Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Pomodoro with friends (pomochat.com)
177 points by seydor 72 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 72 comments

Pomodoro is registered trademark and they protect it all the time.

I would be careful...


Well it is similar to how "Apple" is a trademark. They don't own the rights of the fruit, obviously, but you can't use the word "Apple" as an electronics (maybe even software) company.

Don't forget a music company... no wait, different Apple.

And my favourite Portuguese greengrocer, Apple.come: https://shopinporto.porto.pt/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/04-A...

Apple Corps (Music) vs Apple (Computers) had 30 years of legal disputes.


Similar to the nissan.com case: https://nissan.com/

Which concluded with Apple Computers buying them out in 2007-2010 in order to create Apple Music.

I often refer to generic store brand Pomodoro as "The Tomatillo Method"

Wonder if you could just call it "TomatoTime"?

There is a "Tomato Timer". [1] Looks like it was bought recently.

[1] https://tomato-timer.com/

Tomatoes with Friends?

Pomodachi: pomodoro + tomodachi(friend)

I noticed that the other day.

what about sites like pomofocus.io?

It's been used forever as the term for the technique, I doubt that trademark is claimable

It should be perfectly claimable within the scope of the trademark.

Peloton is general purpose term from bicycle racing, but Peloton(tm) is trademark covering e.g. stationary exercise bikes: https://trademarks.justia.com/857/75/peloton-85775447.html

I think you're arguing that "Pomodoro timer" has become Kleenexed. That's a huge risk to take, given how narrow the audience for such is to begin with. The average layperson can use the word "Kleenex" for any product in that category, but the average layperson hasn't even heard of a "Pomodoro timer".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleenex#Kleenex_trademark https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark

Name idea: "La Tomatina", after the festival in Spain with tomato fights.

That looks really cool, I was actually searching for something like this. I'll be sure to give it a try over the following days. I've been using https://cuckoo.team with a friend over the past weeks for a couple of sessions every day as a way to motivate and keep one another accountable.

EDIT: On a closer look it appears more of a social network where you can meet people, than a productivity/motivation system. I expected small/private rooms and more control over the start time and the duration of pomodoro's. I'll still try it out to test how it works during the day.

It's definitely an overkill in terms of recreating a social network, but maybe they'll get there eventually. The @pomochat user in the chatroom seems to be the devs listening to ideas (and people are making proposals).

Seems like an oxymoron... pomodoro timer is for focus, productivity. Then they add highly distracting chat to it?! I realize the chatting is in between breaks but I don't need more distractions in addition to emails and messaging in between focus sessions.

Many people use the pomodoro technique in a social setting. It's what I did in college to finish my master's thesis: I'd group up with a few other people that had their own stuff to work on, we'd sit in the same room, and work while the pomodoro timer was active, and chat during the break times. This site is intended to be a digital version of this that enforces the quiet time while the pomodoro is active.

Working together (even if separately) with other people is highly motivating. I found that I was much less likely to procrastinate this way, kind of how I'm less likely to be reading Hacker News instead of working when my boss is standing behind me than when I'm alone.

Personally I don't think you need a whole separate website for this; a Discord or IRC bot that runs the pomodoro would work just as well.

Body doubling is exactly this! (https://doubleapp.xyz/blog/how-to-body-double) Also called social facilitation (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_facilitation)

When someone else is around it's like a switch gets turned on and BAM - I'm able to do the thing.

Didn't know there was a name for it! It's the same reason why kids can stay in a classroom and not start a riot i guess.

Finally I know the name now - thank you!

It can help with the commitment aspect to make that commitment with another person. If that isn't an issue for you then this is just distraction. By preference, at least for small things, I'll cheat myself before I'll cheat a stranger.

what can help with the commitment aspect is NO distractions though. that's the point of pomodoro.

You’re still only holding yourself accountable, which is harder for some than others. If you don’t have friends to study with, maybe some internet strangers could be a motivational alternative.

I thought the same. When I remember to use a timer, I find it very motivating, but the breaks are easily filled with email, switching contexts, getting a drink, going to the bathroom or whatever else.

Maybe a purely structured chat would work - summarise what you achieved, outline what you will do in your next allotment. But anything beyond that might be time better spent planning and prepping for the next session rather than wasting the first minute getting up to speed?

The Pomodoro technique is for sure a great way to focus on certain tasks! (mostly computer-centered tasks, in my experience) And I like the collaborative aspect of it too.

We've actually been making something that encourages all sorts of activities to be done with someone else at the same time (https://doubleapp.xyz, based on "body doubling" or social facilitation) - it's another great technique to have in your arsenal.

