pomodoro timer, white noise and nature sounds for Mac

Focusito combines two techniques: the noise blocking technique and the pomodoro timer. Noise blocker helps eliminate external enemies of attention – noise and conversation. Pomodoro timer – to keep this attention and not let the brain overwork.

Multiple states of the Fokusito interface

Focusito is also suitable for you if:
• you are distracted by outside noises and conversations;
• you are procrastinating and cannot focus;
• the task is not interesting and you do not want to take on it;
• you are overworking and prone to burnout.

💜 Download Focusito on the Mac App Store, for free

🎓 Why like I did Focusito

The idea for Fokushito appeared 7 years ago when I was traveling in Asia. Then I had to work in cafes and places where there was at least some kind of Internet. It was impossible to focus in the noisy coffee shops, so I started experimenting with different techniques for getting myself into a state of concentration.

I will save you years of experimentation and will tell you straight away about the final system that formed the basis of Focusito.

So, after a few years of experimentation, I started using three programs that helped me better focus and maintain attention at work:

  1. Brain Wave. A selection of binaural beats. I will tell you what it is below. For now, it’s enough to know that they mask external noises well, and the sound of the rhythm itself helps to develop the habit of concentrating faster.
  2. Pomodoro timer. I don’t remember which one I used. The main thing is that I liked working in small sessions of 25 minutes. Interval work technique helped to take breaks on time and get rid of burnout.
  3. Music. On the iPhone, I had a special playlist with nature sounds, without lyrics, which I also played while working.

After some time, I just got tired of running three applications at once to read a book or work on a blog post. Therefore, I simplified the system by taking the main functions from three programs.

Since I liked working for 25 minutes, I made a special track in GarageBand, where I put a pre-generated binaural beat and the sound of a fire.

The output was a .m4a file, which I just ran on a Mac or iPhone, and worked until the sounds stopped. It was a signal that the time was up and it was time to take a break.

👉 Sound file for focusing, 59 MB

I did not limit the break in any way and returned to work only when I felt that I was ready. This .m4a file worked great for me for several more years.

At some point, I wanted a little more flexibility from the system: to track the dynamics of work and daily fulfill the minimum norm of tomatoes. This is especially useful when you don’t want to do anything, but projects need to be moved forward at least minimally. At this point, I decided to design my system as a separate application.

Let’s now talk about the nuances.

🍅 Technique Pomodoro and Focusito

The Pomodoro technique is when you work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a short five minute break. The Fokusito interval timer can be of any length, from 5 to 60 in 5 minute increments. Therefore, you are not limited to any one time.

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What is the beauty of working at intervals

The essence of working in short intervals is during breaks. The positive impact of short breaks is described in a study from the University of Illinois. They found that if you work on one task for a long time, the brain loses focus and begins to “sabotage” the task.

This is a natural defense reaction of the brain. In order not to overstrain, he simply ignores objects that are in focus for a long time and the focus disappears. To prevent this from happening, it is enough to take two short breaks from work during each hour.

Interval work also helps to “fool” your brain and work on unpleasant or boring tasks that a person tends to put off. If such a task has no time limit, then the brain perceives it as something too complicated and postponed until later. But if you set boundaries for a task and say to yourself “I’ll just take 15 minutes for this and we’ll see,” then it’s much easier to start doing it. This trick is described in Mike Forster’s book Do It Tomorrow.

The technique of setting time frames for tasks itself helps you focus better. Knowing that the next 25 minutes are devoted only to work, it is easier for a person to resist the temptation to stick to the same social networks. Interval work helps to establish a clear line between work and “everything else.” At the same time, “everything else” naturally turns into a reward, where you can plunge into after completing another 25-minute.

Why Pomodoro’s technique doesn’t work for everyone

Excessive formalism. From personal experience and from the experience of my friends, I know that rigid work and play conditions are stressful. Each person has his own concept of “switching”. Someone goes to breathe fresh air on the roof, someone goes to the smoking room or the kitchen. Rest time cannot be formalized and fit into five minutes.

In the classic Pomodoro method, situations occur when you have not fully recovered mentally, and the alarm clock in your pocket is already sounding and starts a new “tomato”. This is negative reinforcement that prevented me from developing the habit.

Therefore, there is no obligatory break time in focus. You rest as much as you think is necessary. Then you go back to work and start the timer again.

Lack of flexibility. In classic Pomodoro timers, you cannot quickly choose the working time and control your rest yourself. In them you need, in the literal sense, to work and rest from call to call: 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of rest. And so in a circle.

The working time in the Pomodoro technique is measured in the “tomatoes” themselves, each of which is 25 minutes. These tomatoes do not take into account the processing time, when the timer has already ended, and the person continues to work.

