‘Performance measured is performance improved’ or so goes the old saying. The pomodoro technique for task management is based upon time, and so is GTD (getting things done). That means time is important so if we manage our tasks and our times well then we can be more productive.
My Mac, iPhone, and iPad all have a number of timer apps, not including the anemic ones from Apple. Why so many timers? Finding one that is just right has been the challenge. Except for the Mac, it remains a challenge. On my Mac I’ve settled on one called ‘hr.’ That’s right, ‘hr’ as in lower case ‘hour.’ hr is special for a number of reasons.
First, it looks and feels as if it belongs in OS X El Capitan (or Yosemite, if you’re stuck back there) and was designed by Apple’s famed interface engineers (many of whom must be taking pain medicine after watching chief design god Jony Ive destroy the past and flatter the future).
hr tracks time and tasks and it’s simple to setup and use. Click the Menubar icon to bring it up, click to add a task, then select a user configurable category, add a name, set a date range and options and more.
Tasks can be prioritized and archived. The timer starts with a click and time is recorded for each task. That sounds simple but it’s also capable of matching tasks to projects and clients (without the time billing option; but there are plenty of those around).
The data for each session is easily visible but also editable; date, time, duration, description, number of sessions (which can also be merged). Tracked data can also be exported as a CSV file to be imported into a spreadsheet or a billing application.
In a nod to the pomodoro technique, hr can automatically pause on idle after a specified amount of time. All those features are well and good but the real value here is usability. hr is the timer app you’ll use to time tasks and manage projects because it’s so elegantly done.
If there’s a niggle, is that there is no try-before-you-buy option, but it’s priced right.
There is one other major issue one for me– the need to have an iOS version of hr that syncs data between Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Why? More and more I’m doing less and less task work on my Mac which is showing up on iPhone and iPad.
Otherwise, hr is a delight to use.