Enhancement: Autopause on inactivity #79

jockster opened this Issue Nov 6, 2012 · 4 comments


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jockster commented Nov 6, 2012

I suggest that autopausing would be added to the app, so that when no mouse movement and/or keyboard typing was detected for a set number of seconds (20?) the current timer is halted and automatically restarted upon new user interaction.


kamilprusko commented Nov 6, 2012

Thanks @jockster for posting a request.

I want to give a bigger picture. There are two strategies into making breaks:

  1. with working sessions fixed - ask to start a next session during pause
  2. with working sessions adaptive - ask to take a break after a fixed period of time of activity

The first one is more true to the original pomodoro technique, its purpose is to make a mental distinction between working and having a break - focus on work and then "focus" on a break. The second is more of a typing break and is helpful to relieve physical strain, it's also more of a suggestion then a routine. If we want to keep thing simple and intuitive we need to stick to one of them (and there should be a different app for the other strategy).

Now, there are some problems with auto-pausing:

  • it breaks the idea of time boxing pomodoro technique is based upon, and inactive time would be counted as a work time
  • while reading, watching or working away from desk, user may loose some focus by remembering to use his/her mouse to keep the timer notified about being active
  • basing on above issues it would be less accurate for time management
  • it doesn't honor the routine

I agree that sometimes user needs to shorten a pomodoro - and we should implement that, but auto-pausing violates too many principal ideas to me. Sure there are benefits, but user may do better with a "break timer" that uses the second strategy.

Please don't get upset about my opinion. Feel free to bash me. Maybe others will have other comments on this idea.

Thanks for your answer. I fully agree that autopausing shouldn't be default in any case. Making it toggleable however makes a lot of sense to me who mainly develops on my computer and only leaves for phonecalls.

Perhaps auto-stop on inactivity would make more sense, so that the either the current period are reset or that new periods aren't automatically started.

How about that?

@jockster jockster closed this Nov 13, 2012

@jockster jockster reopened this Nov 13, 2012


kamilprusko commented Nov 13, 2012

Auto-stop sounds more fun :) But again, it wont be nice if user starts reading, watching or doing stuff off the desk...

Some pomodoro timers keep track of interruptions, usually for a fixed period of time around 15s or 30s. You could use them to register when your mind slips off from work. It's a nice feature if there are stats ...and a bit silly :)

How about this:

  1. user selects "Interrupt session" / "Make an interruption" from the menu (under a Pomodoro Timer toggle), or with a dropdown indicating a current state: "Pomodoro" "Short Pause" "Long Pause" or "Interruption"
  2. a notification pops-up saying to click once ready to resume pomodoro
  3. to resume pomodoro dismiss a notification pop-up or go back to menu and click again the option

There could be a hotkey <Ctrl><Alt>i or <Shift><Ctrl><Alt>p to toggle it.

Interruption is similar to a short pause, so 10~15 minutes of inactivity would reset the long-break cycle. I think pomodoro should get invalidated when that happens, and pop-up another notification.

When user is inactive for a minute during interruption and comes back we could auto-resume - but that's a bit magical and not always expected. More reliable way would be to resume when coming back from a LockScreen or ScreenSaver.

How that sounds?


kamilprusko commented Jun 16, 2015

I think manual stop would be better #171.

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