It’s an exhausting world out there. From social media to the news, we are constantly bombarded with notifications and information. If you also work on a hybrid team, chances are chores, family, and seemingly a million other things also compete for our attention.
In a society where we’re constantly connected and where apps are designed to keep us engaged, it’s no wonder many of us have a hard time focusing on any one task for long periods of time. Luckily, there are some tools you can use to keep yourself on task and make sure you’re getting the most out of your day.
Today, we wanted to focus on just one of those tools that we find incredibly powerful: online focus timers. These work focus timers can help boost your productivity and increase focus in one way or another — from minimizing notifications to helping you with procrastination to keeping you on track with your to-do list, these five online focus timers will help you stay productive throughout your day and tackle distractions head-on!
What is a focus timer?
A focus timer, at its core, is a helpful tool that will use a timer to guide interval, dedicated work sessions. Once that session is over, an alarm sounds to indicate that it’s time for a break.
Focus timers help with productivity because they allow you to focus for short periods of time, instead of long ones when it’s easier to give into distraction. They also help prevent procrastination because they allow you to take regular, short breaks while still getting work done, making tackling tasks feel a lot more doable.
Focus timers have gotten quite popular, so there are many great online focus timers out there. Some are even quite robust and do more than just set a timer for your work sessions and breaks. For example, as we’ll get into this article, some focus timers have the ability to track your productivity, block notifications, and overall, set your workspace in a way so there are fewer visual and auditory distractions.
Here are some focus timers you can use to increase your work productivity!
1. Pomodoro timer
The Pomodoro timer is the most simple focus timer on this list, but it’s considered by many as the OG focus timer. Its simple strategy and non-complex functionality make it one of the most popular focus timers today.
The Pomodoro technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s when he was struggling to focus in school and feeling overwhelmed by his workload. He decided to commit himself to just 10 minutes of study time and used a tomato timer to keep track of time. As the ticking sounds went on for 10 minutes, he found this short burst of dedicated focus time worked really well for him, and he felt much more encouraged with his studies!
As simple as it sounds, the intervals between focus sessions, short breaks, and long breaks work well for many students and employees alike! Today’s Pomodoro timers toggle between focus sessions that last for 25 minutes and a 5-minute break, with a long break every fourth session.
While you can adjust these times as needed, the standard Pomodoro technique is an excellent way to stay focused on your current task because the 25-minute sessions are meant to be manageable for most people. It also can help increase productivity by mitigating getting distracted by different tasks or notifications while also reducing mental exhaustion.
You can find variations of the Pomodoro timer all over the internet, but this one is our personal favorite since it’s clean and simple. Plus, you can access your session reports, which can serve as screenshots of how you’re using your time. Additionally, you can find tons of Pomodoro timer apps in the Apple store fit for all iOS devices including the iPad, iPhone, and even Apple Watch. There are also lots of options for Android users in the Google Play Store!
Dewo is a brand new platform created by the folks at Timely. This deep work calendar connects to Google Calendar to help you with time management and staying on top of your to-do list by doing several things using AI memory. The first is automatically blocking notifications from social media. It also intelligently schedules your meetings because, as they say on their website, “deep work can’t be snatched in 30-minute breaks between meetings. It requires time and presence.” We’re totally on board with this!
Unfortunately, this focus timer doesn’t support other online calendars yet but seeing that they’re brand new, we expect the developers to fix this functionality soon. Right now, the app is available on mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices but only in beta for desktops such as Mac.
3. E.gg Timer
E.gg Timer is another online focus timer that’s simple in functionality yet powerful in protecting your focus time. In fact, they describe themselves just as “a simple countdown timer.” What’s great about E.gg Timer (and how it’s different from the Pomodoro timer) is that you can try out various focus techniques depending on how you like to work and what you’re doing.
For example, the Pomodoro technique is an option on E.gg Timer, but you can also set your own custom timer. You can get really advanced with the customization, which you can read more about under their “Help and Settings” button.
You can also choose the Tabata technique (a set of short but intense intervals created by Dr. Izumi Tabata) if you need a quick break from work and want to get your sweat on. Additionally, you can choose their morning timer, which encourages you to warm up when waking up and before you sit down for work. You can even customize the alarm sounds that indicate your time is up, or choose no alarm sound at all.
The bottom line? The E.gg Timer is a free and versatile timer that you could literally use all day! Right now, there’s only a webpage (no app to download), but you can easily access the mobile-friendly site from any device.
4. Clockwise’s Focus Time
Focus Time by Clockwise (yours truly) is another great option for protecting your productivity with our focus app! By…
- Rearranging your meetings so you're not overbooked
- Acting as a task manager with the opportunity for you to block out dedicated focus sessions
- And the ability to measure your productivity progress (receive weekly review emails and download it as a CSV!)
…Focus Time combats the constant distraction and interruption.
Clockwise offers a free browser extension that you can install to make it easy to put the tools in place to avoid procrastination and stay on top of your to-do list! Get this focus timer and you’re truly setting yourself up for the best success!
Toggl Track may be most well known for its time tracking functionality for those who track time for billable hours, but it’s also a fantastic work focus timer! Toggl integrates the Pomodoro technique by automatically filtering out your break sessions so you don’t have to manually do it.
After you turn on the Pomodoro permissions in Toggl, you can set the amount of time you want to dedicate to a work session or keep it at the standard 25 minutes. A Pomodoro Break will follow after that.
Right now, Toggl’s Pomodoro timer feature is only available on macOS and Windows and as extensions on Chrome and Firefox.
Focus timers are a great way to break up your day and stay on track with your work — something many of us need in this age of readily available distractions.
Each timer has its benefits and limitations, but these five have proven themselves useful for increasing productivity. No matter which online focus timer you go with, it'll help you stay on task, be productive, and minimize feelings of overwhelm by your to-do list!