What is Tomato Helper

Tomato Helper is your best Work-from-home productivity booster. This skill helps you to practice the pomodoro technique, one of the most effective time management methods out there. It partitions your time into 25-minute work intervals, called pomodoro, which means tomato in Italian. They are separated by 5-minute breaks, and there will be a 20-minute break after every 4 pomodoros. With the help of the skill, you will focus more and procrastinate less.

How to use

After saying "Alexa, start tomato helper", followed by "start", there will be a 25-minute count-down. After 25 minutes, the alarm will ring to notify you that it is time for a break. You can say "Alexa, next" to stop the alarm and start the break. After the break, you can say "Alexa, next" to start the next 25-minute of work. After four 25-minute periods, there will be a longer break of 20 minutes.

For Amazon Tap users, you can also use the next button to stop the alarm.

Why Tomato Helper

In the past, to practice the pomodoro technique, you can only use an app on your phone or a website online. However, those are also the sources of procrastination. For example, you may be tempted to reply to messages after seeing the notifications on top of the timer app.

With Tomato Helper, you no longer have to worry about shifting your focus while managing the timer. It is simple, fun, and extremely effective.

What's new

In the recent updates, the skill has a new silent mode for those who don't like the tick-tock sound of the timer. As some people think the tick-tock sound helps them to focus while some think it is distracting, we now have it in both ways.

The progress command can now report the current progress in a pomodoro or a break, so that you can keep track of the time. Also, it now supports pausing and resuming in case of emergency.

Technical details

The actual reason of the lack of pomodoro skill in Alexa is that there is no way for push notifications to activate Alexa meaning that it is impossible to play an alarm after 25 minutes. For audio tag in SSML, there's also a limit of 90 seconds. These restrictions are bypassed through the use of Alexa Audio Player. By making clever use of Audio Player, you feel like you are actually interacting with a skill with a timer. It may sound like a hack to you, but this is what hackathon is about!

Disclaimer

Tomato Helper is not affiliated, associated or endorsed by the Pomodoro Technique® or Francesco Cirillo. The Pomodoro Technique® and Pomodoro™ are registered trademarks by Francesco Cirillo.

Live on Alexa Skills Store, open source on GitHub.

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