App

Vitamin-R is a productivity app sorely lacking in features, leaving us wondering what it has over the iPhone’s built in timer.

Vitamin-R is an app designed to overcome procrastination, but despite its good intentions, this review was still submitted late. However, simply saying “well, this app clearly doesn’t work” would be far too pithy a statement from a writer that missed a deadline. However, it’s also worth noting that the fact reviews exist for an anti-procrastination app at all points to positive results from its existence.

It’s also true that some of us leading ‘busy lives’, though this can also be applied to those of us who are mostly just lazy, need a little nudge to ensure we’re doing what we need to do at the time we need to do it.

Each step is clearly labelled as to what it is and why  it's there

Each step is clearly labelled as to what it is and why it’s there

But considering this review itself didn’t surface when it should have shows Vitamin-R to be somewhat of a red herring. For an app that claims to create “the optimal conditions for your brain by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity,” it doesn’t technically achieve anything that couldn’t be achieved with a pad of paper, a pen and an egg timer. Though considering many of us are now working on the go, we acknowledge that this would be impractical.

The app is simple enough to set up. You’re directed to set up one task that is “specific, actionable and takes less than 30 minutes”. You then set the timer, and away you go. It’ll interrupt you at key points to tell you how much time you have left, and it’ll tell you when your time is up.

You can also break up tasks, and give descriptions to your objectives.

You can also break up tasks, and give descriptions to your objectives.

From that description, if you’re wondering what Vitamin-R does that the timer that’s on your phone doesn’t do, the answer is not much. You get to rate your focus after the timer has run down and add it to a log, but any app that’s purpose is to help you set out your time and overcome procrastination needs a little more basic functionality – an ability to create a bigger task and its component tasks might be a good start.

Set the timer going and it'll count down, alerting you at five minute intervals

Set the timer going and it’ll count down, alerting you at five minute intervals

It’s sad that the app is so poor, because playing with it and understanding how it works (requiring little peeling of few layers) just shows what an app built to help people focus could do with a few more features. How about stopping the user checking Facebook or getting WhatsApp messages during a 10-minute period? How about not barking the time left at the user while in the middle of a sentence? How about being anything more than a re-skinned countdown clock? These are all simple, fundamental features that would have transformed Vitamin-R into something more useful.

Set the timer for how long you want to spend on your particular task

Set the timer for how long you want to spend on your particular task

That’s without mentioning that setting the task up, easy as it is, takes a little more effort that writing a to-do list. If anything, using Vitamin-R makes you use more time less wisely than if you just knuckled down and got on with what you need to do. You could even turn off your phone when you needed to get tasks done. The original iPhone adverts claimed “there’s an app for that”, but Vitamin-R is one of the few cases where that doesn’t need to be true, and if it is, there will be better options than this.

Price: $4.99/£2.99
Size: 2.9 MB
Version: 1.0.2
Developer: publicspace.net

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Vitamin-R Review: Not as useful as it claims
A good idea let down by poor execution, a lack of features, and more likely to increase your workload rather than helping you manage it.
For
  • Design is pleasant enough
  • Simple to operate
Against
  • Little in the way of features
  • The time updates are distracting
  • Does little the iPhone timer can't
1.8Overall Score