Timeboxing with Keyboard Maestro

For years now I’ve been searching for the perfect timeboxing app for the Mac.

I’ve gone through about 30 or so but not one of them delivers what I want.

I began doing another search today and someone on Quora mentioned that Keyboard Maestro might be able to achieve this. I’m wondering whether anyone can help me or at least tell me whether it’s possible.

All I want to do is carve up my day into tasks. I focus on a lot of projects at once and I often become absorbed and/or distracted I need to be reminded of the task at hand and when it’s time to move on to the next one.

So, in the morning, I want to select a bunch of tasks (perhaps from ones I’ve used in the past)
• Then select the timings for each (ideally) So half an hour on guitar practice, an hour on a short story, half an hour replying to email, 20 minutes to watch a ted talk, an hour on my website etc etc.
• Then I want to start the timer. In the menubar I want it to tell me the task I’m currently working on and how much time is left.
• When the time is up I want a notification that gives me the option of moving onto the next task or adding an extra fifteen minutes on to the task that I want to finish.

That’s all. Is this possible? Not one of the timers I’ve tried do all of the above. Mostly they just count up (not down) or just tell me the time is up without giving me the option of adding more time onto the current task.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Other than “in the menu bar”, that is all possible.

Rather than in the menu bar, I would use a small floating Custom HTML Prompt window.

Other than that, it’s all possible. It wouldn’t be trivial to write. I’d be tempted to drive the whole thing from the Custom HTML Prompt window, so that would be the only code running. Then you can use JavaScript to sequence the events and the timing would be accurate. Alternatively, you could do it from a single macro that kept running and paused for periods of time, but that would be CPU intensive, and if the macro was canceled for any reason, then the sequence would be lost. Another method would be to use 5 minute blocks, and have a macro that triggered every five minutes that checked the status and updated/notified as necessary.

It wouldn’t be a trivial macro/JavaScript to write, but it wouldn’t be overly difficult either.

There are a couple of decent 3rd party options for displaying stuff in the menu bar.

AnyBar (freeware)

TextBar (shareware)


Thanks guys! I might try my hand at javascript. Or perhaps something like “Alfred” would help me (not being a coder)

Hi Chris,

Not sure if you really intended to leave a macUpdate link to TextBar there ?

The TextBar site is: http://richsomerfield.com/apps/textbar/

and the AnyBar Github repository is at: https://github.com/tonsky/AnyBar