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The Pomodoro Technique isn't merely about setting up a timer and working for 25 minutes. To truly benefit from the technique one must look at how to spend those 25-minute blocks across tasks. This requires daily planning and reviewing, alongside a weekly review to get a better idea.

How can I properly integrate this review process with a GTD system? In particular, I don't want to have to separately jot down tables in the manner described by The Pomodoro Technique. It would be more productive if it were all in one place. Would it be feasible to achieve this in an exiting GTD system like NirvanaHQ, or does there exist more specific software for this purpose?

Has anyone successfully integrated these two systems? How did you do it? I really like both ideas, but the extra work of having to maintain both of them separately holds me back...

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I think there is little overlap between the two. GTD is about arriving at a list of things to do (and getting that list out of your mind), and Pomodoro is about working that list off efficiently. They do complement each other. For example, having an effective capture system helps cutting down interruptions. But GTD doesn't really help you estimate the time for tasks, which is what the advanced Pomodoro techniques are about. – Peter Eisentraut Jun 25 '11 at 17:29
Summary: @Peter: What you say by that is that they can't be used together, that's non-sense. I know that I can perform both, the problem is that I don't want to be copy/pasting task names the whole time. I'm not talking about integrating them into a single new methodology, I'm asking how I can efficiently use both techniques on my daily set of tasks without having to go through additional copy/pasting hassle. Writing an own software implementation is one solution that I foresee and can be very feasible, but as I don't want to reinvent the wheel yet I am looking for alternatives... – Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 12:32
up vote 12 down vote accepted

What if you do mainly GTD and Pomodoro-lite". Use GTD for your workflow and keep the list of tasks there. What happens next depends on if you have big related tasks or lots of little tasks. For a big task, set the timer and work on it without interruption. For little tasks, hack away at the GTD list but don't accept new entries or distractions within a Pomodoro.

This gives the advantages of Pomodoro including focused work, frequent breaks to refresh, less distractions, etc without having an extra workflow.

After writing, this I googled GTD and Pomodoro to make sure I wasn't stepping over anything with Pomodoro-lite and found this article. After reading the article, I agree that Pomodoros fit into the DO stage and you have to pick one model for managing interruptions. I think it has to be the Pomodoro model because that is so significant in the model/benefits. And interruptions can still be dealt with GTD style - just X minutes later.

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I like the idea of including the amount of Pomodoros in the task names, this even got me to think that I could as well write a GM script instead that renames the time values to be something like "Small Task, Half a Pomodoro, 1 Pomodoro, 2 Pomodoro, 3 Pomodoro, ..., Split Task". Where many small tasks would make 1 Pomodoro and the last option indicates that I've made an not do-able big task. – Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 23:41
Then, I can archive the task in NirvanaHQ as that will show which day I've completed it and update the task name with the amount of Pomodoro I've guessed wrong (like +1P) which also allows me to see how many Pomodoro I have performed and look into that the archive at daily/weekly reviews and trash them over time. This actually makes it pretty easy and doesn't need me to keep something separate as far as I can see, thanks for getting me on the idea... – Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 23:50
I like the system you described! – Jeanne Boyarsky Jun 28 '11 at 0:51
@TomWijsman I like your idea very much. Have you since had any progress or development on this idea/concept (or GM script)? – Coldblackice May 24 '13 at 2:55
@Coldblackice: No, haven't used these for some time. – Tom Wijsman May 24 '13 at 5:10

I agree with Peter's comment on that it's a matter of task planning/managing in GTD and execution in Pomodoro, so I think that they can work fine this way. This is what I'm currently trying to implement myself, BTW.

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Well, I'm looking for that matter of how to integrate that planning and management in both GTD and Pomodoro. I don't want to be copy/pasting task names the whole time but be able to do this with an integrated solution, could I use the notes of tasks somehow or are there other ways to bring them together? – Tom Wijsman Jun 26 '11 at 12:30

I've been using GTD and Thinking Rock software (a GTD planning tool) for about 5 years. Even though the idea of time boxing has been around for a long time (The Now Habit by Neil Fiore-1989), the Pomodoro Technique brings the concept up to date and helps with execution of GTD.

David Allen tells you up front that he is not addressing procrastination. The time boxing concept directly confronts execution and procrastination. The author of Pomodoro Technique, invites us to "keep it simple" when it comes to writing down Activities, daily to-dos and record keeping for metrics.

I like his idea of using "paper and pencil." You're right, if you're using a GTD software, like I am, you have to somehow avoid overlap and work in Pomodoro Technique. I also have a paper Franklin Planner! So, I have integrated Pomodoro into the Franklin Planner-- it melds just fine there.

However, I'm truncating some of the lists of "actions" that I used to put into my GTD software. I'm looking to the GTD software as more "big picture" planning from 10,000 to 50,000 feet and for goal work.

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I have tried to make this answer more readable through formatting. – Rory Alsop Nov 14 '12 at 21:03

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