Let’s see a show of hands: How many of you find yourself getting more done when you’re up against the wire on a deadline? *raises hand*
The sense of a ticking clock, peeling away the minutes you have left to get your stuff done is an incredible motivator. Writers use timers all the time for “sprints” where we blaze through and get the words down. I use a timer at home for working, cleaning, and even napping.
For example, today, I am plotting a new book, writing this blog post, then I need to do some laundry lest my people wander the world in unclean duds, give the kitchen a once-over, and get ready for a meeting. Not to mention the everyday things like email and phone calls and social media and texts.
So… when I am at my desk writing and plotting, I use the pomodoro method, where you work for 25 minutes and take a five minute break. When I’m cleaning, I set my timer for 15 minutes and give myself permission to move on to a different chore when the timer goes off.
We’re all working under a great cosmic timer… that universal clock that’s ticking away the moments we have left here on earth. But that’s too huge for us to grasp or be motivated by. So when you use a timer, set it for small blocks. You give yourself a check in the win column each time your timer goes off and you reset it to start again.
I can do anything for fifteen minutes–and I bet you can too. You’d be a amazed how much you can squeeze into a fifteen or twenty-five minute block when you set a timer. You might also be surprised at how easy it is to focus when you know you only have to do it for a little while.
Do you employ a timer?