As a freelance writer, I need all the help I can get to stay on target. I don't have a boss who might suddenly appear, looming over my shoulder, wondering why I'm on Facebook. I don't have co-workers who are depending on me to finish my part of a larger project. It's just me and the Internet, with deadlines to hit and monthly quotas to fill.
I began using the Pomodoro Technique, which has you working for 20- or 25-minute blocks and then taking a 5- or 10-minute break. It has helped me stay focused for longer stretches during the day. There are a number of Pomodoro apps for iOS, but I like the 30/30 app for three reasons:
1. It's free (and ad-free).
2. It lets you schedule tasks for varying amounts of time.
3. It supports gesture controls.
The 30/30 app is based on a balanced work cycle where you work uninterrupted for 30 minutes, followed by a 30-minute break. I don't know about you, but I need to be working more than 50 percent of the time. Thankfully, the app lets you schedule tasks from as short as one minute to as long as three hours.
With this control, 30/30 lets me create a list of tasks and breaks to help me structure my day. The app features a simple layout, with a large timer at the top and a colorful list of tasks below. You use gestures to manage your list of tasks. Pinch apart to create a new task, swipe to delete a task, drag to reorder, and double-tap to edit a task. When setting up a task, you can give the task a title, and you can also give it one of eight colors and one of 24 icons. The use of gestures and color brings to mind the popular Clear to-do list app.
To start a task, tap the timer. A chime sounds when a task completes, and the task is then moved to the bottom of your list, which is convenient for repeating tasks from day to day.
Tap the button in the upper-left corner to access settings. There are two brightness settings, and the ability to turn off sounds and vibrate. The app is rather noisy, emitting a variety of bleeps and blips with each tap, but if you disable sounds, then you also won't hear the chime when the timer hits zero. In settings, there is also an In-App Shop, which is a unique model where the developer asks you to donate $0.99, $1.99, or $2.99 if you like the app.
Do you have a favorite time management app or method? If so, please schedule a break and share in the comments below.