Get more done in less time using pomodoro menu bar tools on your Apple Mac. Manage your time, record work and take breaks. Boost productivity with these simple free apps on your computer.
For those that have not encountered the pomodoro method, it is a simple process for focusing on a task and boosting your productivity. It is often used for work or studying, but it can also be used for leisure tasks and hobbies too.
Pomodoro utilities can track time, but mostly they aim to keep you focused on work for a period of time and ensure you have breaks where you can relax and avoid burnout.
Basically, you start a countdown timer and work until it hits zero. Usually, the timer is set for 25 minutes, but this can vary. Then a 5-minute break or rest timer begins counting down. After the work period and rest break, which adds up to 30 minutes in total, it is repeated.
Pomodoro is a very simple process, but it really works. Having a clock counting down the minutes keeps you focused on the task at hand. It enables you to keep going and avoid distractions.
After several pomodoro word and rest periods, you will find that you have done a lot more work than you normally do and have been far less distracted. It is an excellent way to work harder and longer.
There are many pomodoro apps for the phones, and they are very popular on mobile, but here I am going to show some apps for the Apple Mac. They are small, they work from the menu bar and use no desk space, and they are free.
TomatoBar is very simple, very basic pomodoro menu bar tool for the Apple Mac, but don’t let that put you off, it may be just what you need. Go to the TomatoBar website on GitHub and click the latest releases link on the right. Click the zip file on the next page. Double click the downloaded zip file and drag the app to the Applications folder.
The first time the app is run, it is blocked and you must go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and click the button to run it anyway. It’s a security feature for apps outside of the Apple Store and it only happens once.
Using TomatoBar is straightforward and clicking the icon shows a small panel. Just click the menu bar icon and then click Start. A clock appears in the menu bar next to the TomatoBar icon and counts down from 25 minutes. You are alerted when it reaches zero and you can then start a 5-minute break timer.
There are tabs to configure the work and rest intervals and you can work longer or shorter than 25 minutes, change the length of the rest break, and set the timer for longer breaks after completing several pomodoros.
TomatoBar is just a basic pomodoro timer, but that may be just what you need. There are plenty of configuration options too.
Be Focused – Pomodoro Timer
If you need more features than a basic pomodoro timer, Be Focused in the Mac App Store is available in free, ad supported, and paid Pro versions. I use the free version here and the tiny banner ad in the app does not get in the way and you will not notice it after a while. Be Focused Pro removes the ad and adds some extra features.
Click the Be Focused menu bar icon and a panel appears below it. The 25-minute timer is shown and clicking the play button begins the countdown. You are alerted when it reaches zero and a 5-minute break timer can be started.
The main advantages Be Focused has over a simple pomodoro like TomatoBar is that you can assign work/break periods to a task. A list of tasks can be created and when starting the timer, you select which task you want to assign it to.
It is not full a time tracker like Clockify, Toggl and other services, but it does record the time spent on tasks in a very simple manner. You can see how many pomodoro periods you have spent on each task, and even the start dates and times of pomodoro sessions, which gives you a good idea of how much time you spent on them.
It is not a full to-do task manager, but it does enable you to create to-do lists and tick them off when they are done. There are To Do and Done tabs. You can set a due date and estimated pomodoro intervals it will require, and it shows how many you have done.
Be Focused is useful for focusing your attention on tasks, recording how much time you spend on them, and showing how much time is still required. It does not have enough detail for customer or client billing, but it is useful for tracking roughly how you spend your time.
Tomito is a free app in the Mac App Store and it is just a basic, but very configurable Pomodoro timer. Run it and it shows a window on the desktop, but go to the app’s preferences and you can enable a menu bar icon and then close the desktop window. Everything can be done from the menu bar.
Click on the menu bar icon and a work or focus session can be started, stopped, paused or skipped using the menu options. Open the app preferences and everything can easily be customised, like the session length, the number of minuets for short and long breaks, automatically starting sessions and breaks, and more.
This is a basic app that enables you to focus using the pomodoro technique, and it has a few extras, like a desktop window and a desktop widget. It does not record what you used it for, but it records the number of seasons and breaks each day and each week and shows them on a chart. That can be useful.
Focus – Pomodoro & Focus Timer
Focus is another free app in the Mac App Store and it is similar in many ways to TomatoBar, and Tomito menu bar tools. It offers a simple and clear pomodoro timer which is accessed by clicking a button in the Mac menu bar. There are start and stop buttons, reset and skip.
Like the other apps, when the timer is running, the time remaining is shown in the menu bar, so you can instantly see how much time you have to work. Work is followed by a break. Work through several pomodoros and you are rewarded with a longer break, as is usual.
A Reports module shows how many pomodoro sessions you have completed today, this week or this month. This is useful for tracking how much time you are spending working and it gives you an incentive to do better.
TomatoBar, Tomito and Focus menu bar tools are useful pomodoro timers for the Apple Mac that keep you focused on your work. However, the ability to create tasks and assign time to them makes Be Focused better. The free app is fine, but the Pro version is fairly cheap if you need more features. If you just want a simple timer, then TomatoBar and Tomito are fine.