I am pleased to announce my first iOS app: Timist.
Timist, at its core, is a classic time tracker: create a timer (or a whole bunch of ‘em), hit start when you begin a task and stop when you end it. The app then provides a range of insights, such as weekly, monthly and yearly charts, a calendar view that shows the distribution of tracked time across your days, and a lot more.
Pomodoro is the twist: the Pomodoro technique is a time management method, devloped by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Its goal is to increase your productivity by having you alternate between highly focused work sessions and short breaks. Pomodoro has personally served me very well from University onwards and was also heavily involved in the development of the app.
Timist integrates Pomodoro seamlessly in the Timist Session System. Every timer can switch between sessions and breaks, send you reminders and can be completely customized. The app is free to download and use, with an optional Timist Pro subscription that unlocks deeper customization, advanced analytics and a whole lot more.
This post is also meant to serve as a kind of hub of all things related to Timist: future development, its struggles (and hopefully: successes) and other stories along the app’s life.
A short history
The Cortex podcast is how time tracking came into my life. The show, in which C.G.P. Grey and Myke Hurley discuss their working lives, emphasizes the importance of time tracking for professionals quite often.
Knowing how you spend your time serves as an important data point, because it is one directly under your control: What tasks consume the most time? What do you consider to be important for your business, but spent maybe to little time on? What takes a lot of time, but does not help to pay the bills?
In episode 44 “Existential Time Tracking”, Grey talks about tracking all time in his life. I thought that was an interestening experiment, because I really had no idea where my 24 hours every day usually go.
The methodology of tracking all time in your life is, in theory, quite simple: divide your life into categories and measure the time you spend on them. Maybe even think of silly names for categories. In practice, you would not want to do it manually with pen and paper and a stop watch - there’s an app for that.
Only, none of the available apps on the App Store quite fit the bill. Some had clunky UI, others no analytics and certainly none offered to add Pomodoro to the mix.1
I first started with aTimeLogger. A week later, I added a timer called “CODE” and downloaded Xcode for the first time. Roughly 18 months later, Timist was first released to the App Store. And now where here :)
The “Timist DEV” timer, featured quite prominently in marketing images of the app, has a 40min work and 5min break setting. An interesting observation for me was that, even though programming benefits greatly from prolongued, focused “no-interruptions” work, getting up from your desk every 40 minutes and doing something other than staring at a screen did wonders for solving problems. It proved to be a great trigger for the brain to go into “brackground-process-problem-solving”-mode while being primarliy engaged with making coffee. Sometimes even five minutes of distance can help with an issue where the previous half hour of intense contemplation were fruitless. ↩