a-to-z HEADER [2015] - april

I Love Timers!

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 homeĀ for working, cleaning, and even napping.

The Timer is the Most-Used App on my Phone.

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.

Using a Timer has Several Benefits:

  • It keeps you focused on your task
  • It helps you see the end of your work time
  • It helps you gain momentum

Time yourself Using Small Increments

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?


About the Author Corinne

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  1. Fun! So many A to Zers are doing time today, but I like your tweak on it. I’ve never used a timer for writing, but I can see the benefits. Laundry, for example, calls to me. It would be easier to put off if I knew I’d get to it in 25 minutes. Thanks for the idea! I’ve also read somewhere that one should work for no more than 45 minutes before taking a break, that the mind can only focus well for that long, and that productivity rises if one takes that approach.

    1. Good luck with your timer so your laundry doesn’t distract! You’ll have to let me know how that goes. :) I’ve read about the 45 minute limit as well. I think that is about right. It’s good to build breaks into your work.

    1. I don’t usually have the timer visible/audible while I’m working, that would make it hard for me to concentrate. I just put the pedal to the metal and wait for the bell! ;)

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