Focus Booster Review – Boost Your Time Management as a Freelancer
- Editor Rating
- Rated 3.5 stars
- Very Good
- Focus Booster
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- Ease of use
Multitasking is out and focus tasking is in.
Everyone knows concentration is essential for better productivity and if you haven’t heard about it yet, time blocking is a popular way to manage your focus and productivity.
But how do you manage time blocking and time tracking without clogging up your tabs with 3 or 4 different apps?
If you’re anything like me, you love all-in-one apps – or apps that come really close to having almost everything you need.
That’s what Focus Booster is. A Pomodoro timer and time tracker rolled into one.
It’s easy to use if you want to time yourself and track your time.
I’ve been using Focus Booster for over a year, and I love being able to time my work sessions and keep track of what I worked on (or didn’t work on) every week.
This Focus Booster app review is an in-depth look at how it works, how much it costs, and how to use it as a freelancer.
Use the quick navigation below to get straight to the good stuff. 🙂
Quick NavigationWhat is Focus Booster?How to sign up for Focus BoosterHow much does Focus Booster cost?How to use Focus Booster as a freelancerWhat Focus Booster CAN’T do for youIs Focus Booster worth it?What is your favorite time-tracking tool?
Although I got a free 6-month membership to try Focus Booster back in 2016, it was not in exchange for this review. I’ve been using Focus Booster since before my 6-month free membership, and I continue to love using this program. I’m not getting paid or compensated to do this review.
What is Focus Booster?
Focus Booster is a desktop (and now iPhone) app that allows you to create timed, focused work sessions based on the Pomodoro technique – but with an added benefit if you don’t like Pomodoro sessions.
Pomodoro versus Rule of 52 & 17
The Pomodoro technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. It’s a system where you work in 25-minute intervals and take a 5-min break in between sessions. Shorter work sessions help keep your brain from becoming over-tasked.
The Pomodoro system has been proven to increase productivity and reduce fatigue, but it’s not for everyone.
Some freelancers (like myself) enjoy 30-50 minute sessions of focus and find that 25 minutes is just too short because stopping mid-thought during a writing session does more harm than good.
In fact, A study done at Cornell University in 1999 showed that desk-bound workers who stopped working after 52 minutes and took a 17-min break away from the desk had better productivity and work accuracy than those who kept working without breaks, or those who who took shorter breaks. The biggest takeaway from this technique is that you get up and move away from your work.
This technique is also known as the Rule of 52 and 17. And it reminds us that better productivity is found when you take frequent breaks after short bouts of complete focus on one task.
What does all this have to do with Focus Booster?
Focus Booster allows you to work with both focus techniques. You can set a Pomodoro timer, or you can set a 52-minute work session, then you can take the 5-minute break (Pomodoro) or set your own break length.
As a freelancer, this is good news because it means that you don’t need to work hours on end to to get the most out of your productivity.
Long breaks are encouraged.
How to sign up for Focus Booster
First, choose from one of three plans (Professional, Individual, or Starter). I suggest you try the Professional plan so you can test all the features. Don’t worry, you get 30-days free, and you don’t have to share credit card info.
Input your name and email address along with a username and secure password.
Then you’ll be directed to a welcome page.
Second, answer the on-screen questions. If you don’t know anything about the Pomodoro technique, Focus Booster will show you a quick 40-second video.
Tell Focus Booster how you will use the app. As an Employee, a Freelancer, or Student.
Then tell Focus Booster whether you’d like to track time and revenue against clients. You can also put in a list of your clients right from this page.
Then decide if you want the desktop app for Windows or iOS. If you don’t want the desktop timer, just click Next.
Finally, watch a quick “getting started” video that shows how to track your first task.
After the video, click “start your first session,” and you’re in!
After a few weeks of tracking your tasks and clients, you can look at your reports dashboard. It gives you a breakdown of how you’re spending your time and on which tasks.
You can display reports in different ways. Review by session, time, or by individual clients.
This is helpful for you to make better decisions on managing your productivity. “Use focus booster reporting to help you analyze your productivity and find areas to improve further.”
How much does Focus Booster cost?
Focus Booster has three plans: Professional, Individual, and Starter. Obviously, the Starter plan will be the most limited of the three, but if you only want to keep a timer for certain projects, just to tell you when to take breaks, then the free plan will work for you.
Below is a breakdown of all three plans. Each one comes with a 30-day free trial.
The professional plan has the most features:
- Unlimited Pomodoro sessions
- Keep track of your time through sessions or manually (if you forget to set a timer).
