Thompson Rivers University

App helps avoid distractions and increase focus

February 5, 2024

Assistive Technology Specialists understand the many ways that being distracted impacts productivity and time management. Try the Bear Focus timer to help you stay focused on a task.

Let’s face it: the next distraction is always around the corner when it comes to studying. Between our phones, pets, roommates, relationships, part-time jobs, and the overwhelming urge to procrastinate, it’s no wonder that concentration can be a challenge. The Bear Focus Timer is a time management and white noise app available for Android & iOS.  The app is based on the Pomodoro Technique, a time management system that consists of designated blocks of time for focused work followed by a short break. 

Setting Up Your Focus Sessions

Bear Focus Timer allows you to customize the length of your focus sessions and rest breaks. The interface is simple to use and contains fun illustrations of a bear named Tom, who supports you during your focus sessions.

Here’s one way to set up my focus cycles:

  • 25-minute focus sessions followed by a 5-minute break x  3 or 4 sessions in a row

  • Once these sessions are over, take a long break of 30-60 minutes before starting another cycle.
Screenshot of app settings.


Adding White Noise to Maximize Focus

Another great feature of this app is the ability to play white noise during your focus session. Several options are available, including a thunderstorm, wind sounds, and a crackling campfire.

Starting Your Session

Once you’ve set up your preferences, place your phone face down on a flat surface, and your focus session will begin. Picking up your phone will pause the timer – but as you’ll see, Tom will not be impressed. Once the focus session is over, you will be notified by a vibration, tone, or a combination of both, depending on how you set up your preferences.

Screenshot of Tom the bear taking a fishing break.

When you complete a focus session, Tom the Bear will be there to praise you throughout the whole experience. He, too, will take a break when you take a break—he often loves to spend his breaks fishing.

For more information about time management and the Pomodoro Technique, check out this helpful article by Student Storyteller Amna Qazi. Check out these accessibility resources to discover more apps that can help you with productivity. Please email or make an appointment with the assistive technology specialist by phone at 250-828-5023.


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