Custom Pomodoro Timer via Shortcuts

There are many posts on this site about how I plan and organize tasks. This post is about how I check one of those things off the list.

Check out this video that I made to introduce my students to the Pomodoro technique; you can also check out this Lifehacker post for another introduction.

In this video, I show you a shortcut that I created, which initiates a Pomodoro session for me by cutting me off from the outside world, playing some appropriate music, and showing me the tasks I should be working on.

You can download the shortcut I just showed you by clicking here.

If I were always inspired and full of energy, I wouldn’t need to do any of these things to trick myself into working and getting things done. However, I am rarely in such a state, so I must continually use technology and systems to prod me into doing what I know I should.

2 replies
  1. David Beaton
    David Beaton says:

    Love this shortcut! Thank you for putting it together Mike. How difficult would it be to modify the timer so that it first starts by asking you how many cycles you would like to focus for (a typical pomodoro cycle is 25min working, 5min rest = 1 cycle) and then start the timer, hit your playlist, omnifocus frogs, etc… but then after “Adjusted Date” expires, the timer alarm comes on to stop the work duration, and upon hitting the “Stop Timer” button the shortcut automates pause of your playlist, starts a timer for 5 min, and then back to another cycle starting your music etc etc for the total number of cycles you select? I think this would be a really beneficial alteration to the script, I wish I was able to make it happen for myself.

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      Thanks for reaching out and sharing your kind words, Dave!

      I love where your head is at with this thought, and I think it would be a useful addition. However, my concern is with relying on Shortcuts to stay active in the background for an extended period of time. As much as I love Shortcuts, I find that it is quick to get killed by the system when it is in a “wait” mode for too long.

      As it is now, Shortcuts is only active for a few seconds and hands everything else off to the respective apps.

      Perhaps you could add the logic to ask the question about how many cycles and have the shortcut create that many “Do Pomodoro Cycle” action items in OmniFocus with a URL to the shortcut in the notes of each action item. Or perhaps the same thing but with new calendar events instead of action items.

      That way, you are not relying on shortcuts to stay alive in the background and keep track of your cycles.

      Thanks again for the feedback!


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