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In Fokusito, after the main timer expires, the “overwork” time begins. And it will drip until you press the Stop button. As a result, it is not an ephemeral tomato that is entered into the statistics, but the real time that you were sitting at work.

Focusito statistics window

In short, in Focusito, you can quickly set a time frame for work. The program will remind you that the time is up, and the processing time will be recorded, and you will see it in statistics. As a result – better concentration on tasks, no burnout and loss of interest.

🎧 Block noise in Focusito

Studies have shown that a person’s performance drops to 66% only from the sounds of other people’s conversations. They provoke a person’s own thoughts, memories and emotions. Other people’s conversations prevent you from focusing and keeping your attention on the current task.

Scientists at the University of Sydney confirm that other people’s conversations negatively affect performance. They tested and interviewed employees in Australian companies and found that conversations are a major distraction. Talking to colleagues reduces employee productivity more than an uncomfortable workplace or uncomfortable indoor temperature.

University of Sydney: Peer Talk Could Reduce Knowledge Productivity by 60%

Noise and conversation are an integral part of public spaces – offices, coffee shops, coworking spaces and hostels. To work or study in such places, people wear headphones and listen to their favorite music. But it turns out that not all music works the same.

How music affects concentration

Music can both increase and decrease concentration. It all depends on the personality of the person and his tasks.

Scientists have found that factory workers are better at coping with monotonous tasks if they listen to music. Favorite music evokes positive emotions and increases the efficiency of mechanical work. If the task requires emotional inclusion, then the appropriate music also helps to immerse yourself in the work.

With intellectual work and study, everything is different. Research shows that concentration while listening to music is inferior to concentration in silence.
This happens for several reasons:

Lyrics. The lyrics in songs evoke memories and emotions and interfere with concentration, just like talking.
Sound peaks. Guitar solos or drums, especially on newer tracks, switch attention, even if the music is without words.

Novelty. The melody eventually gets boring and the selection of music has to be changed. The person is not familiar with new sounds and melody, so the attention switches to each new track.

Which sounds are best for noise isolation

When a person is solving an intellectual problem, music should not be emotionally motivating and stimulating. Its task is to mask outside noise and conversations, but at the same time not to distract or annoy.

Two types of sounds are suitable for this:
Sounds of nature. These are sounds of natural origin: the sound of waves, rain, foliage. They are monotonous and predictable, such sounds are easier to “filter” and stop paying attention to them.

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Binaural beats (β-beat). The sound of a certain frequency, which corresponds to the electroencephalogram (EEG) of the brain at the time of its intellectual work. It is believed that listening to β-rhythms with headphones helps the brain to focus faster and enter a flow state.

Binaural beats are white noise variations with a continuous pulsating effect that perfectly masks noise. It is unusual in sound, so it can be used to form a healthy habit. The brain will get used to concentrating to this sound and in the future it will switch to working mode faster.

Binaural beats can be used alone or in combination with other sounds to better block out ambient noise.

Selecting and setting sounds to block noise

At the moment, the focus has 9 nature sounds and one binaural beat that you can mix with each other. They turn on and off automatically with a timer. You need to choose the sounds that best mask external noise for your particular application.

🎯Statistics in Fokusito

To control the dynamics of work, I made a few statistics. It shows how much time you spend on work every day and how much you “recycle” the initial intervals.

Controlling the processing time will help you determine the ideal time frame at which your concentration is maximized. For example, if you systematically work out 10 minutes, then you should set the timer not to 25, but to 35 minutes.

🔨How to use the program

Fokusito is not obligatory. I myself use the program on a daily basis, but I only track tasks that require intense immersion. Or those that you can easily get stuck in, losing track of time.

If I work in silence, I don’t include sounds at all. In this case, only the timer is enough for me to take a break in time. But when working in cafes I always use it.

I tried to balance the interface and functions so that the program does not have some kind of static usage model. You can easily integrate the program into your current workflow.

Focusito settings: you can set a daily target by intervals, choose window behavior and customize shortcuts

💰How much does it cost and where to buy

Pomodoro timer, sounds, binaural and statistics are free. But the work history (statistics for the past days) is a paid option, and it costs $ 3.99. I named this version Fokushito Pro.

So far, Fokusito Pro has only a history of work, but we are already working on new goodies: additional sounds, presets, more statistics options, an expanded task manager, etc. The roadmap is large enough and all new features will appear in Focusito Pro.

With the addition of new chips to the Pro version, the price will increase. So if you want to support development, the best thing to do is now

💜 Download Focusito on the Mac App Store, for free

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