Now that I have a smart watch, I don't think I'll be trying the pomodoro technique again. What I wanted from it the most was help to take breaks but now my watch reminds me to move around. It stopped the antipattern of sitting in my chair for hours and feeling drained. I can still use help with productivity but instead of four pomodoros I can just look for productivity tools that will help me get ready for work sessions. If I was going to try to do 2 sets of pomodoros I can instead just do 2 sets of 2 hour work sessions.

Edit: I joined Pomochat to try it out and I think chatting with strangers is probably about the worst thing to be doing on a Pomodoro Technique break. It should be done during the 25 minutes (but not every 25 minutes unless your job is to poke around in chat rooms), not on the break which ought to be used for stretching/relaxing both physically and mentally. I'm typing this during the Pomodoro but will just close the window after typing this.

I have an ultrasonic distance sensor sitting on top of my monitor that notes when I'm in front of the computer or not[1]. Not mentioned in the blog article is that I also run a shell script that keeps track of how long I've been in front of the computer and nudges me to take a break after 45 minutes.

[1] https://www.michevan.id.au/posts/are-you-there/

There are also low tech solutions that provide periodic distractions, such as pets, kids, or other time sensitive responsibilities. I’m speaking from experience, i.e. my smart watch no longer has to remind me to take a break.

> low tech solutions that provide periodic distractions, such as pets, kids, or other time sensitive responsibilities

The problem with those is that the frequency and randomness of the distractions makes is that the very possibility of being distracted by them prevents me from doing any work at all[0]. Unless I structure my environment to isolate myself from such distractions for extended periods of time, certain types of work (including all software work) just don't happen.


[0] - Like, why I'm up and on HN at 3AM now? Because my little one woke up and can't decide if she's going back to sleep or not; in case of the latter, I need to react quickly, or else she'll wake up her older sister and we can all kiss rest of the night goodbye.

I like to fill up a big glass with water. When the glass is empty I get up to get more. Exercise, a break, and a good water clean!

There is a lot of research about how sitting for long periods each day has negative health consequences. It's much better to take a break every 30 minutes or so and walk around. The negative effects of not doing so aren't fixed even by having a period of moderate exercise every day, unless that period gets into the range of an hour. But during breaks every 30 minutes, you don't need to do much. Just walking around makes a huge difference.

To try and be healthier, I've been combining that understanding with the Pomodoro technique. I set a timer on my watch for 30 minutes while sitting at my terminal, then get up for 5 minutes and walk around (also timed). Sometimes I have chores to do during the walking period, sometimes I just relax, and sometimes I use it to break out of any mental ruts I've gotten into and think at a higher level about the task at hand.

I pretty much always feel that my overall productivity is enhanced by this approach. But it would be justified purely by the health benefits. I don't do this as a replacement for a schedule of moderate exercise. I try to do that too.



This reminds me of a speculative/satirical social productivity suite I prototyped with a friend in school, including a 30-minute game where you race to check off tasks against a friend, and send taunting photos every time you did.

Nice approach. It looks like social facilitation is becoming a widespread solution now that remote working is widespread.

I started using Focusmate[0] last week and found it incredibly useful. You can schedule a 25/50 minutes session, and you can find a partner to work with every 15 minutes. Maybe not for some people who don't like being watched through their webcams, but I don't have a problem with that.


I don't know if this is just me, but this seems like it would absolutely destroy my productivity. My best work is hours of uninterrupted exploration, toying around with ideas and threading them through code. 25 minute windows seem frustrating and distracting. Removing all the context of the problems from "RAM" and resetting me to zero...

I find it works well for the kind of focused work where you have a list of small tasks and are checking them off one by one, in units of 25 minutes or less.

For creative work you're right: it breaks your flow completely and you (I) end up either snoozing it (which makes it worse than useless) or obeying it, and then having to re-enter my context which can be a real pain.

However, I do appreciate the Pomo system for a few specific things, and these are why I sometimes use it:

1. If you have bad ergonomic habits, it can help you GTFO of your chair regularly.

2. If you're too distracted or full of ideas to actually get work done it can help force you to stay on tasks. "20 minutes of deleting emails, now go!"

3. It can structure a block of work enough that you probably won't be late for dinner.

I would be interested in a minimally social version of it, sort of like going to a coworking space with a friend: some social pressure might help you be more work-focused.

But this product doesn't look like that: chatting during the break is arguably the worst thing you could do, since you are still sitting at the computer, your focus is just going to get jittery, and now you have two things (the work, and the chat) you will have to decide to break off or not.

