← Blog Home July 18, 2022

Tab Timer

TaskTXT is all about starting a timer when you start a work task, and stopping it when you finish. This motivates you because you are "on the clock" while you are working, and you've committed to a specific task.

You can optionally write a guess for how long the task will take. In this case not only are you on the clock, you're in a race to meet your goal, all the more motivating.

You see the timer when you are looking at TaskTXT, otherwise, it's somewhere in the background while you're working. Sometimes you want to see that countdown as you work, for an extra boost of motivation, but it's cumbersome to do so.

But the last thing I want is for TaskTXT to be stressful. You don't need a ticking timer staring you in the face while you work. I had to strike a balance.

The idea was to put the timer value in the browser title bar, allowing you to see it even if its in a background tab. Here are the issues I had to contend with.

1. Ticking timers distracting

Showing all the timer data (seconds and all) in your browser tab bar is the obvious choice, but the type of people who use TaskTXT are easily distracted. A ticking timer could poison their productivity. I chose not to show seconds. A calmer display of time that changes once per minute. I chose this friendly looking time format: "1m".

A problem arises when the timer value is less than one minute. A timer with 30s remaining would show "0m". That's ok, but it looks weird. When you first start a timer and see "0m" for a full minute, you may wonder if the timer is working. I fixed this by showing the seconds if the value is less than one minute: 1s -> 30s -> 1m -> 2m

2. Multiple timers running

There's no limit to the number of timers that can be running at once in a TaskTXT document. What should be shown in this case? You could choose the first one, but it would be hard to know which one is being displayed if you are looking at the timer in the tab bar. I chose to opt for simplicity and show nothing at all in this case.