Saent Lifeline is our macOS application that helps you develop an optimal daily working rhythm. The app combines the power of modern software with the best elements of the classic Pomodoro Technique: working in cycles of focused sprints and restorative breaks.
Here’s what Lifeline can do for you:
- Sprint and daily rhythm visualization: your Lifeline at the top of your screen replaces abstract counters and instead makes time visible.
- Automated break time calculation: always take the right amount of restorative breaks in between your sprints.
- Calendar integration: plan your tasks on your Calendar instead of your todo list; Lifeline automatically triggers sprint session reminders at the right time.
Let’s dive into these in detail to see how Lifeline works with visual examples.
📈 Sprint and daily rhythm visualization
Your Lifeline lives at the top of your screen.
When you’re not in a sprint—a timed session; we’ll get to those soon—your Lifeline represents the 24 hours of your day (the full width of your screen = 24 hours). The different colors help you understand your daily rhythm. In the above example, orange sections represent sprints. Meetings are blue, and white is untimed screen time. Black are periods away from the screen, and light grey is the future.
To start a sprint, you right-click the taskbar icon.
When you start a sprint, Lifeline jumps into action and zooms in so that the full width of your screen represents a cycle of 25 minutes (one Pomodoro 🍅). This is the ultimate way to get focussed as the available time is visualized, not reflected in an abstract counter in your taskbar.
In a nod to the classic Pomodoro Technique, Lifeline rewards you with a tomato if you make it to the end of your 25-minute sprint; a 🍅 will pop out of your Lifeline.
The difference with the original Pomodoro Technique is that Lifeline gives you flexibility. Instead of being forced to stop for a five-minute break after 25 minutes—the classic approach—Lifeline gives you the option to continue with additional sprint cycles. How? If you want another sprint, keep going. But if you’re going to take a break then just leave your computer. Lifeline automatically jumps into break-mode after two minutes of no keyboard nor mouse activity.
🌴 Automated break time calculation
When you finish a sprint and don’t use your computer for two minutes, Lifeline launches break mode. It will display an idle countdown before starting your break to ensure you’re really not there anymore.
Both these options can be tweaked under Preferences in the taskbar menu:
- You can adjust what duration of inactivity should trigger your breaks (the default is two minutes).
- You can also adjust when Lifeline should start warning you of the impending launch of break-mode (the default is 20 seconds).
The method for break time calculation follows a few simple rules:
- For every five minutes of sprinting, one minute is added to your recommended break time. This matches with the classic Pomodoro Technique framework of 5 minutes of break after every 25-minute cycle.
- Time spent in meetings—which you can also track from the taskbar dropdown menu or by connecting your calendars; more on that soon—also adds to your recommended break time.
- ⚠️ You will accumulate break time “debt”: if you take a shorter break than recommended during sprints, the remaining break time will be added to your “deficit” and remain there until your next break.
Time spent at the screen but not in a sprint does not count as break time. The purpose of a break is to get you disconnected and recharged. This doesn’t happen at your computer.
📅 Calendar integration
The best place to plan your day is in your calendar, not on your todo list. Your calendar doesn’t lie: it shows exactly how much time you have available, forcing you to make trade-offs in advance about what can and can’t be done that day.
By connecting Lifeline to your calendar, you can trigger automatic reminders to start a sprint based on the day and time of your calendar entries.
This set up is powerful because it turns the Calendar from a passive reference tool to one that’s actively merged into your workflow. Besides, you can also configure this integration in the other direction, so that Lifeline exports your actual session data back to a separate calendar. This allows you to compare your planning to what actually happened.
Note: this integration currently only works on macOS Calendar through iCloud, but it can connect to Gmail and Outlook calendars if you have those plugged into your macOS Calendar.
😎 Pro tips
Now that you understand the core features, here are some advanced recommendations to further improve your daily work rhythm with Lifeline.
Auto-timer: in Preferences, set up the auto-timer function as a backup for when you forget to launch a sprint manually. Pick a duration, and Lifeline will automatically start a sprint for you after detecting that many minutes of activity at your computer.
#FocusTime: if you’re a RescueTime premium user, you can use their #FocusTime feature and Lifeline’s calendar integration to block distractions during sprints. Mark the sprints you plan on your calendar with the word “#FocusTime” and RescueTime will block distractions for you during those sessions.
Detailed info: use the i icon on the right of each day to analyze how you spend your (screen) time. You can also see the number of 🍅‘s you’ve earned that day.
🏡 DO try this at home!
I’m really excited about Lifeline because of the features described above. I use it every day to make sure I spend my attention on the most valuable activities. It also motivates me to use my calendar for task planning, and, of course, I take plenty of breaks between my sprints to keep me calm and refreshed throughout the day.