GSD and Pomodoro technique hacked on Paper
Posted by Alec The Geek on 13 June 2010
Updated June 2011.
For some time I’ve using a paper journal to follow the GSD workflow. I’ve actually been using a thick, 300 page, Miquelrius journal, but I’m finding it too bulky and the extra pages means it lasts long enough for the binding to start to fail so I’ll be going back to Moleskine style when the current book is finished. I’ve also tried Piccadilly notebooks which seem very similar to Moleskine and a lot cheaper, however both of mine have split down the spine. Recently I’ve also upgraded my workflow to include:
- Pomodoro technique to help me focus during the day in getting my longer actions completed
- Inbox Zero so I spend less time on email
Which have both improved things for me, but I need to improve my weekly review and project planning so I’ve been looking at moving up the GTD food chain to something a little more complete. After noodling with some UML diagrams I figure it’s pretty simple to fix, so this is my new (evolved) plan going forward (none of these ideas are very original).
- Keep doing the GSD daily routine. (Turn to a new page, move the bookmark ribbon, date it, write down a list and work the list). Add the number of estimated Pomodoros to tasks to stop you overcommitting yourself
- In the same space keep using pages for notes, GTD inbox, Pomodoros and project planning as needed
- From the back of the book (turn to landscape so I have longer lines) write down actions. This is the GSD master list, but with more structure. A pink tab marks the page with the oldest active action. My column headings were inspired by mGTD. (NA/Competed, Description, Context/Agenda/Waiting, Project, Estimated Pomodoros). My coding for the NA/Completed field is as follows:
- Blank — task has incomplete dependencies
- Box — task is next action
- Tick — complete
- Each time a project plan is created (as part of a Pomordoro usually) mark the project plan with a green tag. When the project is no longer active remove the tag
- If a page has notes that might be needed in future fold down a corner so it’s quicker to skim to ‘important’ notes.
- During the weekly review re-visit the previous weeks pages for incomplete actions, etc. Tick pages in top left when reviewed. Visit project tags to review each project
- Use dated pages for X-ref links
Note that my approach to Pomodoro is deliberately simplistic so I keep limited notes on each one. As long as I know what my next Pomodoro is, have enough information to keep my day useful and can stay focused that’s good enough.
I’ve been using a mind map to refine my ideas
Getting Pomodoros Done Mind Map