No, you don’t need a dedicated gadget to handle the timekeeping for Pomodoro or any other time-blocking technique you use to optimize your productivity. Heck, you don’t even need a dedicated app for that. However, would you really rather keeping using a PC or phone app to keep the time when you can do it with a fancy desktop toy like the Focus Timer?
Billed as an “adjustable hourglass,” it’s a dedicated timer clad in the classic hourglass shape, with a stack of glowing rings that get shorter by the minute letting you know how much time remains in the current block. That way, you don’t need to alt-tab to the timer app on your PC or pick up up your phone to see how much time is remaining – this thing lets you see how much time you’ve got at a quick glance, so you can keep your focus on the job at hand.
The Focus Timer is, basically, a standalone electronic hourglass designed specifically for the purpose of time-blocking. Unlike a traditional hourglass, it doesn’t have a fixed time, allowing you to set as long or as short a time block as you’re comfortable working with. To use, simply set the amount of time (e.g. 25 minutes) you want allotted, put it down, and get to work. When you need to start a new block, simply turn the device over like an hourglass to reset it at the time block you set earlier (e.g. 25 minutes).
Unlike most dedicated timers in the market, you don’t set the time by pushing buttons or using a companion app. Instead, you set the time by simply turning the whole thing in place like a knob (it has an accelerometer inside), with blue rings appearing for each minute block added and yellow rings appearing for each 10-minute block added. Do note, you will likely be tempted to turn it once you get stressed and find the urge to fiddle with something, so make sure you keep yourself from doing so, as it will immediately delete the current setting and start a new one.
The Focus Timer comes with a chime sound that plays to signal when a block is finished, with a volume button on one end allowing you to make it as loud or as soft as you prefer. When a block ends, it automatically goes into a five-minute timer mode, since it assumes you’re going for a Pomodoro-style break. If your break runs longer or shorter, you can simply pick up the device and turn it over once you’re back at work to restart the new time block.
The device, by the way, measures just 3.8 x 2 inches (height x diameter), so it’s small enough to throw in an external pouch on your backpack for taking to your school, office, or anywhere else you’re working for the day. It runs on a USB-rechargeable battery, so you can just plug it in using any of your charging cables when it needs a recharge.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Focus Timer. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $69.