Francesco Cirillo was still a student in the 1980s when he discovered one of the most efficient ways to work. He would force himself then to do work in sprints, under pressure from a kitchen timer that looked like a bright red pomodoro or tomato. The strategy was surprisingly effective, and it has since become a globally renowned template of time management. Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique entails setting a timer and taking on a task nonstop for 25 minutes: no checking e-mails, browsing unnecessary websites, etc. When the alarm rings, you tick off the task as one pomodoro accomplished and accordingly take a 5-minute break. Four pomodoros entitles you to an increase in break-time, anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour.
In lieu of a physical timer, the one from the official website or these apps would get you plucking tomatoes in no time:
Awesome Pomodoro Apps You Got to Check Out
1. Pomodroido (Android)
This app ranks on many top-of lists, partly because of its clean, easy-to-use interface with a simple progress bar. You might also love that it lets you set lengthier pomodoros and breaks. Moreover, it has a rewards system that facilitates sprinting. Its major downside, however, is that it you can’t name or specify a task, a let-down if you want to reckon how long it takes.
Pomodroido adheres to the technique by ticking loudly like any kitchen timer. This is a good thing for those likely to forget their pomodoros, a bad one for those who appreciate quietness or work with others who do.
2. TimeBox (Android)
This app lets you personalize a pomodoro so that it is no longer strictly a 25-minute dash alongside a 5-minute break; it becomes a ‘time-box’ of your making. As such, the app fills a need for those with attention spans that fall short of the 25-minute mark. Customized pomodoros automatically become presets, which you can access from time to time or delete altogether.
3. Clockwork Tomato (Android)
Never mind the pun, for Clockwork Tomato is juicy with features and free of ads. You can completely configure the timers, colors and sounds. The app’s timers, some of which are extended beyond pomodoro time, can ‘auto-chain’ to each other. They show up even when the phone is locked. As for drawbacks, the app is unable to track tasks, much less distractions.
Clockwork Tomato also comes in Russian, Chinese and German versions.
4. Promodoro (iOS)
Promodoro allows naming of tasks, the catch being that you can’t ascribe them as completed pomodoros. It also exhibits stats for feats of time you may have achieved.
Even if you close Promodoro and lock your phone, the app manages to notify you if you need to resume work or take that much-needed recess.
5. Focus Time (iOS)
Formerly known as Pomodoro Pro, Focus Time has a mesmerizingly brilliant stopwatch that darkens when the hands turn counter-clockwise. It departs from many timers in that the watch is not shaped like a tomato; stars denote the number of tomatoes you harvest.
6. Simple Pomodoro Timer (iOS)
Some of the foregoing may sound too convoluted to most workers; the aptly named Simple Pomodoro Timer rises up to the occasion. As its name suggests, the app vaunts no frills, just the requisite thrill of racing for 25 minutes and taking a 5-minute break thereafter.
However, the same simplicity offers neither points nor analytics. Also, this timer only triggers a vibrator, not an alarm tone, which might lead to forgotten breaks.
Sharon Freeman is a professional freelancer who writes about time and business management related topics for companies such as TradiePad