8 Superb Pomodoro Timer Apps

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Ever timed yourself on the cooker, to run through that presentation for work? Me too. On the watch for a way to level up? ( AKA, to not have to go to the cooker every time you want another practice run.) You’ve found the right place. It started with a tomato… and then evolved into a polished productive process.

A typical Pomodoro work session lasts for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. That’s long enough to enable you to fully engage with a task and the frequent 5-minute breaks give you time for a quick breather, without having to interrupt your work. When you start using this technique, it might be a good idea to work on tasks that can be completed within 25 minutes. As you get used to this method, you can start breaking down longer tasks into chunks.

You can use any productivity timer you want, but using a dedicated Pomodoro timer can be very useful. Some of the best Pomodoro timers and productivity apps include Ponodor, Mariana, KanbanFlow, Forest, Be Focused, Dewo, Toogl Track, and Timely. Each of them brings something different to the table, so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.

If you add a layer of automation to your Pomodoro timer, you can spend even more time focused on your task. One way you can add automation is through Zapier. Soon, we’ll dive deeper into some of the best Pomodoro timer apps available. First, though, let’s discover the upsides of using productivity timers.

Benefits of productivity timers

Productivity timers can be invaluable attention and time management tools that help you stick to tasks and let you see that your efforts are paying dividends. They can also provide you with a lot of insight into how you work which helps you to refine and improve your working practices to make them more effective.

A good productivity timer will:

  • Help you focus on tasks.
  • Remind you to take frequent breaks to increase productivity.
  • Help you appreciate what you’ve accomplished.
  •  Evaluate the quality of your focus.
  • Provide insights into processes or tasks that are holding you back.
  • Measure your performance over time.
  • Provide you with a form of motivation so that you’re spurred on to achieve more.

Not all productivity timers will provide all of the benefits listed above. So it’s important to distinguish the good from the bad and find one that suits you and your team. Next, we’ll talk about what to look out for, when in search of a good timer.

What makes a great Pomodoro timer app?

The beauty of the Pomodoro technique lies in its simplicity, as I wrote in an earlier post. You don’t need lots of complicated equipment or 3 filing cabinets, or 4 inboxes for it to work. Any timer, digital or analogue, will do. Still, the best Pomodoro apps bring a little extra to the party.

Good Pomodoro timers do a little more than your stopwatch app on your phone. Exactly what they need to do to fit into your organisational or productivity system depends on what you’re searching for. Some merely automate the process of switching between your work and break periods, while others monitor how you spend your time and sync between your various devices.

The best apps are simple, much like the Pomodoro technique itself. They’re nice to look at and don’t add extra distractions or potential for interruptions. It shouldn’t be hard to set a timer. The best Pomodoro timers are ones you can use on their own or with any combination of apps you choose. This takes account of the possibility of you using the Pomodoro technique alongside other practices designed to boost your productivity. They also allow for personalisation. After all, the inventor himself, Francisco Cirillo, only decided on doing 4 25-minute work sprints, interspersed with short breaks, followed by a longer break, through trial and error. This means that if it works for you, you can change how long you set the timer for depending on the type of task you’re doing. You might find that doing boring admin work, you prefer to work in 15-minute blocks, and when writing you might extend the work period to 35 minutes, to allow you to get into the flow of the piece.

By contrast, there are a lot of ill-thought-out timer apps available, that may even add an element of distraction or complexity to the process, thereby undermining its effectiveness,  Don’t worry, though, none of those are on this list.

A word of caution, here. These kinds of apps tend to serve as a practice project for independent developers. That may be one reason why some apps may work now but be liable to break in the future. As I’m able to find out, the apps on this list are all under active development and up to date.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the details.

Photo by Alena Darmel on Pexels.com

8 Best Pomodoro timer apps

Here’re the top 8 productivity timer apps I’ve come across.

Pomodor

This simple web-based Pomodoro timer that’s great for anybody that great of anybody who wants to try this technique out, or only wants to use it occasionally. It’s so easy to use, it almost beats using an app on your smartphone in terms of convenience. Just click play, and it will begin going through a full Pomodoro cycle. You can see a countdown in the URL bar.

But why would you choose Pomodor, over the masses of web-based timers out there? It stands out from the crowd for two reasons.

  • You can customise the length of your work session, breaks and the number of Pomodoro you want to work through in one cycle. All you need to do is go to settings, and customise it to use it to work in any way you like. Click the top of the timer to add a label so that everything is categorised correctly.
  • You can set up a free account, which then tracks how much work you get done.

The Pomodor timer is superb if you don’t want to install anything and just need simple functionality. There’re indeed apps out there that boast more bells and whistles, but for most people —particularly beginners — this app is perfect.

Dewo

Dewo is great for people who want to understand the quality of their performance, start to improve it, and go beyond tracking their time. Dewo tracks everything you work on in the background and uses AI to come up with interesting performance analyses and productivity stats. You can check it at any point to measure your performance over time, and see how your productivity is improving. You can use this feature to work out when you are most focused and spot times in which you’re unproductive, or when you tend to procrastinate.

Another cool feature you can use is the ‘Focus Sessions’. These are useful if you want to really focus on a task without distractions. It mutes all desktop and web app notifications for the duration of the session. When you complete your session, you can view your performance stats to see how you did. By looking at your insights, you can find out things like:

  • How many times you switched between tasks.
  • Which app you used most often.
  • How long you spent on email (No one’s perfect).

On top of all that, Dewo will offer suggestions on how you can improve the way you work, and free up more time to devote to deep work so that you can start to become more productive.

Marinara Timer

This is another web-based Pomodoro timer and is also an extension of Google Chrome. It stands out because it’s a shareable tool you can use if you’re part of a small team. Typically, The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity practice exercised by individuals. However, it can also be really effective if you are working in small groups, either in person or online.

As with the Pomodor, this app is as simple as can be. There’s no need to have an account to share timers. You’re given three options when you use it: Custom, Kitchen, and Pomodoro. If you and your team don’t like the standard Pomodoro method, the custom timer lets you set your own work and break periods. The Kitchen option just allows you to use a simple timer.

Each of the timers has a different URL so that you can send them to your co-workers, wherever they are. That way you can all work off of the same countdown. You can create an administrator link so that your co-workers can reset their timers as needed. You can even customise the link text by clicking Manage.

Why not give it a go and see if it works for you and your team? It’s free, so you got nothing to lose.

Forest

This is one of the best mobile Pomodoro timers. If your smartphone is your biggest single daily distraction, Forest offers a great way to fix it. Whenever you want to stay focused, plant a tree. As you work, using the app, You see a tree growing on your screen as the timer runs down. If you exit the app, the tree withers and dies. Each focus session you complete results in a new fully grown tree appearing in your app. If you continue to use it over the following days and weeks, you could grow a whole forest of trees. Added to that, you can unlock coins as you go so that you can start to plant different types of trees. This classic form of gamification seems to work wonders.

You can even get your friends and colleagues involved, and compete to see who is more productive. It might add an element of fun into your work that will be great for your motivation and productivity in itself.

But don’t let this cute concept fool you. This app has some impressive functionality. It has analytics that tracks when you’re most productive, and you can tag and categorise your work periods, depending on what you’re doing. It defaults to the usual Pomodoro setup of 25/5, so despite it not being specifically called a Pomodoro productivity timer, it qualifies for this list, to my mind at least. Whatever the case, it’s one of the best mobile apps of its kind and well worth a try.

Timely

Want a way to automate your time tracking without using Zapier? Timely might just be the app you’re looking for.

Timely goes one step beyond most other timers. It offers an overview of your performance in terms of productivity and doesn’t just offer insights based on the blocks you time manually in sessions. It still has a manual tracker if you need a psychological motivator, but it will capture everything you work on and track your background activity, across your whole day.

You will see a secure private timeline of the things you work on, which can be useful for working out how long particular jobs take you to finish. You can use that same data to work out when you’re spending too much time on low-value tasks and not enough on high-value ones. You’ll be out to see when you’re most productive and when your productivity levels reach a natural peak. You can feed that information back into your schedule and use it to set more realistic, achievable goals.

Be Focused

Look no further, Apple devotees. Here’s the one for you. Apple users have all the best options. This is one of the nicest existing variations of the Pomodoro timer.

Whether you’re working on an iPhone and iPad or a Mac, you can name a task you’re working on, access a basic to-do list, and start a timer. This to-do list functionality can be handy when you’re keeping track of your work and noting how many Pomodoro cycles finishing a more complex task calls for. In the report section, you can find a nice visualisation of the data. The data collected can be synced across all your devices, including live timers. This means that if you wish, you could have Pomodoros running on your Mac, iPhone, and even your Apple Watch simultaneously. If you don’t mind putting up with annoying ads, you can get a free version of this in the App Store.

It’s worth remembering that this is not Apple’s only offering in terms of productivity timers. If you want to block out all distractions, you could try the Flow app, and if you want an app designed to help you set up your to-do list, take a peek at FocusList.

KanbanFlow

if you enjoy using the Kanban project management system and also like using the Pomodoro Method, this one may suit you. It links both productivity systems in a very easy-to-use web-based app. It works similarly to Trello, and has some default columns already in place. These are:

  • To Do.
  • In Progress.
  • Do Today.
  • Done.

You can change these categories to whatever you want by right-clicking on them and choosing ‘Edit’. You can also add new columns using the pencil icon in the top-right. That way, you can break larger tasks up into, smaller, more achievable chunks. Then you can use the Pomodoro features by clicking on the card you want and selecting Timer.

If you’ve ever used an app like Trello, you’ll be familiar with how KanbanFlow works. You’ve got a series of vertical columns with task cards in each one. You can change them to anything you want by right-clicking on them and selecting Edit, or add new columns by clicking the pencil icon in the top-right corner.

KanbanFlow can be integrated with Zapier, so you can link it to other apps to automate tasks, or to send messages in Slack, for example. You can click reports to see how much time you spent on each card, which allows you to more accurately gauge how long something takes you to do.

Toggl Track

Toggl track is a Pomodoro timer that can keep tabs on the hours you work and can automatically filter out your breaks so that invoicing your clients is a cinch. Toggle is first-and-foremost a time tracking app, so if you aren’t going to use the Pomodoro functionality often, another timer that might be a better fit for you.

But if you want to keep track of your billable hours using the Pomodoro Method, this is probably the one for you. It’s super easy to use and whenever you want to track what you’re doing you just start the timer. You don’t even need to tell Toggl what task you’re working on, or who you’re working on it for. Those details can be added later. The timer will count down for your preferred Pomodoro length (the default is 25 minutes) then it will start a Pomodoro break. When the break ends, you can carry on with your work session. If you find yourself in the zone and work through a break, you can note this down in the web app by going to Timer and selecting the applicable break.

As with KanbanFlow, Toggl integrates with Zapier so you can share your time entries on Slack and automatically create projects on a task management system, such as Trello.

The wrap up

We’ve covered the benefits of using a dedicated Pomodoro app, how to spot a good one in a sea of timers, and have looked at 8 of the best productivity timers out there. I hope you’ll try one or more of these for yourself, to see if they can unlock your hidden potential. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself by becoming more productive than you ever thought you would. If you find one that you like more than the others in this list (or if you use one I’ve not listed), feel free to let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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