We’re always looking for ways to improve our productivity. With that goal in mind, you may have tried techniques like time boxing, time blocking, and bullet journaling. One technique that continues to gain in popularity is the Pomodoro Technique. This simple method is known for helping busy professionals break through distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.
Pomodoro Technique background
Francesco Cirillo invented the technique, which got its name from the tomato kitchen timer he used to track his time. (Side note: Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.)
The technique breaks work periods into 25-minute intervals, followed by five-minute breaks. Once four work periods, or Pomodoros, have passed, you take a longer break of 15–20 minutes. Essentially, you could break it down into the following five steps:
- Choose what you’ll work on.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes.
- Work, avoiding distractions, until 25 minutes are up.
- Take a five-minute break.
- After four work periods, take a 15–20 minute break.
The beauty of this method is its simplicity. All you really need is a simple timer. However, using a Pomodoro-specific app can make keeping track of breaks and progress more manageable. We’ll get to that in a bit.
You may wonder what to do if your tasks take less than 25 minutes. In this case, you’ll want to group smaller tasks to use your time slots effectively. Conversely, you can break down larger projects into smaller tasks to fit in the 25-minute intervals.
Remember, during the 25 minutes, your goal is to eliminate distractions. Using focus mode on your device can help limit the temptation to pick up your phone. Jotting down things you don’t want to forget also helps you stay on task.
Now that you have a good idea of how the Pomodoro Technique works, let’s consider how it helps you be more productive.
Benefits of using the Pomodoro Technique
Using the Pomodoro Technique ensures that you can focus but also helps you take needed breaks. Additionally, it provides productivity benefits for both the short and long term, which include helping you
- Reduce distraction. A big project can give us an overwhelming desire to procrastinate. Breaking it down into 25-minute work intervals is more palatable, making us more disciplined in our work process and in how often we allow ourselves to get distracted.
- Fight burnout. Busy schedules often force us to work in a counterproductive way. Instead of taking needed breaks, we try to push through. The result is diminished performance and diminished returns.
- Improve time management. Where does your time go? The Pomodoro Technique gives you visibility into how much time it takes to complete specific tasks. You can then avoid being overly optimistic about how long it will take to accomplish projects and schedule the time you need.
Timing your projects with the Pomodoro Technique helps keep you accountable and focused. Why not give it a try? If you need a bit more motivation, try enlisting a friend to do it with you.
Pomodoro-specific apps can facilitate tracking and give you a way to see your progress over time. Here are 16 of the best Pomodoro apps available to help you track your time and improve your productivity:
16 best Pomodoro apps
- Focus booster
- Focus Keeper
- Focus To-Do
- Marinara Timer
- Toggl Track
- Be Focused
- Pomodoro Tracker
- Clockwork Tomato
- Bear Focus Timer
1. Focus booster
Focus booster is a lightweight and straightforward Pomodoro timer that automatically records each session. The dashboard lets you review reports, track your work, and visualize how you’re spending your time. The app features a Pomodoro timer, customizable session lengths, report exports, and manual time entry.
The company focuses on its productivity app, which offers a free starter plan with access to 20 Pomodoro sessions per month. However, unless you only use the app occasionally, you’ll need more sessions. Professional plans cost $4.99 per month, with a free month if you pay annually. If you’d like to try it before buying, the professional plan includes a 30-day trial.
TomatoTimer is a free, web-based Pomodoro timer. The timer is super simple and allows users to customize just a few key items, including sound, volume, Pomodoro length, and break times. You can also start your Pomodoros and breaks automatically. Its simplicity makes it a compelling option for those who want a straightforward timer and nothing more.
The PomoDoneApp is a simple tool that integrates with other task management services like Trello, Evernote, Asana, and Todoist. Integrate it with the task manager you’re already using, and you won’t have to add tasks to the PomoDoneApp. This seamless integration makes getting started simple and convenient.
The PomoDoneApp is available on every operating system. It also includes Chrome extensions on Mac and Windows that let you start, stop, and pause tasks right from your toolbar.
The free starter plan allows you to manage five projects at a time with two integrations from a limited list. Paid plans start at $2.48 per month, giving you access to reporting and other features. Each paid plan comes with a one-week free trial.
4. Focus Keeper
Focus Keeper is a time-tracking tool that features an intuitive interface, productivity charts, and an adjustable timer you can set with your fingers. Sessions, goals, sounds, and colors are all customizable within the app. The productivity tool is available on iOS and Android.
Focus Keeper is free to use, but if you want access to all its features, you’ll need the Pro version for $1.99. Pro features allow you to create unlimited tasks, access task data, set timer lengths, and more.
5. Focus To-Do
Focus To-Do offers convenient white noise, timer customization, and task management features. It’s available on mobile, tablet, desktop, and as a Chrome extension. It also includes reporting, syncing between devices, and the ability to set due dates or reminders.
Focus To-Do offers some great task management features. You can assign tasks to specific projects, split projects into subtasks, and set frequent tasks on repeat. Best of all, it’s free.
6. Marinara Timer
Marinara Timer is a web-based Pomodoro timer. You can select from three options: a traditional Pomodoro timer, a custom timer, and a kitchen timer. The timer is simple to use but doesn’t include any advanced features like reports or integrations with other tools.