Seconded, with one difference wrt. creative work - I sometimes use it to break through the "potential barrier". Often enough, I find myself eager to be working on something big, but unable to actually get started. Committing to even a µPomodoro (more below) does help me get through that initial hump.

I also find Pomodoros useful as a self-reward system. Pretty much the only one that worked on me to date (not perfectly, but anything else I tried didn't work at all). The idea is this: when trying to make myself focus on things I avoid, such as work during periods of stress, I commit to counting pomodoros as points to spend on hobby projects or entertainment. The exchange ratio varies with time - 2 work pomodoros for one personal pomodoro is my default, though I sometimes go 1:1. First time around, I added reward multipliers for streaks, but I ended up gaming it and then trying to tweak to be more reliable, and it turned into a time sink, so later on I just did simple 2:1 or 1:1 exchanges.

The kicker is, I don't even spend the reward in the end. When I finish what I set out to do, I tend to have a good work week or more of reward pomodoros accrued, and then I don't feel motivated to use them. However, the act of collecting points is still a reliable motivator.

All that is modulated by a simple problem: I only ever remember to do pomodoros when things get bad and I'm getting stressed about a deadline.

Regarding µPomodoros (micro-pomodoros): sometimes when the stress or activation barrier is too high, I split my pomodoros into five 5-minute sessions, with no break in between. I call those 5-minute timer periods µPomodoros. Increasing the granularity tends to help me overcome mental barriers.

Pomodoro doesn't work great for everything, but it works well for focused work. Studying, writing, writing code after you've already figured everything out, etc.

I've tried Pomodoro in the past but always felt like I was watching the clock too much. By the time I got into the zone on a task I would have anywhere between 15-17 minutes left and would prefer to keep going. Has anyone else encountered similar and found ways to adapt it?

This is why Pomodoro often doesn't work very well with programming. You could try longer working sessions, like 50m work, 10m break.

Funny, I was thinking about something like that during the pandemic but a friend of mine said its a silly idea so I dropped it. I will have the satisfaction of "I told you so".

We host free video chat (sound off) focus sessions at http://earthpilot.org/focus

I checked out the site and read some of the comments, but I don't really understand what the purpose of this is. Anyone care to explain?

https://complice.co/rooms is a similar one that I use

I can't use pomodoro technique, I have GERD

Right now some people can send messages even during the pomodoro sessions, so it doesn't do what it advertises.

yeap. let's say it something i made for myself. I didnt expect ppl to use it really. Going to work on it if people end up using it

This is neat! Body doubling and time boxing are helpful for ADHD. Offering both on demand sounds handy.

One year I tried to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month; there's one going on right now since it's November) and found a chat room somewhere that would have a timer and then everyone would try to write as much as they could during a short time period, and we'd all report how many words we wrote. It was really good motivation, probably because of what you said: body doubling and time boxing, plus turning off the inner editor to write as many words as you could.

Body doubling has been a game changer for me as well - really for any kind of task

The social gamificatiom of pomodoro, to create a social tipping point in productivity.

Not sure if that defies the purpose, or enhance it.

Hmmm with that url I wouldn't send it to someone at work. Huge risk of being misinterpreted.

ugggh explains why the domain was not taken

chatodoro.com is available.

well considering that they are enforcing the pomodoro trademark hard, maybe i should switch to pornochat.com

It also took me a while to notice this, but I guess it's one of those things that 50% doesn't see until told, and the other 50% make themselves known by immediately swearing you off.

I feel like I’m missing something obvious here, feel free to make fun of my obliviousness, but for what would it be misinterpreted? Post-modern chat?

Edit: I see! Thank you for the responses!

Parent is referring to kerning [0]

"Pomo" can appear as "porno" with some fonts.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerning

I sometimes mistake 'rn' for 'm'. Perhaps they meant that?

how the letter "m" in "pomochat" can look like "rn" when kerned.

Just wait ‘till the come out with GitHub integration.

I would think using the break time to step away from the computer, look out a window or go outside for a few minutes, would be much better use of the breaks.

For me, the hardest part of pomodoro is convincing myself that, “yes, you really do need to step away for a minute.”

If the only function of this is that I feel socially pressured to _not_ be on a group chat or programming, then this does the trick.

Disclaimer: will try during the work day tomorrow. Have not tried the site itself.

https://www.flow.club/ is another one that is worth trying if you like this method of working. Pomodoro is one of the simplest and most effective methods out there, and we've designed an entire social context around the Pomodoro to support you.

I am pretty open-minded, but I don't chat about porno with friends so much, if ever, that would require me to have a dedicated platform for it.

I'm hoping this was meant to be a joke. In any case, now that you've pointed out the "pomo" vs "porno" similarity, I can't unsee it.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact