Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author: Phil McMillan – Learning Enhancement (Digital), CCL

“Pomo” Italian, noun

The room is filled with scent of fresh basil, Sicilian lemons and rich olive oil, a thick rossa ragu is slowly bubbling in a cracked brown ceramic pot. Scattered dots of sauce have stained a tea towel and the accompanying tiled kitchen work surface like Jackson Pollock was creating some ‘reet angry expressionist art.


The rigatoni is ready to serve! Just remember to save a cup of that crisp salty water to help bind the luscious sauce to the pasta afterwards. In this setting, remove the Italian nona cooking, the time honoured methods, sumptuous cuisine and you are left with the old rusty but perfectly plump tomato timer. Pomo is the Italian word for tomato, just like the kitsch kitchen timers used of yesteryear, long before Siri or Amazon Echo would tell us in their softly spoken ro·bo·tic voices when the rice pudding is ready.

Pomofocus Timer online uses the celebrated Pomodoro time management technique that asks you to focus on an individual job for just 25 minutes. I am using it now to write this blog. 1500 seconds to centre your attention on one task before you can take a restful 5 mins brew break, then start another, (Or continue with the same). The idea is to force you into spending time on singular jobs for a short, sharp targeted amount of time that’s not overwhelming so you may actually complete it. That way you can chip away at multiple jobs you have and hopefully make more progress in your working week. The pomofocus.io website, available from any device that has the internet, follows these same principles. Simply add your tasks for the day and click start to begin the timer… it is a good idea to have the timer visible on a screen (maybe use your mobile?) whilst you work for that real action-movie-style-decoding-a-fictional-bomb feeling, living your inner Ellen Ripley or John McClane in the comfort of your home. Once finished you can choose a short (5 mins) or long break (15 mins) before you battle the next xenomorph or Hans Gruber of the day. The site even gives you an exact time of day that you should be finished by. Here are the simple instructions on using the app from the website:

How to use the Pomodoro Timer?

1. Add tasks to work on today

2. Set estimate pomodoros (1 = 25min of work) for each tasks

3. Select a task to work on

4. Start timer and focus on the task for 25 minutes

5. Take a break for 5 minutes when the alarm ring

6. Iterate 3-5 until you finish the tasks.

With the free version (there are monthly subscriptions packages but you’ll honestly be fine with the free one) you can save tasks for another day by logging in, then finding the link in your email (Junk mail probably), and finally adding your tasks. At the end of the working day, you can logout but with the free version you will need to log back in and rinse and repeat (Login with email > set email, check junk) which is an odd choice and annoying. However, you can easily not ever sign in, (given the internets unnecessary need to sign up for accounts) and just add tasks in the morning and begin (Just don’t delete the website tab). You even get that satisfying/dread inducing tomato timer sound when the time is up, just like the TV programme Countdown but with far less badly designed teapots. The site is uncomplicated, effective and does the simple job well –  It won’t work for everyone but might just help you.

<DING> <DING> <DING> times up


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