Having all your tasks written down is enough for many. However, that still doesn’t mean they’ll be accomplished. We’re so accustomed to red badges overlaying our apps that we ignore them as if they were ads banners. Some people even develop an OCD to iron out these commitments, but when the goals becomes to clean up your icons instead of cross out your duties, something is not well and we often intervene in a unproductive way against our to-dos.
This nuisance is even more discernible to those who are always engulfed by long-term projects. They land in our task managers and constantly discourage us when we ponder on their duration. Several techniques have been developed to improve our focus, such as the Pomodoro technique; however, some people just can’t be productive through a premeditated method. They demand something else.
And that’s what the new version of our old pal Vitamin-R 2 provides to its users.
What makes you tick?
The new version of Vitamin-R 2 is no revolution. The application wasn’t turned inside out, and it is unlikely that you, if a previous user, has much to adapt to. The new design is very welcome, although still keeping some friction in its usability, appears to have preferred to retain the muscle memory of its previous users.
The philosophy behind Vitamin-R 2 hasn’t changed either, only its focus was enhanced and boosted. As we wrote almost 2 years ago, our brains are more efficient when working on a short-period single task without interruptions. Since we’re always drowned in exhausting projects, we usually carry out random tasks without a pattern or order. By suggesting time slices, Vitamin-R 2 helps us to disassemble our tasks so they become feasible within our time limits and more productive.
Please your brain and get things done
Vitamin-R 2 sits in your menubar, waiting for you to add a goal. After the first one is drafted, it clears the path which could lead you to procrastination. Still, the objectives aren’t like tasks in Vitamin-R 2, in the first you fit the steps, while in the latter you hang the big picture. The span for each of your steps is up to you and as with every achieved objective you move a step forward. There’s always the savor of conquest rather than squeezing ourselves and forcing a poor outcome.
At first, it is an intimidating application, probably with more to set up than you really need (most of the notification just annoyed me). Meanwhile, this is part of Vitamin-R 2′s mission in not providing an alternative, but yet to offer the tools for you to seek your solution.
Keeping your time sliced
Coming up with your goals is the sole part of Vitamin-R 2 that requires slightly more attention. The principle is to jot down what you’re about to do now and stipulate a time period to complete the task. For example, using Vitamin-R to write this article, I add an estimate for each paragraph instead of the “Write the Review” smothered in cobwebs on Things.
In the next step, you’ll be inquired to eliminate your current distractions, your open application can be either hidden or closed. Next, you define the size of your slice. A slider gives you control of the length and allows you to visualize the hour it elapses. You can also use the motivation and resistance meters to find out how the time fits with your current state of mind, and settle if you want a timed or open break before moving towards your next objective.
As you work your goal through, a flood of notifications may draw away your attention and, as most functions, you can remove them in the Preferences. It’s by the moment your time slice ends that Vitamin-R 2 gets interesting. First you can rate your performance, which will be converted into statistics so you can check your results later. If you didn’t complete the action, you may leave breadcrumbs to remember where you to start over or jot down the problem that held you back from fulfilling your objective.
Adding more complexity
Vitamin-R 2 also offers a place where you can toss whatever comes to mind. These are the Pads and are allocated as Now, Later and Scratchpad. You can also change the objective in a fourth panel. All of them are very flexible and the FastType syntax helps to format your thoughts quickly. Still, this is the kind of feature I can’t see myself using due to already having well-established applications to scrawl notes, yet it may be essential if you prefer to keep everything in a single spot.
Don’t be shy to poke around Vitamin-R 2 a bit further, since it also wraps a file with all your latest achievements in a Log Book, which can be exported in CSV, or Statistics, which comprehends plenty of ways to survey your productivity. But the trophy for extra features goes to the sound library Vitamin-R 2 offers, including such noises as white noise or ticking clocks in order to create a pleasant environment for you when external factors sidetrack you.
Customizing your way through
Vitamin-R 2 exceeds in the amount of roles, so much that it could end up choking you. Its assorted windows and sorting options may consume a precious amount of time in terms of productivity. However, try everything out until you find what works for you. It’s exactly the malleability of Vitamin-R 2 that put it above a simple Pomodoro Timer.
The Preferences allow you to adjust or eliminate any of the tools, for example, I removed all the sound effects and nearly all notifications, also automatized most of the time sliced. Through this same menu, you may reset keyboard shortcuts, customize pads, set the aforementioned integration, sync with Dropbox and configure distractions.
The last time slice
We’re all somewhat unproductive, we just can’t bare to leave that Twitter notification unreplied to. Omnifocus won’t turn you into a productivity guru; that comes down that rather than the creation of new habits to overwhelm your former ones. Being productive is, come what may, a sacrifice, while procrastination forms a vicious cycle. Still discipline itself is not enough without the knowledge of our paths and goals. It’s about learning how to reach our goals.
On that account, despite bringing some discomfort, applications like Vitamin-R 2 are effective in matching up with their sayings. It is not a panacea as well as productivity is not the promised land, regardless of the propaganda. Working altogether with our brains for the sake of our tasks instead of being whipped by deadlines will always be the most effective way to achieve a goal.
Notwithstanding all the meddling you may carry over your shoulder, Vitamin-R 2 is a useful tool if your biggest obstacle is yourself.