- Reporting of your sessions, productivity, revenue, and client work.
- Data export.
- Track clients and revenue along with your sessions.
Cost: $5/month or $55/year. If you go with a yearly plan, you get one month free
The individual plan sits right between professional and starter plans:
- 200 Pomodoro sessions per month
- Keep track of time through sessions or mannually
- Full data reporting of session productivity.
- Data export.
This plan does not allow for client and revenue tracking. It’s perfect for employees and students who just want to track their time.
Cost: $3/month or $33/year. If you buy a yearly plan, you get one month free.
The starter plan is the simplest plan available for those who just want to time a few work sessions a month. With it, you get:
- 20 Pomodoro sessions per month
- Keep track of time through sessions or mannually
- Full data reporting of session productivity.
Cost: Always free
How to use Focus Booster as a freelancer
Focus Booster is (so far) the only tool that times your work sessions AND keeps track of what you worked on in relation to client revenue.
Most apps only do one or the other. And God forbid you forget to turn that timer off after finishing an hourly-paid client project.
As a freelancer, you can use Focus Booster to keep track of hourly work and revenue. And you can have a timer go off to remind you to stop working – no more forgetting to turn off the timer.
My clients don’t pay me an hourly rate, so I use Focus Booster to time my work sessions. I review my reports at the end of the week to see what I’ve worked on. Those reports help me to make adjustments to next week’s freelance schedule.
With Focus Booster, I’m able to get more done if I work in focused intervals. In addition to using it for writing and editing my work, I also use it for sessions like these:
- Social media management
- Managing email
- Reading other blogs
- Managing the admin side of my blog
- Any other business admin task needed to run my business
By timing other things I do for my business, I won’t get lost in my email, on social media, or losing time managing blog stuff.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can do with Focus Booster:
- Desktop timer for Windows and iOS.
- Manual time entry in case you forget to start a session.
- Reports on weekday productivity, revenue, and client sessions.
- Export to CSV to create invoices and reports for clients.
- Timed work sessions and timed breaks so your day doesn’t get away from you.
What Focus Booster CAN’T do for you
If you’re on a budget and can’t afford an extra business expense, Focus Booster won’t work because the free version only allows 20 Pomodoro sessions a month.
You’re better off using something like Marinaratimer.com for timed work sessions but it won’t keep track of what you work on. If you need that feature you’ll have to use a free tool like Timecamp.com to track projects that are paid by the hour.
Focus Booster does not allow you to make notes for each session. For now, all you can track with the Professional plan is client name and a label of what you’re working on. And the label is not flexible.
For example, you can’t put a specific one-off project in there because it becomes part of a database drop-down menu you’ll choose from each time you start a session. Instead of a detailed label, you need to put something like “my blog” or “editing” so you can use it over again. Each label will correspond to which client project you’re working on.
For example, if I’m writing for a client, my label will be “writing” and my client will be “name”. You can choose each from the drop down list that appears before you start your session.
No pausing your timed sessions. Focus Booster removed the pause button on purpose so you can stay focused on your session. Being able to pause whenever you want defeats the whole purpose of using a timer. If you feel you need more breaks during a session, create shorter sessions.
Stopping and saving sessions is buggy. When you finish a session and immediately try to start another one, it asks you a second time if you want to save the session. I’ve made this mistake a few times and ended up with double entries.
To get around this, remember to say “no” to the second time it asks you if you want to save your session.
Is Focus Booster worth it?
Yes, I think Focus Booster is worth it for freelancers. It’s the only app I found that tracks time and times your work. If you don’t already have a way to track time sheets for client invoicing, Focus Booster can do that for you along with helping you manage time-blocked sessions.
And you can try the Professional plan for FREE for 30-days.
But, if you’re already using Harvest, Freshbooks, or 17hats (aff link) those have timesheet trackers already built into their features. The only thing you’ll need then is a timer, and you can get a free one with Marinara Timer.
What is your favorite time-tracking tool?
You can manage your productivity better by timing your work sessions and keeping track of time spent on projects. Focus Booster can do that all in one app.
Focus Booster is one of the first tools I tried when I first started my business, and I love it.
However, the internet is vast and there are other options out there for freelancers to track their time and time their work sessions. What tool do you use to track timesheets and work sessions?
Time block your work sessions so you can boost productivity and keep track of timesheets for invoicing and/or weekly time management. You get a Pomodoro timer and timekeeper all in one app.
The free version only allows 20 timed sessions a month. Most new freelancers looking to save money would do better with other time tracking apps.