Forcing myself to take Pomodoro breaks
Jan 8, 2013

I’m awful at taking breaks once I get in the zone, but I’ve noticed that this is counter-productive by the end of the day.  What’s “in the zone” earlier in the day ends up being staring at the screen by the end of the day.

So today, I hacked together a solution. At the end of each Pomodoro, my Pomodoro software loads in full screen, and starts the 2-minute mediation thingy. What a wonderful way to break away!

  • Update: Much simpler way!

You can run this little AppleScript, which gives you a 10 and 20 minute warning in Growl, then runs after 25 minutes.

Copy this into AppleScript Editor. Modify the script if you like. Then File -> Export and save it as an Application called Countdown. You can run Countdown whenever you start a Pomodoro.

-- Wait 10 minutes before the first warning (change this if you want) delay 10 * 60 growlNotification("10 minutes elapsed.") -- Wait another 10 minutes for another warning delay 10 * 60 growlNotification("5 minutes to go.") -- After 25 minutes, load delay 5 * 60 makeMeCalm()

on makeMeCalm()
do shell script “open ‘/Applications/Google’"
tell application “Google Chrome” to activate
tell application “System Events”
keystroke “f” using {command down, shift down}
delay 8
keystroke tab
keystroke tab
keystroke tab
keystroke tab
delay 1
keystroke return
end tell
end makeMeCalm

on growlNotification(message)
tell application “System Events”
set isRunning to (count of (every process whose bundle identifier is “com.Growl.GrowlHelperApp”)) > 0
end tell

if isRunning then
    tell application id "com.Growl.GrowlHelperApp"
        -- Make a list of all the notification types 
        -- that this script will ever send:
        set the allNotificationsList to ¬
            {"Timer", "Another Timer"}

        -- Make a list of the notifications 
        -- that will be enabled by default.      
        -- Those not enabled by default can be enabled later 
        -- in the 'Applications' tab of the Growl preferences.
        set the enabledNotificationsList to ¬

        -- Register our script with growl.
        -- You can optionally (as here) set a default icon 
        -- for this script's notifications.
        register as application ¬
            "Growl Timer" all notifications allNotificationsList ¬
            default notifications enabledNotificationsList ¬
            icon of application "Script Editor"

        --       Send a Notification...
        notify with name ¬
            "Timer" title ¬
            "Timer" description ¬
            message application name "Growl Timer"

    end tell
end if

end growlNotification

Hey Sal, what's up?

These days, I’m taking life easy, mainly making stuff and advising a few upcoming peer learning programs.

Feel free to email me at


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