Why We Built a Free Pomodoro for Slack Integration and How It Works

While there are several downloadable Pomodoro timers available through both app stores and Chrome extensions, we’ve found that the best way to increase productivity is to use Pomodoro directly in Slack.

We know there are legitimate concerns about relying on Slack too much.

  • It can lead to an “always-on” culture.
    Because Slack makes it so easy to communicate, it’s more likely that someone is going to message you after normal work hours. The message may even tell you that you don’t have to respond right away, but after you see a Slack notification, you’re going to feel compelled to address their inquiry ASAP. After all, your non-work time was already interrupted by work.
  • It can lead to an unproductive workday.
    The average person on Slack will receive or be notified of 45 messages a day. Each notification is a chance to get pulled away from what you’re working on. Plus, once you’re distracted, it’s easier to stay distracted and start working on other, less productive tasks.

But Slack is a quick, easy, and affordable communication tool that companies will continue to use.

So, we made Focus Mode — a free Pomodoro-Slack integration — to help increase productivity without sacrificing communication between you and your team.

Focus Mode also integrates seamlessly with our asynchronous meeting tool, Geekbot. If you’re looking for a way to hold faster, less disruptive team meetings, try our free 30-day trial today.

How to Integrate the Pomodoro Technique with Your Slack Account

Like any other Slack integration, you add Focus Mode to your workspace with a click of a button.

After Focus Mode has integrated with your account, you can add the tasks you need to do for the day. For each task, you tell Focus Mode how long you want to be in “focus mode” and how long you want your breaks to be (most people usually start with 5-minute breaks in between each pomo and then they take a longer break after a series of pomos have been completed).

Pomodoro Slack: Focus Mode enables you to set what tasks you'll be working on with focus time and break time

Once you’re in Focus Mode, your Slack status changes to reflect the current task you’re working on. This gives your team more information than if you were just using Slack’s Do Not Disturb (DND) status.

Let’s say you’re looking into a broken API connection with Facebook Ads that has caused incorrect data to be reflected in ongoing paid marketing campaigns. This is a pretty significant issue, so your direct supervisor has logged on to ask you about when it’s going to be resolved. But instead of sending you a message — interrupting your workflow and slowing down your productivity — to get an update, they can see by your status that you’re working on the very task they wanted to ask you about.

When you finish a task, it’s marked as completed and you can take a break or move on to the next task.

By using Focus Mode, you were able to stay on Slack — effectively communicating to your team what task you were working on — while increasing your productivity. Your team members can message you and, thanks to Focus Mode’s status update, they’ll know that you’re currently occupied, so they won’t try reaching out to you through other methods.

Once you finish a Focus Mode session, you can easily view and respond to their messages. The difference is, by mapping your tasks to Focus Mode, your time on Slack is more intentional and productive, so you’re less likely to get distracted.

How Focus Mode Works with Geekbot

Our Pomodoro-Slack app feature integrates seamlessly with our asynchronous meeting tool, Geekbot.

Geekbot helps all kinds of teams — from development teams at GitHub and Zapier to teachers running remote learning classrooms — improve their time management and communication skills by letting participants fill out meeting information asynchronously when it’s convenient for them, and then sharing that information in a public Slack channel.

At the beginning of your workday, you simply update Geekbot with what tasks you’re going to be working on.

Note: You can configure what questions Geekbot asks, making it highly customizable and a viable tool in any industry.

Geekbot: What did you do since yesterday? What will you do today? Anything blocking your progress?

In this example, you can see Kate is going to be focusing on two tasks:

  1. Checking current product metrics and re-creating all dashboards.
  2. Holding a brainstorming meeting on how to boost internal user growth.

Note: while the two examples above are marketing-related, many engineering teams use our product as well.

After she submits her answers to Geekbot, those tasks will be automatically loaded into her Focus Mode dashboard.

Focus Mode with Geekbot within Slack allows you to set your tasks

From there, she can customize how long she expects each task to take — or break up larger tasks into smaller components.

When she finishes a task, Geekbot takes note of it, so the next day, when Kate is going to provide a status update again, Geekbot will actually suggest the tasks she finished yesterday.

Geekbot app within Slack: What did you do since yesterday? (Tasks listed) From focus mode: (Tasks listed)

This helps employees remember the work they did, so they don’t forget to provide updates on what they accomplished. Plus, if a task isn’t finished, it remains in Focus Mode’s dashboard where Kate can pick up from where she left off.

Final Thoughts: Increasing Productivity without Sacrificing Communication

Slack is a double-edged sword. It makes it easier to communicate with team members, which can be a great thing, but it can also lead to a lot of distractions, negatively affecting how productive you can be.

But the answer isn’t to delete Slack and go back in time to email only work culture as much as it is to leverage technology so you can use your Slack account more efficiently.

By integrating the functionality of a Pomodoro app into Slack with Focus Mode, you can:

  1. Stay focused on the tasks you need to finish today.
  2. Communicate to your team what tasks you’re working on.
  3. Integrate Focus Mode with Geekbot if you’re looking for an asynchronous software tool to help your entire team stay productive.

If you’re ready to reap the benefits of a highly-productive workday, go ahead and add Focus Mode to your Slack account for free.

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