Another aspect of the Pomodoro Technique is to take longer breaks after completing your preferred number of sessions in a given day. The default setting for the app is a 15-minute break every four Pomodoros. Both of these are also adjustable in the settings.
In addition to being able to adjust the timers, you will also find an option to turn off a ticking sound as the timer counts down. The ticking is on by default and continues to play even when the app is in the background. At first I found the constant ticking to be a little annoying, but eventually learned to start enjoying it. I typically listen to music while I work, which covers up the ticking sound. But when it came time for a break I would turn off my music, go for a walk, and listen to the ticking sound the entire time. It was a way of relaxing and clearing my mind. As much as I enjoy (or rely) on music to help me get through the day, sometimes it's nice to just listen to white noise.
An alarm notifies you when each Pomodoro or break session comes to an end. A total of six different alarm sounds are included in the app.
To round out the settings section, you'll find the ability to set a target number of Pomodoros per day, the option to have the count automatically reset each night at midnight, and finally the ability to force your iPhone screen to stay on when the app is open and running.
Using the app
During my testing I committed to using it for an entire work day, taking breaks when instructed and getting back to work when it was time. By the end of the day I found myself wanting to just ignore the alerts. "I'm in the middle of something," or "Now's not a good time," were just a couple of excuses that would run through my mind when I'd hear the alarm sound.
The following day I started off using the timer again, determined to retrain my brain to work in set patterns, but by lunch I had already succumbed to my excuses and was ignoring each alarm without a second guess. Clearly, I'm not the type of person who will benefit from this app, but I think if you're committed to making it work, it could be a helpful tool.
I personally would find an iPad version of this app more useful, as most of my writing is done on an iPad. Instead of having to use my iPhone to listen to music and have Pomodoro Timer running, it would be easier to have it all on one device.
As I stated earlier, going into my review of the Pomodoro Timer I knew nothing about the Pomodoro Technique. All I knew was this was a timer app that promised to break up my day, making me more productive. After getting through the initial learning curve which made this very simple app appear to be extremely complicated, I started to enjoy the routine it helped me to create. But the biggest issue Pomodoro Timer has is getting people like me, who usually don't turn to timers (and had never even thought about using one), to stick with the program.
I like the concept overall and the app does a pretty good job, even though the interface is not as clear as I'd like. In the end, the app's effectiveness really comes down to personal work habits, and if you want to make Pomodoro Timer work for you, you're going to have to apply yourself.