Do you work better after planning out your day? Is starting a piece of work, a seemingly insurmountable task considering the mountain of things to do accumulating around your ears? You probably need something to tell you when to do what, and most importantly when to take a break.
30/30 might just be the app you’re looking for. It’s a free organisational godsend for people who take on too much and then don’t know where to start. It’s also great for workaholics who don’t realise taking regular, short breaks actually increases productivity.
How It Works
Ease of use is paramount when it comes to organising an already hectic schedule, and thankfully 30/30 keeps it nice and simple. Enter your upcoming tasks into the organiser, choose a corresponding symbol and assign a maximum of one hour to each task. Start the timer and begin your day, using the app to prompt you when it’s time to stop and do something else.
By limiting each task to an hour, the app is essentially forcing you to break up large tasks into smaller chunks, ideally with breaks in between. So if a task would usually take you two hours, you would have to create two tasks. The ability to insert a ten minute break in the middle (and be notified about when to take it) is the main draw here, with micro-breaks proven to increase productivity.
When it’s time to move on to a new task or take a break, the app will alert you. Tap the notification and the next task automatically starts when the app resumes. This makes the process fairly automated leaving you to get on with your busy life.
Naturally things don’t always go to plan, and you can pause and reset the timer if you’re interrupted or find yourself needing to rush out. Your schedule automatically repeats, so it can be as simple as a basic work-break cycle or as complicated as your whole schedule planned down to the last minute.
When I first used 30/30 I couldn’t help but be reminded of another of my favourite apps, the simple list-making app Clear. It uses a fairly non-orthodox interface which relies entirely on gestures and 30/30 works in a similar way.
At the top of the screen is the timer, and tapping this will start the chain of events you have laid out for yourself. To create a new task, pinch apart below it with your fingers. I had some trouble getting the tasks to appear where I wanted them, but it’s easy to move a task once created by tapping, holding then dragging. Swiping horizontally will remove a task; handy if you’re not using 30/30 as a sort of Pomodoro timer.
Each task uses a colour to differentiate it from the last, and the list background changes to a lighter shade to reflect this. You cannot specify which colour the task should use, but you can modify the symbol that appears next to each task. There are quite a few symbols to choose from, with a vast number of activities covered. The symbols themselves aren’t overly important but they are an attractive visual aid.
Tapping the top-left cog icon reveals a settings menu that allows you to quickly enable and disable sounds, vibration and notifications as well as toggling auto-pause when the current task is finished. There are also options here for rating and donating, with donation being an optional in-app purchase to show your love to the developer.
Download: 30/30 for iPhone @ App Store
In the version I reviewed (1.02) there are no limitations or adverts and no price tag, which makes 30/30 a great little free app. If you’ve never tried the micro-break technique before, then 30/30 makes it easy to try without having to buy an app or manually time yourself.
In addition to this, 30/30 can be used to organise a tight schedule with the only limitation perhaps being the maximum time of 1 hour per event. If you’ve been looking for a promising free app to help better organise your working day, this one is definitely worth the download.
Have you used 30/30? Maybe you prefer another, similar app? Does the Pomodoro technique work for you? Do you work all day without a break? De-stress and let us know in the comments, below.