I’ve been trying for literally years to really get Getting Things Done under my skin. I’ve read the book several times, each time gaining new insights and for a while inching towards actually using it. For some reason, I always fail at it. I’ve never really worked out why. It all makes perfect sense. I believe it’s a fantastic system, but I just can’t seem to internalise the process.
This weekend, I stumbled upon a post on Milo Casagrande’s blog where he mentioned the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve always enjoyed reading articles etc. on productivity, but somehow never heard about the Pomodoro Technique.
I read the paper and it’s a delightfully straightforward system. It explains clearly, with examples and everything, how you can use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Getting Things Done book talks a lot about concepts and process in very generic terms and (intentionally) avoids imposing tools on the readers. I understand the motivation, but I think it’s misguided. Whenever I meet someone who practices GTD, I always try to get them to explain as much as possible about the practical implementation, their choice of tools, etc, because without this, it’s hard to really get it started. I’ve spent a *lot* of time trying to find good tools, writing tools, etc., but I always wind up with something that doesn’t really work for me, so I was really excited to learn about another, popular productivity system.
I’m going to try some techniques out this week to see if I can combine GTD and the Pomodoro Technique somehow. GTD outlines some excellent concepts for organising your action items, reference material, keeping track of things you’re waiting for others to complete, as well as some very useful ways to review how well the stuff you’re doing hour by hour aligns with your short, medium, and long term goals, but — for me at least — falls short with respect to helping me actually getting started with something. Ironic, really, for a system called “Getting Things Done”, but that’s a different story.