What is the best way to be productive? The first idea is to roll up your sleeves and do the actual tasks at hand. The next is to manage your working time effectively. On the one hand doing everything non-stop without catching a break will burn you out, and it’s not healthy. On the other hand, taking too much of a break will get you nowhere.
What is the perfect balance between being a workaholic and a slacker? Many may argue that the answer is the Pomodoro Technique. And being in the tech era, you also need the Pomodoro app as the compliment.
If you are a Mac user, here are several Pomodoro timer alternatives that you can try. Meanwhile, Windows users can jump to this article.
What Is Pomodoro?
Pomodoro is a time management technique designed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s to optimize your working hours. It will help users to maximize their productivity without losing the necessary breaks to rest.
The basic premise is that users do 25-minute work chunks with 5-minute breaks in between. There are 30-minute long breaks every four cycles. These sets of sequences are called pomodoros – or tomatoes in Italian. Why tomato you ask? Because Mr. Cirillo originally used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer when he first invented the method as a university student.
This technique is effective, especially for those who are easily distracted, because it helps you focus on one particular task for a period. It’s a principle called time boxing.
There Are Apps for That
While you can use any ordinary timer for your pomodoros, there are several advantages of using apps. The first is that you don’t have to manually restart the timer and switch from work time and break time. There’s a feature that makes a list of tasks that you want to focus your time on. The apps also come with logs, statistics, reports, reminders – more than a simple kitchen timer can do.
Here are some of the alternatives.
Some might argue that Be Focused is the best Pomodoro app available today. The menubar icons will give users access to controls. You can customize the work and break timers, name tasks, and assign goals. There are also detailed daily, weekly, and monthly reports on tasks. You can also have access to ongoing and completed tasks.
The free version comes with ads. You can get rid of the ads with the paid Pro upgrade. The Pro version also unlocks the ability to sync across multiple devices. But if you don’t mind the tiny ads and don’t need your data on other Macs, or an iPhone or iPad, the free version can hold its ground against its rivals.
If you need more than just a Pomodoro timer, you might want to try Timork. It’s feature-packed but will take some time to get used to. You can customize a different timer for each task, and each task can be broken down into sub-tasks. You can also assign the number of cycles needed to complete the task.
To entice and motivate users, Timork utilizes gamification in its workflow. You can earn star rewards and level up by completing each task. Users can also use the stars to purchase theme packs.
The free version limits users to view up to 5 tasks. Upgrading will unlock this limitation.
On the other side of the coin, you have Just Focus. This app focuses only on an essential feature: the timer. It will automatically start ticking the moment you launch the app, and during the break time, it will replace your display with beautiful wallpaper and an inspirational quote. There is no complicated display – just a timer in the menubar.
For those who want to have more control, there are customizable settings in the preferences.
Another bare-bones Pomodoro app that you can try is ZoneBox. It starts with a simple window asking you to create a new task with the default time limit. And all that you have to do is to click Start. Similar to Just Focus, there are few things you can adjust in the Preferences, including turning your menubar into a purple-hue progress indicator.
Another super-simple Pomodoro timer with zero bells and whistles, Tomighty lives in your menubar, and you can start it by clicking the red icon and choosing Pomodoro. The ticking sound will start as if you are starting a manual cooking timer.
I find the ticking sound annoying, but some people think it helps them focus and adds to the urgency. You can turn the sound on or off and make other adjustments via Preferences.
The app is also available for Windows.
Have you tried implementing Pomodoro in your workflow? What are your favorite Pomodoro apps? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.