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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.
Thanks @jockster for posting a request.
I want to give a bigger picture. There are two strategies into making breaks:
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:
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?
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:
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?