Todoist and Pomodoros

How to use Todoist and The Pomodoro Technique together for the ultimate productivity workflow.

Reading time: 3 min(s) · Date published: December 11, 2014

I will not explain what Todoist or The Pomodoro Technique are nor its benefits. There are already lots of articles and blog posts doing that. I will only say that if you haven’t used them, you should at least try them. (I understand that they might not work for you, but it might give you a hint on what might.) If you are already using them, then awesome!

On this article I will focus on how to use them together since Todoist doesn’t support The Pomodoro Technique out of the box.

Tasks for Pomodoros

The following steps explains how to use The Pomodoro Technique with Todoist:

  • Label every task you want to do via pomodoros with @pomodoro.
  • Use the Today date for the tasks you want to do today.
  • Use the Inbox for unplanned tasks.
  • Use the task name to track expected pomodoros, interruptions, and finished
  • pomodoros.
  • Use the following format for the task name: TASK | EXPECTED MARKS.
    • TASK is the name or description of the task.
    • EXPECTED is the number of expected pomodoros.
    • MARKS are the interruptions and finished pomodoros.
    • Example: “@pomodoro Review and edit the Todoist post | 4 ‘xx-x”

Most Important Tasks

It’s a good practice to start the day with the most important tasks. So, every weekday should start by selecting the most important tasks for the day, based on your projects and tasks on Todoist.

Todoist has a repeating tasks feature, so we can use it to remind us to select the most important tasks. Just create the task “Select the most important tasks for today” with the date “every weekday”.

Weekly Tasks Review

It’s also a good practice to review the tasks weekly to clean up, reorder, and delete obsolete tasks.

We can also create a repeating task. Just create the task “Review all tasks” with the date “every Sunday”.

Pomodoro Stats

Now we can see the @pomodoro completed tasks:

  1. Click on the Karma link and then on View all completed tasks.
  2. Select the @pomodoro label.
  3. Select any project if you want to see the stats by project.

I know it’s far from perfect (or maybe even useful) but I hope it’s better than nothing.

Timer

For a long time I used Pomodoro Timer from Nasa Trained Monkeys but now I’m using a minimalist timer created by me: Goldfish.

What can Todoist do to be even more awesome?

The main thing missing from this approach is a better way to see the pomodoro stats so we can learn from them.

This is the information I would like to see:

  1. The number of internal and external interruptions per task, to track improvements in protecting our pomodoros.
  2. The relation between expected and actual pomodoros, to track improvements on our task estimations.
  3. The number of pomodoros finished per day, to have some sense of our speed.