The whole idea behind this application is that you are giving yourself a work cycle which is more conducive to productivity. Rather than having a task which has an undefined period of time to be completed, you give yourself work sessions of 30 min. At the end of the period of work you have a break, or move yourself to a different task. What this does is to help you to eliminate distractions and there are plenty of those when you are using a computer. For the time that you are working, at the back of your mind you know that it is a manageable amount of time and it is easier for you to focus on what you’re doing. The time that you spend having a break or doing something completely different gives your brain time to recharge. It is like when you are in a fancy restaurant and in between main courses you might get a sorbet to clear the palate. When you start the next main course your taste buds are refreshed and you can properly appreciate the food. 30/30 organises your work periods so that you know that you are getting a reward of a nice break at the end of your focused work session.
30/30 does a lot more than the Pomodoro app
With the 30/30 application you can set up a whole list of tasks and have breaks in between them. You get to see how long the whole job is going to take and at what time you can expect to be finished. So with this Pomodoro app alternative you can take it further than just it being a simple task timer. In the video I show how I work when creating an article. I break this down into a period of dictating, followed by 10 min of editing, followed by time using Marsedit, which is then finished off by working on the article within WordPress. I could insert five or ten minute breaks between each of these tasks, but I don’t feel that I need them. Certainly I would add another task to the end of this which would be more like taking a break from the work. That could be 30 minutes on the sofa reading a book – more than likely. Or it could be 30 min in the garden getting one of the garden jobs done – less likely.
Other uses for 30/30 the task timer
Education: when working with a group of students in a classroom, teachers will tend to have a plan for the class period. This could be 10 min of time explaining things followed by fifteen minutes of activity. Then there could be a twenty minute session where individual students show what they have done. Finishing off with a summing up of the work done within the classroom lesson for five minutes, and then five minutes to set the homework. The 30/30 iOS timer is just perfect for using with a lesson plan. It is flexible enough that if more time is needed with one of the tasks, you can easily add 5 min. You can also remove 5 min if necessary too. With some dragging and dropping you can arrange and rearrange tasks in this tasktimer. Without a doubt I can certainly see myself using this as a class timer when I’m teaching English as a foreign language.
30/30 a simple and attractive interface
I really like the interface that you get with this application. It fully uses the iPad touch interface and you don’t get the old fashioned settings with checkboxes and so on. You touch parts of the simple, but elegant graphics of the task timer to organise your tasks and timings. Same with the settings area, where it’s all very visual and 1 million light years away from the way things were done in crappy Windows applications of the past. It is very easy to turn on or off the notifications and adjust the settings for sound.
30/30 works with iCloud and will synchronise your task lists between your IOS devices. I have this application on both my iPhone and also the iPad I have seen the synchronisation in operation. I could see that it could also be quite handy if the developers could also make 30/30 as a Mac application.
The application works with gestures, such as a slide to the left of one of the tasks for it to be moved to the bottom of the list. A tap with two fingers on a task will move it to the top. Slide the task to the right and it will be deleted. Put two fingers on the screen and move them apart to create a new task. You then get options to set the amount of time, the label for the task and even the icon that you want to use. The application is a free application and you can show your love with in app purchases of extra icons. Better than the Pomodoro app.
The dial at the top gives you a visual representation of the time as it is passing. You tap on the dial to start or pause the timer or touch and hold to make the timer stop completely. The main thing to remember here is that if you want to move a task to the bottom you have to slide to the left. If you slide the wrong way then that task will be deleted. This is an excellent alternative to the Pomodoro app, 30/30 is well-designed, colourful and a joy to use as a task timer. Definitely you will find it to be a good addition to your arsenal of iPad productivity applications.