Greg Ferro - Work to Live

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OSX:Awaken and TimeBoxed Time App Reviews

You might think that OSX would have a decent clock application but it’s does not. Recently, I’ve started using the Pomodoro technique of timing my concentration bursts on a specific topic. Partly to retrain my habit of constant attention shifting and partly to find a smarter way of working. I have two apps on my Mac that I use to help with this process.


Awaken is more focussed on being an Alarm Clock, but it's does have a good interface for support a number of timers. For example, I often time myself on telephone call to no more than five minutes, or I need to concentrate on an email response but that should not take more than 10 minutes (or I'm overdoing it).

Awaken show a simple clock at startup:

Awaken review 1

I have setup four timers for attention spanning: Pressing the play button starts that timer:

Awaken review 2

And Awaken will keep your Mac awake (prevent power sleeping)

Awaken review 5

This is the alarm clock setting, I’ve not used this much since my iPhone is more suitable for this:

Awaken review 3

I fyou do like using your Mac as an alarm clock, Awaken can play your favourite music / playlist from iTunes:

Awaken review 4

App Store Link


Sometimes, Awaken offers too many options and kind of confuses my starting point. On those days, I use TimeBoxed to setup the simplest possible timer:

TimeBoxed is a floating window with the typical shaded black box:

Timeboxed 1

You can easily resize it ( or even make it vertical) :

Timeboxed 2

And the preferences for configuration are disturbingly simple:

Timeboxed 3

One thing I like about TimeBoxed is the ability to speak a message at the end of the timer and send an alert to Growl (since sometimes my audio is turned off).

I sometimes change the message (when I'm in my home office where no one can hear) to put motivational messages, or reminders to go for a walk, when the time is up (guilty pleasure).
Timeboxed 4


Both applications work very well and do what they say. Awaken is somewhat cheaper and available in the App Store and would suit most people. TimeBoxed is not on the App Store and costs 10 Euros, so is a little expensive. TimeBoxed does have extensive AppleScript support, something that I'm hoping to work on.

Recommend both apps.