What I’ve used in the past
In the past, I’ve used a timer called Forest and wrote about it before. Which had been good at the time. However, at the end of my last article, I expressed that they could make things a little better like having a Pomodoro style added to it.
Sometimes, I would use it non-stop for a whole week. Then have this habit of whacking it up to the full amount of time to have a genuinely blossoming tree. This was great for the reward side, but it wasn’t great for when I needed to take a break.
Because of this issue, I stopped using it for a very long time and kept wondering to myself if there was something better suited. I’ve looked into Pomodoro timers in the past which were browser-based solutions, and they all sucked. There was little to no explanation for what the time was for. Should I be working right now, or taking a break? If I move away from my browser and another program is on top, I can no longer see the time, and there was no sound. Browser-based Pomodoro timers were useless and lacking in so many features, so I gave up.
A new hero has entered the room
Until last week when I listened to a fascinating podcast episode talking about Pomodoro apps. This reinstated my interest, and I decided to take a look at the Apple App Store. I entered “Pomodoro timer” in search and up came “Focus Keeper” (available on the Apple Store, and Android Store). Out of intrigue, I decided to download it and give it a go.
Instantly, it gave me a run-through of “Focus”, “Short Break” and “Long Break” timers. I thought I would keep all timings as the default, which is 25 minutes for focus or work time, 5 minutes short break, and 25 minutes long break which has worked out well for me. If it doesn’t suit your needs, then you can change them to suit you.
Some annoyances (at least for me) that you should know about before starting a timer are the sound options. The timers can have a ticking sound which I find very distracting and had to turn them off. However, you can change to ticking sounds and even switch to music. On Apple devices, it can work with Apple Music, but not Spotify, which is a shame. I’m not sure how it works for Android, but maybe you can link it to Spotify on there.
Break little and often
Breaks will also play a lovely beach sound by default which confused me. I was listening to music on the same device. Then during my break, I had this beach sound with my music. At first, I thought it was part of the track, but I couldn’t remember it being on the song before. It wasn’t until it went from one song to another. I could still hear waves playing, and I figured it was the app on not my music. I quickly turned it off after I found out about this.
Of course, you might be completely different and want ticking sounds and waves during your breaks. However, it is entirely up to you, and the app is very customisable. The only thing it doesn’t do is block apps or websites which if you need an app to do that, then Forest might be for you.
It would be great if someone could make a fusion of Forest and Focus Keeper, but until then, I will continue to use Focus Keeper while keeping an eye out on other applications within this space.
If you know of any other apps that are potentially better, then please feel free to share them, and, I will take a look.