The Pomodoro technique is a widely adopted and highly effective method of getting through your tasks. When it comes to that point when you need to really buckle down and focus, using a Pomodoro helps to eliminate distractions surrounding you because your mind is now fixed on getting through as much as it can before the timer runs out. This is basically tricking your brain into thinking the deadline for your task is only moments away. But even with the clock ticking (and many Pomodoro apps actually making a ticking sound) it can be difficult to truly block out everything that is going on around you.
The Pomodoro technique is one way to help you gain focus. Another way is to free your mind from external distractions. There are a growing number of services that provide ambient sounds to help keep your mind on the task at hand. One such service is Noisli. Noisli is a free web service with and additional app for both iPhone and iPad that allows your brain to plug into any combination of up to 16 sounds ranging from a thunderstorm (my personal favourite), to a forest, to a busy cafe. Each sound can be combined with other sounds and the volume of each can be controlled. This provides 16! (16 factorial) possible sound combinations, or a whopping 2,092,278,988,8000. What’s more is that the mobile app allows you to save your favourite combinations and re-use them again later.
By combining the time altering effects of the Pomodoro and the singularity created by Noisli it’s possible to forgot all about the world around you, leaving your mind completely zoned in on getting the right tasks done.
But it doesn’t end there.
The Noisli app has another secret benefit – it has a Pomodoro timer built into it’s mobile app version. This makes Noisli a single app to create a level of focus and clarity that is generally very hard to come by. From Noisli for iPhone or iPad tap on the timer icon in the lower right corner of the app to bring up the timer. The timer is set to 25 minutes by default, which just so happens to be the same time as a standard Pomodoro. Once the timer starts, enjoy a period of focused productivity, without fumbling around between apps to start timers and toggle settings.
When the timer ends, the sound from Noisli will fade away leaving you free to continue working if you’ve found a good rhythm, or to take a break before starting your next Pomodoro. No alarm bells or sudden jolts back to reality.
The combination of Pomodoro timer and background noise generator in a single app has allowed me personally to do a lot more things in a lot less time. This post for example, was written in less than 2 pomodoros while riding a noisy train. With my timer running and my mind focused on the ambient storm sounds I was able to breeze through it, distraction free. What could you do?