Marinara Timer is free, and you don’t need to download anything to use it. It’s a great option for those who need a timer with no frills.
Pomello is the Pomodoro app designed to integrate with Trello. It uses Trello’s project management tool to organize tasks. Pomello turns Trello cards into Pomodoro tasks in a distraction-free design.
This productivity app has a Basic plan that’s free for use on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The Premium plan option costs just $2 per month or $20 per year. With this plan, you can turn checklist items into tasks, choose custom timer sounds, and export your productivity data.
8. Toggl Track
Toggl Track is a full-featured time management app that isn’t specifically designed for the Pomodoro Technique. That said, it allows you to turn on a Pomodoro feature that adds a Pomodoro timer to Toggl Track’s Chrome and Firefox extensions.
Toggl Track offers a host of advanced time-tracking features like one-click timers, tracking reminders, 100+ app integrations, reporting, and the ability to assign billable rates to tasks. You can use it and sync it across any device. Toggl Track’s basic plan is free to use. Premium plans begin at $9 per user, per month and include more advanced reporting and time-tracking features.
9. Be Focused
The Be Focused app has several customization options to help keep you productive. Key features include task management, goal tracking, and pie chart reporting. Additionally, you can customize the duration of your break and work sessions.
The free Be Focused app comes with all the features we’ve discussed so far. The premium version is Be Focused Pro. The paid app costs $2.99 and has more robust features like CSV file exports and Apple Watch syncing.
10. Pomodoro Tracker
Pomodoro Tracker has a web application that lets you use the timer without installing the app or signing up. However, you’ll need to create an account to use the task management features. Pomodoro Tracker allows you to customize your settings to change session lengths and notification settings and to integrate with other apps.
Pomodoro Tracker has a free version and a paid premium version available through the Mac App Store. The premium app costs $2.99 and allows you to manage your daily to-do list, use the scheduler, block your screen on breaks, and more.
11. Clockwork Tomato
Clockwork Tomato is available for Android devices on Google Play. The app has a timer, clock, and activity log. Additionally, you can tweak timers, sounds, colors, styles, and behavior with more than 50 customization options. The user interface is very simple, and if you use the full-screen option, the minimalist design is great for staying focused.
Clockwork Tomato’s basic app is free to use. However, an in-app expansion pack starts at $2.49 per item. Premium options include task lists that are editable from any text editor through Dropbox, detailed activity logs with enhanced recaps, and the ability to switch between up to five profiles.
Forest is a unique productivity app that helps users stay focused while supporting an eco-conscious cause. Your goal is to grow a forest, and you grow trees by completing successful focus sessions. Growing trees also gives you credits, which you can spend on planting real trees. Forest has a deep focus mode that detects if you leave the app and makes you restart your session.
Forest has a one-time purchase cost of $1.99 through iOS. You can use it across all Apple devices. It’s free to use through Google Play, but you need the Pro version (also $1.99) to use it across all Android devices.
The Tide app isn’t strictly a Pomodoro app. It has four modes designed to help you focus, sleep, nap, and breathe. Tide pairs a Pomodoro timer with natural sound to help you maintain your focus. The timer defaults to 25-minute intervals, but you can customize it to your work period.
Tide doesn’t include task management features; instead, it focuses more on improving your individual focus sessions through soundscapes. Tide is free to use on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Chrome.
14. Bear Focus Timer
Bear Focus Timer is a fun app that combines the Pomodoro Technique with white noise for improved concentration. It features a cartoon bear with a clean, minimalist timer. The Bear Focus app is a good choice for a simple Pomodoro timer without added reports or functions.
Bear Focus Timer is artful, minimalist, and straightforward to use. Although the app isn’t free, it’s available on iOS for a one-time purchase of $1.99.
Pomotodo is a Pomodoro-inspired time management app made for creatives. It’s designed to help you manage your workflow with features that include a to-do list, timesheet reports, and performance stats.
Pomotodo is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Chrome. The free plan gives you access to the basic features as long as you sign up. The Pro plan includes features like goal setting, notes, duration customization, additional sound options, and a weekly productivity report. The Pro plan costs $3.90 per month.
ClickUp is a free, all-in-one productivity tool that individual users and teams of any size can use to manage time, organize work, and monitor progress, all in one platform. With over 15 customizable views, a global time tracker, and a time estimate feature, ClickUp takes the Pomodoro technique to a whole new level. Start and stop time from any device and jump in between tasks with ClickUp’s global timer. Add time retroactively or manually create entries that link back to any task in your workspace.
Plus, ClickUp integrates with 1,000 other tools like PomoDone to bring all of your time into ClickUp in seconds. Access ClickUp’s time-tracking features, 100 MB of storage, and unlimited members and tasks with the Free Forever Plan. Gain access to even more advanced features with paid plans starting at $5 per member, per month.
The first step toward improving your productivity
A major productivity boost may just be an app away. If you’re ready to try the Pomodoro Technique, give the apps on this list a try. We’re sure you’ll find one that fits your work and style.
Another way you can improve your productivity is by changing the way you collect and store data. Jotform’s powerful forms help you reduce busywork, so you have more time for what matters. Our forms cover a range of needs, from scheduling appointments to planning your wedding. Take one more step toward your most productive self and try Jotform free today.