Email. Twitter. Slack. Work. Email. Twitter. Slack. Work. Repeat for 10 hours, maybe throw in a few Facebooks and a sad desk salad, and you’ve just diagrammed the modern distracted workflow.
There must be a more productive way. And the team behind Saent thinks they’ve charted it. The product is a Bluetooth-connected mute button. It sits on your desk. You push it. And it deactivates distracting apps for a preset period of time, allowing you to tune out internet noise and get focused.
For anyone familiar with the Pomodoro Technique—a time management theory that says you should work in 25-minute bursts with structured, five-minute breaks—Saent will sound familiar. But the device, designed by the former lead designer at Lenovo, offers a few benefits over the Pomodoro’s simplistic tomato timers. For one, Saent is fully programmable, with backend software that makes it easy to pick the apps you’d like to mute, alter your sprint periods, and track your habits. That software is also going to be smart enough to recognize that a message from your boss probably shouldn’t be muted, and allow some notifications to break your concentration. Use it long enough—with or without the physical button—and it should learn how best to keep you in line yet out of trouble.
But beyond just muting the digital world out, there’s something to a big button that sits on your desk. You literally tap it, like a Staples Easy Button, to commit to the job. As you work, an LED progress bar counts down the remaining minutes. It’s a monotasking bit of industrial design that, through its effortless activation, removes the slightest bit of UI friction that could stop you from getting to work.
Saent is actually filled with all sorts of other features, too. In their Indiegogo campaign, the team teased touchpad-like capabilities, with multi-finger swipes to swap apps. "These will enable time-saving shortcuts to existing productivity apps (for example, swipe to open your calendar, or double tap to mark a task as complete)," writes co-founder Tim Metz over email. Online scoreboards will allow you to compete with your workaholic friends in productive binge fests, and if Mentz has his way, it’s just the beginning. "We plan to open Saent to third-party developers to create these types of integrations," he adds.
No doubt, all these features could seem like a way to add value to a product that end up a frivolous peripheral that doesn’t deserve a spot on your desk. But they forget why Saent is so appealing in the first place: it's not what Saent adds to your workflow; it's what it takes away.
Saent is available for pre-order now in two-packs that run $75.