Time management is important for everyone. When we get our tasks done efficiently, we leave more time for other things we’re passionate about. There are numerous tools on your Fedora system to help you manage your time effectively. One of them is a Pomodoro timer.

The Pomodoro technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo. He named it after the tomato-shaped timer he used in his university years to manage his time. There’s more to the method than just a timer, but basically it means setting up sprint time.

During a sprint, you focus only on the task and goal at hand, and avoid distractions. Each sprint has a specific goal, and the end of the sprint signals a break to relax and set up for the next sprint. Sprints often come in a series, and a longer break follows the end of the series.

By breaking your work into sprints like this, you can focus intently on a specific goal. As you complete sprints, you build up accomplishment and morale. If your sprints are organized around a larger project, you’ll often see big progress in a short time.

Installing the Pomodoro timer

Fedora Workstation’s GNOME Shell has a Pomodoro timer extension available. To install it, search for Pomodoro in the Software tool, or run this command:

sudo dnf install gnome-shell-extension-pomodoro

To see the timer, hit Alt+F2, type r and hit Enter to restart the Shell. You can also logout and log back in, although you’ll need to save any of your work first. The timer will appear at the top right of your Shell:


You can use the Preferences panel to have more control over your sprints. There are some interesting options for sound (like a softly ticking clock) you might find energizing — or annoying! Use this control panel to adjust the intervals and interface to suit your preferences.

One of the custom options I like is the ability to start a sprint with a key combination. By default, Ctrl+Alt+P starts the timer, but you can adjust this as desired. Any time I hit a stride while writing and think a sprint is in order, I can use the keyboard to easily start and commit to one.

Other timer apps

But what if you’re not using GNOME? There are options for you, too.


If you’re using KDE, you can use the Timer app, but you might prefer adding the widget to your screen. Right-click the widget to set the timer to a preset limit, or you can use a mouse wheel to customize. Then start the timer to remind you when the sprint is finished. A notification appears when the timer is done.


If you happen to be using XFCE, you might like the xfce4-timer-plugin app. This app functions both as a countdown timer and a scheduled timer. You can set up a custom countdown timer for different sized sprints, and recall them as desired in the alarm list. You can also provide a custom command to run at the conclusion of the sprint.


Although not available in Fedora directly, there is a fully featured Pomodoro Timer applet for Cinnamon. One source where you can find the timer is via Cinnamon Spices. This applet has a variety of settings, similar to the GNOME timer, specifically built for the Pomodoro method.


Closing thoughts

Using the Pomodoro method won’t single-handedly make you more efficient. It can be an important part, though, of an overall approach to managing your time and effort. Do you want more tools you can use to track and improve your work habits? Check out this previous article in the Magazine for some thoughts on the subject.

Cover Image based on https://www.flickr.com/photos/gazeronly/7944002016/ — CC-BY