Procrastination is a malady that pervades students and workers in all corners of the world and it infects amateurs and professionals alike. As a writer, I suffer from procrastination on a daily basis. Some people call it “writer’s block”.
From my own experiences, I’ve learned that one of the striking differences between the successful and the unsuccessful lies in how you handle and react to procrastination tendencies. If you can find a way to quell your desire to procrastinate, then you’ll drive towards success. If not, you’ll never get anything done.
One technique that has been proven to be effective for many people is the Pomodoro Technique. MakeUseOf has covered this topic in the past, but over the last few years, a number of apps and software tools have popped up making the Pomodoro Technique easier than ever.
The Pomodoro Technique: An Overview
What exactly is the Pomodoro Technique? If you’ve never heard of this method, then keep reading. If you already know about it, feel free to skip on to the next section.
According to the inventor of the technique itself:
The Pomodoro Technique® is a way to get the most out of time management. Turn time into a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do and chart continuous improvement in the way we do it.
Basically, all you have to do is the following:
- Choose a task to be accomplished. In this case, writing.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- When the timer rings, make a tally mark and take a short 5-minute break.
- The 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest is 1 Pomodoro. Every 4 Pomodoros, take a 15-minute break.
That’s it. That’s the whole method.
Of course, you can alter the technique to suit your personal needs. If you’d rather work for 60 minutes and take 15-minute breaks, do that. If you’d rather work for 15 minutes and take 10-minute breaks, go ahead. The method is meant to help you, so feel free to tweak it to maximize your efficiency.
So what sort of apps and software tools can you use to make this easy on yourself? Here are a few that cover numerous devices and operating systems – and best of all, they’re free.
If you’re looking for a free Pomodoro app for your Android device, PomLife Lite is as good as it gets for now. There aren’t a whole lot of choices available, so when it comes to free Pomodoro apps for Android, it’s all about the least of all evils. However, PomLife Lite does have a number of features that can aid you well.
As for PomLife Lite’s feature set, it’s a basic timer app with a built-in to-do list. You can customize it based on your Pomodoro preferences (work length, short break length, long break length). In addition, it tracks your individual Pomodoros for you.
For $2.99, you can upgrade to PomLife Pro. With it, you’ll get new features like activity sorting and increased list sizes.
Unfortunately for the iPhone, there are very few Pomodoro apps that are free. In fact, iTomato is the only free one I could find. Even more unfortunately, the feature set for iTomato is rather barebones. If you’re looking for a quality Pomodoro timer, you’ll have to fork over some cash.
With iTomato, you’re basically relegated to setting an egg timer. It’ll tick down until it reaches zero, then it’ll ring.
Pomodairo [Windows, Mac, Linux]
Pomodairo is a standalone program that operates as a sleek desktop Pomodoro timer. However, it runs on the Adobe Air platform, which is good because it means that Pomodairo is cross-platform. However, it also means that the skin of the program won’t mesh with whatever operating system you’re using. If that bothers you, then you’ll need to look elsewhere.
With Pomodairo, you can set up various tasks and each task tracks statistics as you complete them – and that’s the selling point of this piece of software. It logs statistics related to your work progress and you can review your performance.
Tomighty [Windows, Mac, Linux]
If you’re looking for a very minimalistic, no-distractions type of Pomodoro program, then Tomighty is the one for you. It sits quietly in your system tray as it tracks your time. The options are also minimalistic. You can set how much time to allot to each Pomodoro and each break.
Tomighty can run as a portable program on Windows, or it can be installed onto any machine that is capable of running the Java runtime.
Focus Booster [Windows, Mac]
For maximum availability, look to Focus Booster. It’s not riddled with an overload of settings and options. Instead, it’s very sleek and minimal and its standalone desktop version can be run on Windows and Mac. However, if you don’t care for installations or if you’re on Linux, you can use their free browser version.
Do you use the Pomodoro technique? If so, has it helped you get better? What apps do you use? Let us know in the comments.
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