Focus Booster for Productivity: App Review
by Hannah Shaffer | May 28, 2014
Focus booster is a free desktop app that aims to help improve your focus and productivity. The app uses the pomodoro technique, a popular time management technique that divides focused work sessions into manageable, 25-minute intervals (referred to as ‘pomodoros’). Each pomodoro is separated by a 5-minute break that allows you to refocus before jumping back into your work.
The Pomodoro Technique
The idea behind the pomodoro technique is simple. First, pick a task that you’d like to focus on. This could be studying for an upcoming exam, answering unread emails, or drafting a proposal. Set your pomodoro timer for 25 minutes and focus only on that task until the timer runs down.
When you hear the timer ring (or buzz, or ding), it’s time for a 5-minute break. Get up, walk around the room, stretch, grab a drink of water. When you return to work, you should feel mentally refreshed and able to refocus on your chosen task.
Focus Booster First Impressions
Downloading the focus booster app was quick and straightforward. The app is available for Windows and Mac, and the download buttons are plain as day. I didn’t have to search around for a download link, and I didn’t have to visit a mirror site. That alone saved me some time!
The app downloaded in less than a minute and opened right up in my desktop. The interface design is slick and minimal. It consists of two windows—the pomodoro timer and the focus booster settings. The timer is automatically set to a 25-minute session length, but you can adjust the session and break length to suit your fancy.
There are a few additional options for customizing the experience, including the option to enable or disable a ticking clock sound during a pomodoro session or during a break.
I’ve been using the app for a few days, so I’ve had a chance to familiarize myself with its features and quirks. Overall, I think it’s a great little tool. Here are a few pros and cons:
- No pause button
- Easy to install and use
- Sleek, well-designed interface
- No pause button
- Other reviewers mentioned high RAM usage and glitchy controls when the counter is moved to the top of the screen. I haven’t had problems with either.
Wait, No Pause Button?
Yes, that’s right. The focus booster app has no pause button. The developers make clear that this is a feature, not an omission. Quoted on the features page of the site:
focus booster will count and tally all complete sessions for you. The focus booster timer does not allow pausing. This is the motivation for you to remove all distractions in the first place and is in line with the pomodoro technique.
For my own work, it’s a feature that inspires self-discipline. Others may find this feature frustrating—and perhaps a bit harsh.
Hannah Shaffer is a Web designer and game designer with a love for community-based learning. Hannah was the NOD Managing Editor in 2014.