The Potential of Pomodorable

A few days back, I lamented the need for an API for OmniFocus. One of the main reasons I’ve wanted this is so that other applications will be able to make better use out of all of the tasks I’ve entered, especially for planning my day. Essentially, my fantasy has been a Mac version of something like Binary Hammer’s 30/30, but it would integrate with OmniFocus. Not a day after I posted that, someone suggested that things might be further along than I thought and suggested that I check out newcomer Pomodorable.

Pomodorable is an application that allows you to setup tasks and then use the built-in timer to complete and track your work. What sets it apart from other timers or Pomodoro apps is the ability to seamlessly pull tasks in from the Reminders app, Things and my beloved OmniFocus. They’ve yet to post the details on how to best take advantage of the OmniFocus integration (you can find videos on how to use it with Reminders and Things here), but I’ve already found that just by flagging a task in OmniFocus, it will automatically show up in Pomodorable. And when completed in Pomodorable, they show up as completed in OmniFocus. It’s pretty darn sweet!

While the interaction between these apps is impressive, Pomodorable is not quite ready for prime time. I’m very glad I spent the money and believe in the potential, but the app is very early on in its development and there are a few things that keep me from using this as part of my everyday workflow:

  • Reordering – This is apparently coming soon, but at the moment you can’t place things into the order you’d like to work through them. Once this becomes available, I imagine this will become part of my morning routine: identifying and ordering my tasks.
  • Completed Items – This is also in the works, but the apps tendency to show all of your unarchived completed items in OmniFocus can make your task list seem overwrought.
  • Flow from task to task – I believe this will come as the app gets refined, but the process from moving from one task to the next isn’t quite as fluid as I’d like. The current version of the app will ask if you want to jump into a task upon returning to your computer after a period of inactivity, I’m hoping the app will bring similar functionality upon completing a Pomodoro.
  • Pomodoro/GTD Inconsistencies – This is the big one. I’m new to the Pomodoro Technique, but it seems to center on working on one project for a set period of time (25 minutes of work with a five minute break), but even though much of my work is organized into projects, the individual units are stored within OmniFocus as single actions. In the app, a single Pomodoro represents a single task. There’s no way to string several actions into a single 25-minute session, which is exactly what I would need to really focus in on a project for 25 straight minutes. Everything else would certainly be livable, but for the moment this keeps me from making this application a part of my everyday workflow.

My short-term concerns aside, the developer has been very responsive and receptive to suggestions and seems dedicated into making this app the best that it can possibly be. I’m really glad I’ve purchased it and I am impressed by what it can do, but I really hope that it gets enough support (from both the developer and customers) to grow into its potential. If it does, I know it will become an essential part of my workflow and the missing app I’ve been lamenting for so long now. If, like me, you’ve been looking for a good way to take all of the tasks in OmniFocus, Things or Reminders and schedule them into a day’s worth of work, take a chance on Pomodorable. While it isn’t quite there yet, I have high hopes that it will be soon.

11 Responses to The Potential of Pomodorable

  1. Thanks for the hint. For me the GTD inconsistency seems less of a problem for me. If I sit down 25 min and start digging into a project my heas also automatically knows what needs to be done ‘next’ after what has been done… The GTD concept to split projects into single tasks and contexts especially helps me, if I have LESS than 25 min and I’m @phone, @city etc. That’s when I can take out my phone and see a practical list of what I can do right then to push any of my projects forward.

    • It’s not so much the issue of not knowing what to do next. I could always jump back into OF and see what tasks are needed. The problem for me is that this structure negates the benefits that come from being able to throw tasks over from one app to the other. If all I’m going to do is make the task “Work on Project X” for 25 minutes and then go to OF to knock off the individual actions, there’s no point. But the way I use OF, Project X will often have several steps that would account for the 25 minutes. There’s no doubt it will work seamlessly for those bigger chunks of time (and there are plenty of actions that do take 25 minutes if not longer. I just want a full solution and right now, this isn’t quite there.

      • Now that I used the Pomodorable for a little while I fully understand what you mean!

        There should be an option to move on to the next action, once you complete a task in less than 25 min or pack more than one task into one 25 min session..

        What I also realised, is that a simple digital notification that 25 minutes are over does not provide the same satisfaction that comes with putting a checkmark behind another 25 min on a piece of paper. Maybe it’s just me, but when this little motivational boost is missing, I wonder if the Pomodoro technique can keep me in the same state of ‘flow’, that I like so much about that little tomato.

        • Having something happen after finishing the Pomodoro (or more likely the break) was my suggestion as well. There’s something about the intent of saying, “I’m done with this” or even “I need to do more for this” that is comforting/rewarding. Still think this will come. There’s too much potential in this app!

  2. I bought it simply for the Omnifocus integration. None of other Pomodoro apps have had this kind of integration, and offered nothing exceptional, aside from 25 minute timer.

    On my iPhone I will keep using Timer from the creators of Launch Center Pro.

  3. I have tried to contact the developer through five different means including facebook, twitter, their monocole support service powered by get satisfaction, and also some other developer sites where Kyle has been present. I don’t want to complain about the app. All i want to to is get the app and try it, but it is not available on mac app store, nor anywhere else on the internet i have looked. I can only assume they have absolutely no interest in the marketing and future viability of this product, which is a disappointment after all the positive reviews (which are seemingly the only trace of the developer or app). It seems like pomodorable is a whisper in the night, forgotten and gone. Am I wrong?

    • Interesting. I reached out over Twitter recently, wondering if he had abanoned it and he said not at all. That said, actions (or inaction) seems to be speaking louder than words. I haven’t seen the updates I hoped would come.

  4. Has anyone tried Vitamin-R? It’s a timer, integrated with OF and Things, flexible (so you can configure it the pomodoro way or however you like your work/break timing) and it’s available in the app store. When I’m disciplined enough to use it, I’m happy with it.

    • Looks interesting, but not quite as seamless as I’d like. Might need to give it a whirl, but does it really let you plan your day and then act on it? Seems like it just lets you pick and go.

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