It’s not unusual that I sometimes find myself struggling to focus. It seems like every five minutes, I get pinged with a new Facebook notification or another email in my inbox, or something of the sort. If that’s not happening, then I still find myself getting drawn impulsively into checking my Twitter feeds or my Tumblr stream. Is it possible to rebuild my attention span?
Lately, I found that a system called the Pomodoro technique has worked effectively for me. Basically, I set an alarm for 25 minutes, where I do nothing but work. No emails, no Facebook or social media, no phone calls. Sometimes, I even disconnect from Wi-Fi intentionally!
Here’s an excellent tool to keep track of your 25 minutes: it’s called Focus Booster.
Focus Booster is an application that can count down a designated amount of time. For example, it can be set to 25 minutes by default, but if your attention span is longer or shorter than that, you can also choose to adjust it accordingly by increasing or decreasing the amount of time.
My first step was to head over to the Focus Booster website to download the application, which is an Adobe Air application. Conversely there are also native installers for Windows and Mac, and there’s also an online version. I prefer to download the offline one, in case I ever do disconnect from the internet.
After installing, you’ll be greeted with this very simple program.
Pressing the green button will start your timer. You can proceed to minimize Focus Booster and do work, or leave it on the desktop as it stays on top — you can view it over all active windows by default. Focus Booster has a bunch of adjustable options:
These are the default options. I started off my session lengths at around 20 minutes, and set my breaks to around 3 minutes. Obviously, it’s up to you to adjust. I’m also not a fan of the ticking sound, which I find an unnecessary distraction. The Window in front option simply means Focus Booster will stay on top of all the other windows. I don’t mind this option.
When you minimize Focus Booster, it gets tucked away neatly into your system tray for an unobtrusive countdown.
There are a bunch of other Pomodoro timers out there, including Pomodairo, but I like Focus Booster. It’s very neat, tidy, and it gets the job done well — and it’s free! Give Focus Booster a try. Let us know how the Pomodoro technique works for you!