Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Software Review: Vitamin R-2

Trouble focusing on your work?  This is the program for you!

Vitamin R-2 is a unique program that allows you to get things done on your computer using something similar to the pomodoro method in which you do work in short intervals and then take breaks. Pomodoro timers are a plenty on the Mac but Vitamin R-2 has the flexibility and options to adapt it to your needs.

On the base level, it’s a timer.  You mark how long of a time slice you want to take and the project you are working on.  The program then counts down and offers you a time and open ended break.  That’s just the beginning though.

Within the program are lots of features to optimize your productivity and reduce distractions.  When creating a “time slice” you can force select (or all programs) to minimize in order to reduce distractions.  While working if you think of something and must write it down, you can quickly open up the app’s “Now and Later” board to write down your thoughts for now, later, objectives, or simply a scratch pad.  This quickly gets you back to work. During your work you can also have a variety of sounds playing in the background such as white noise or a variety of ticking time clocks.  Occasionally the program will tell you how much time you have left.

When a time slice is complete, you can leave yourself notes on where to pick up from.   The program logs time spent on tasks and tasks can be tagged and categorized.

On first glance the program is intimidating and the manual focuses, pardon the pun, on the science of focus more than how to use the program.  After continued usage I was able to incorporate more of the features to improve my workflow.  By using the tools to plan the work and then to pick up when I shifted task, I really did get more done in the given day and be able to ask answer the question “Where did the time go?”

Pros:  Great productivity encouragement with the flexibility to adapt to individual workflows
Cons:  Can be a bit intimidating with the options and features

Four out of Five Dogcows