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I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

I used the Time Out Free app for quite a while and loved it. After the app autoupdated to the new version, however, I really dislike its scheduling behavior--or at least what I think its scheduling behavior is. I'm holding out hope that I'm screwing something up somewhere. Let me explain...

Suppose my settings are to have a 15-minute Normal Break every 60 minutes. In the past, this is how that played out:

12:00 - Start
01:00 - Normal Break
01:15 - Resume work; 60-minute countdown begins
02:15 - Normal Break
Repeat

NOW the behavior seems to be thus:

12:00 - Start
01:00 - Normal Break
01:15 - Resume work
02:00 - Normal break

Note that the PREVIOUS behavior was to restart the Normal Break countdown AFTER the previous break ended, whereas NOW the behavior seems to be to enforce the 60-minute cycle while completely ignoring the duration of the break. More generally,

Desired: "Work for X minutes, break for Y minutes, work for X minutes, break for Y minutes."
Current: "Work for X minutes, break for Y minutes, work for (X - Y) minutes, break for Y minutes."

What am I doing wrong here? Any help would be appreciated!

David Sinclair's picture

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

Appropriate username!

The logic did change a bit, to more logically specify the frequency of breaks (e.g. hourly) rather than the work duration between breaks (e.g. an hour of work).

If you still want breaks in the old pattern, just add the break duration to the frequency, i.e. make the break occur every 75 minutes (equivalent to 1 hour 15 minutes).

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

Thank you for your reply. The main problem with your workaround, which I'd already figured out and tried, is that it screws up the first work period by dragging it out an extra 15 minutes. It just seems exceedingly bizarre to make this sort of change to the logic. It really seems wonky and--at least with respect to most timed-break methodologies I've read about--counter to how people intuitively think about scheduling work/breaks.

Will you at least consider adding the option to use one logic or the other? Because while it may seem like a tiny thing, it actually really, really interrupts my workflow and has made using the app really annoying. It's just disheartening to see such a beautifully simple app now become overly complex and use new, different, and unintuitive logic (at least for me, but I would suspect some portion of others as well).

David Sinclair's picture

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

I'm sorry that you don't like the change. I think it's an improvement, since in my experience most people think in terms of hourly or half-hourly breaks, not the amount of work time between breaks. But I recognize that many people liked the way version 1 did it, so I'll definitely consider adding a way to specify the work interval instead of frequency, if I can come up with the way to do that that doesn't make the UI more complicated. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

I readily admit my experience may not be representative; we all tend to project our own thoughts and experiences onto others, after all. However, the fact that the logic used to be one way and is now another would suggest that others sharing my opinion/preference may be more likely than if things had always been this way. Now whether we represent a meaningful proportion of users is another question, you're right.

That said, I think it would be pretty straightforward to implement this option, at least in terms of the UI. My initial thought is simply to add a checkbox under/next to the "Every _____" setting in the Schedule tab for a Normal Break.

Again using the hypothetical schedule above (break every 60 minutes for 15 minutes):

Current settings
Break for: 15 minutes
Every: 60 minutes

Possible implementation of option for previous logic
Break for: 15 minutes
Every: 60 minutes ☑︎ After break ends

I'm not sure of the exact wording, but it seems like that should work. Other possibilities:
◻︎ Starting after break ends
◻︎ Restart countdown after break ends
◻︎ Pause countdown during break
◻︎ Do not include time spent on break

Something like that. I think "After break ends" or something similar would be the most straightforward; but then, I may just be projecting again. ;-)

Thanks!

David Sinclair's picture

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

Thanks for the ideas. Yes, one of those could work.

Having the "Every" prompt might be confusing. Another idea I thought of is to replace the "Every" label with a pop-up menu that includes "Every" and "Work for", for the two approaches.

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

I've created an account now just for that answer and to add my 2c :)

I too am thoroughly confused by this logic. I like working with the Pomodoro technique and that means a specific amount of time to work then a break then the same time work same time break until a certain number of work units (pomodoros in this case) is done, then a bigger break.

I can live with the fact that I have to restart the cycle after the first big break, no big deal. But it would be nice to have the smaller increments back to back and not overlapping.

Perhaps a general option as to which logic should be followed is an easy way to change this?

Thanks for a great product - been using the old version for years, then went to find more Pomodoro alike solutions, thought I try your new one now and really like it. Considering the paid option now.

Regards
B

David Sinclair's picture

Re: I'm confused here... did you change the scheduling logic?

Thanks, I'm glad you like the update!

Adding some sort of option for this is definitely a priority for version 2.1. A general preference could be a reasonable solution, though having it at the break level might be more useful, e.g. for daily breaks.