Advisor Technology | 02/03/2016
Measure Your Time in Tomatoes: The Best Chrome Extensions and Apps for the Pomodoro Technique
A lot of people struggle with spending time wisely. To quote the great John Mulaney: “Percentage-wise, it is 100% easier not to do things than to do them.”
Thanks to the magic of technology and a little something called the Pomodoro Technique, staying on task seems more attainable.
If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro Technique, I’ll give you the short version. The average amount of time the human brain can concentrate on any one task is 25 minutes. So the technique says you should break your day into 30-minute segments called “Pomodoros” (Italian for “tomatoes”). A Pomodoro is comprised of 25 minutes of solid work followed by a five-minute break.
When I say “solid work,” I mean nothing but the task at hand. If someone interrupts you, you’re supposed to tell them you can talk to them during your break and make a note that you were distracted. It’s for real.
I haven’t reached that black-belt level of Pomodorianism yet. It’s hard when you work on a team like we do here at Mineral. I have yet to tell any of my team members to leave me alone when I’m mid-Pomodoro.
Thankfully, Google Chrome has a wealth of extensions and apps that can help keep you faithful to the clock. I’ve compiled a list of the three best extensions and three best apps for Pomodoro enthusiasts.
For those of us with little to no self control, there’s Strict Workflow, which you can set to block specific websites during your 25-minute work session and un-block them during your break. This one’s serious: It won’t allow you to remove websites from your block list when you’re in the middle of a Pomodoro. True to the Pomodoro Technique, once you start a Pomodoro, there is no way to stop it.
Then there’s Pomotodo, which combines a to-do list with the Pomodoro method and provides analysis on your work habits. Bonus: You can download Pomotodo on your phone and sync your to-do lists. Non-bonus: Pomotodo’s alarm sound is the most annoying on the list.
If you just want the timer and nothing else, there’s Simple Pomodoro. It resembles the original Pomodoro timers, which were red tomato-shaped kitchen timers.
There are also a bunch of free Chrome apps, which you install on your computer and run offline.
It’s hard to choose a favorite here. Among them is definitely the simply titled Pomodoro Timer. It has a built-in task manager, just like Pomotodo, along with analysis and the simplest interface of the more complex timers, allowing you to add and delete tasks and start and stop Pomodoros with one click (yes, you can stop tasks with this one, much to the chagrin of Pomo-purists). Bonus: You can customize the alarm sound.
For people who just want the timer, there’s Pure Pomodoro.
The greatest part about Pomello is that it links to our Trello board and tracks how many Pomodoros each task takes. As you can see on the right, the number next to the little tomato icon represents how many Pomodoros I’ve spent on the task.
I can easily look at a Trello list and see what’s taking up most of my time, if I’m spending too much time on something, and which tasks I’ve been ignoring.
Too many tasks on your to-do list? Not sure how to focus your time? Drop us a line and see how we can help.
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