I’ve had a hard time committing to a productivity timer app, because I just haven’t found the one that works for my needs. You may already be familiar with the Pomodoro technique, which metes out work and rest in intervals of twenty-five minutes and five minutes, respectively, but that always seemed too inflexible to me. My schedule requires something with just a bit more customization than that.
Enter timer app 30/30. Though the default interval is thirty minutes, you can really set it to any time you want and queue up as many tasks as you want. With a bevy of task types set against a minimalist interface, is 30/30 the timer for the Pomodoro shy?
Making Designs on your Time
Opening the app for the first time, you’ll be presented with the clock dial that takes up half of the screen, and a list of sample task timers that serve as a tutorial. Each task gives you instructions on how to interact with the app. Creating a task for the first time is easy, though; just do a pinch-out/spread gesture.
That takes you to the new task screen. Here you’ll type a name for your task and choose among the 30/30 task attributes. There are eight colors to choose from, and I like that you have to cycle through them individually, rather than choosing one color from a palette. You get to see the entire screen theme change with each tap, and it’s one less menu to deal with in a pretty simple app. You can also choose a task-specific icon, from a telephone to a knife and fork. There are incredibly specific icons too, so you can really customize each task, like with the gas pump, the piggy and the guitar. Set the amount of time you’d like to spend on your task by swiping the stopwatch scrollbar left or right.
When you’re done, your task appears beneath the dial on the main 30/30 screen. To make changes to a task, double tap it in the list. Reorder tasks by tapping and holding the task and then dragging it wherever you’d like it to be. To delete your task, swipe it to either the left or right. The delete can get finicky, though; I accidentally deleted a couple of tasks when I was trying to use the spread gesture to create a new one.
Tick, Tick, Tick
Getting your tasks rolling is as easy as tapping the dial. The entire screen will change to a muted shade of your task color to let you know you should get a move on. Pause the task by tapping the dial again, and stop the task entirely by tapping and holding. When you stop the task, the screen will return to default gray.
If you don’t stop your task, the next one will start automatically, and the next one after that. When 30/30 has completed its queue of tasks, it will start all over from the beginning of the list, forever. This is great for a couple of reasons. First, if you have recurring tasks, you can just set 30/30 up and let it run. This is where I see the similarities to Pomodoro; you can preprogram all of your work tasks and breaks so you remember to start and stop at regular intervals. Second, by keeping your tasks going for you, it saves you the trouble of having to reinput tasks you use regularly. There are probably ways they could have gotten around losing your tasks that have already expired without repeating them, but I think, like Pomodoro, that repetition is at the heart of 30/30.
Beyond just setting up tasks and running the timer, there are a few universal settings you can fiddle with. Clicking the gear at the top drops down the preferences menu, and each one is laid out on a visual grid. The top row is less about the function of 30/30 and includes things such as updates, a link to donate to the developers and a prompt to rate the app. The second row includes controls for brightness, vibration and sound, and badge notifications. The last option is auto-pause, which when enabled will pause 30/30 if the app isn’t open when a task timer ends. I immediately turned auto-pause off so my tasks would continue to cycle, whether I had the app pulled up or not.
Takes a Licking
The design is crisp and clean — it feels a bit like having an Ikea ad for a stopwatch. 30/30 is light on text and heavy on bold, colorful graphics, filling the entire screen with just a few images. The user interface really didn’t miss a beat here, and the minimalist design and ease of use go hand in hand, making a really enjoyable timer app.
If you’re looking for an easy to use Pomodoro tool this is a great one to try. It’s good looking and startup is almost effortless. It will keep your tasks in perpetuity so you don’t have to set everything back up at the start of the next day. If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro technique, couldn’t care less and just want a simple app that will let you know when your cake is ready to come out of the oven, 30/30’s going to be good for that, too. You could even fill it up with arbitrary time intervals, and you’d have a ready to go timer for all occasions. 30/30 is just a simple timer that packs a big productivity punch.