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  • FocusList
  • Study/concentration/useful
  • Free (Android), €2.99 (iOS)
  • Android, iOS

It is that time again, pulling all-nighters with coffee and study books instead of having a beer with friends. If you don’t have exams, there will be papers to hand in. FocusList helps you to concentrate when you have to work. The app is based on the Pomodoro technique. A ‘pomodoro’ consists of working for 25 minutes and then taking a break for 5 minutes. In those 25 minutes, you concentrate on a single task, ignoring any incoming e-mails or text messages. Those things are allowed again when the alarm sounds to indicate that you can have a break or – if it is work related – in the next task block. After four ‘pomodoros’, you can take a longer break: 15 to 30 minutes. The idea is that because of these regular breaks, you can work in a more concentrated way for longer than when you just go on working.

It was the Italian Francesco Cirillo who got the idea in the nineteen-eighties and simply used a kitchen timer (in the shape of a tomato, hence the name). Of course you can still use the traditional method, but the advantage of FocusList is that the app also keeps statistics. When you enter an assignment in the app, you indicate how many ‘pomodoros’ you think you will need. The app checks whether this is correct. In doing so, you can estimate more accurately how long you need for recurrent assignments. A disadvantage is that you cannot enter small tasks, such as sending e-mails, separately; after all, those won’t take you twenty-five minutes. But you can adapt the times of a pomodoro and your break. The question is whether you get enough done if you only work for 5 minutes and then take a 10-minute break.



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