The Pomodoro Technique is a productivity methodology that helps you to stay focused on a task by breaking up your day into 25-minute work stints (called “pomodoros”) followed by five-minute breaks. It’s named for the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that its inventor Francesco Cirillo used for timing pomodoros, but in reality, any countdown timer can be used. Here are a selection of free apps that can be used to time pomodoros on your computer:
Focus Booster. A free, slickly designed timer app that’s available on the web, as well as on the desktop via an AIR application, so it works on both Windows and Mac.
Pomodairo. Another free AIR-based desktop app. As well as acting as a simple timer for your pomodoros, it can track tasks, and time unplanned work and interruption.
Pomodori. A pomodoro timer that can also record session information and help you plan future activities with detailed reports.
TimeBoxed. An unobtrusive and customizable timer app for the Mac. The time bar changes color to warn you of your approaching deadline. You can choose from a variety of alerts: sound, speech alert, visual animations and Growl messages.
Menubar Countdown. If you really want to keep things simple, this is a basic countdown timer that displays itself on the right-hand side of the Mac OS X menu bar.
Keep Focused. A portable Windows app that not only acts as a session timer, it can also be used to record what you did in each session for a daily review, too.
MaToMaTo. An animated Pomodoro Technique timer. It’s pretty simple and has no additional task management features.
Finally, if you have an iPhone, you could also use Navel Labs’ Pomodoro Timer, a neat app that looks and works just like the real-life kitchen timer; it’s not in my list above, though, as it’s not free.