You say tomato, I say pomodoro

I used to be a big fan of Pomodoro, the tomato based productivity philosophy invented by Francesco Cirillo. If you haven’t heard about the basic gist is that you work hard and focused for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break to get away from what you’re doing and, as Cirillo puts it, manage your distractions. I tend to use the break for getting a new cup of coffe, checking my phone for messages and other non-work related communication. I usually use a full Pomodoro a day to get through email so I stay of that during breaks.

Since I started working in an office again in 2013 I strayed away from the Pomodoro technique, it can be really challening to get that kind of focused time at a consistent basis in an office environment! But recently I have really missed that feeling of being “in the zone” and really productive, so Pomodoro is back!

So this weekend I set out to update myself on the flora of Pomodoro apps. Since I used it extensively in 2012 and 2013 already had an idea about what to look for, and it actually turns out that it seems to be the same players that rule the game. My iPhone used to be my favorite tool for keeping track of my Pomodoros, since I try to get away from the computer during the breaks I never really found my computer to be a great alternative.

The new kid on the block for me was my Pebble that I bought last spring. It seemed like a great Pomorodo companion and I’ve tried all the apps I could find in the Pebble Appstore. And that’s the real reason for writing this post, a quick review of the app alternatives out there.

Pomodoro Timer

Platform: OS X
Link: iTunes

Pomodoro Timer was the first app I used when I heard about the Pomodoro technique. It’s really basic, but also very good at what it does. No fuzz, no frills.

30/30

Platform: iOS
Link: AppStore

Not a Pomodoro app per say, but it does the job really well. I use 30/30 for workouts and other things so I haven’t really found a reason to use a dedicated app for my Pomodoros. And as a timer app 30/30 is outstanding!

MultiTimer

Platform: Pebble
Link: GetPebble

As 30/30, I use MultiTimer on my Pebble in a lot of ways. I figured it could probably double as a Pomodoro timer too, but it really couldn’t. Since there’s no way to automatically activate the break timer when the work timer ends, and vice versa, it doesn’t really work for me.

It’s an excellent timer app for the Pebble though!

PblPom

Platform: Pebble
Link: My Pebble Faces

Pblpom gives you pretty granular control of the length of your Pomodoros, how your Pebble should alert you, and more. What I didn’t really like was the UI. Nothing wrong with it really, it just didn’t float my boat. And the notifications were a little to weak for me.

Sunny

Platform: Pebble
Link: Andrwj

Sunny is something as elaborate as a Pomodoro timer / diving watch. It seemed promising but the UI was a little to clunky for me. All kinds of settings and if you need granular control of your Pomodoro timer it’s probably your best bet, but the fact that it took me a few minutes to figure out how to even put it in Pomodoro mode kind of threw me of.

PebbleDoro

Platform: Pebble
Link: Github

My favorite so far for the Pebble! Super simple UI, three buttons and a blank space that gradually fills with squares to indicate how far along you are in your current pomodoro.

Everything considered I do like the PebbleDoro app most of the Pebble apps, but I think that I’ll stick with my iPhone and 30/30 for keeping track of my Pomodoros. The biggest advantage for the iOS platform is that it has better notifications, which include pushing messages to my Pebble.