, I read about the Pomodoro technique and it's been a roaring success for me.

                          One of the issues I had with implementing GTD was not knowing when I had done enough for the day ( the issue being that you can always do more off your endless NA lists ). I now use a daily framework of Pomodoro sessions which are fed from GTD. This gives me a target for concentrated sessions to achieve in the day, but also lets me know when I've done enough and can relax

                          I split my at-the-computer NA context into three: Mac-5, Mac-25 and Mac-100. The number represents the number of minutes allocated to the task. These match nicely to how I work my Pomodoro sessions and I've found they are great for picking out tasks that need lots of concentration with breaks, versus times when I have less energy and want to just pick off some easy wins. So when I process my Collector every day, I make a snap decision whether it's a quick win, a normal 25-minute task or something requiring serious concentration.

                          Great tip and yet again it shows how well GTD can complement many various systems.

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                          • #14
                            What type of work breaks?

                            Any ideas for breaks at work? For the longer break I go for a walk outside, but not sure what to do at work for a break other than get a drink or go to the toilet. At home it is easier, heaps of options that aren't mentally stimulating, and have found this technique very effective.

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                            • #15
                              Interrupt somebody's work.

                              Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                              Any ideas for breaks at work? For the longer break I go for a walk outside, but not sure what to do at work for a break other than get a drink or go to the toilet. At home it is easier, heaps of options that aren't mentally stimulating, and have found this technique very effective.
                              You can go to your colleague for a short chit-chat (to interrupt his work).

                              It gives you short break to enhance your productivity and it lowers her/his productivity so you win twofold.

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