How Timers Boost Productivity

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Timers are key to productivity

Distractions happen about 11 minutes into a task. Putting on the timer for the set amount of time you want to work – I recommend about 10-25 minutes, 90 minutes if you are lucky – helps to stay accountable to the time. The timer allows us to draw out a clearer boundary around our time. It helps us honor our blocked time and allows us to say no to distractions, because phone calls, emails, screaming kids, and coworker questions can wait 10-25 minutes. Probably even longer, but I’m not pushing my luck. Also, the timer can help us time and track our tasks so that we can develop a more realistic schedule. Here are some of timers to use.

The phone timer

I don’t prefer phone timers because I know myself and I know I’ll get distracted by my phone. However, if you only have access to the timer app on the phone, then just go for it. Here’s how it might play out as still being a win. You use your phone and waste an hour because you got distracted, but ultimately remembered you were supposed to open the timer app. You quickly jump into action and get that task done. Now, consider that whether you took ten minutes to complete it or an hour and ten minutes to complete it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is that the task is done. And done is better than perfect.

The digital timer

I got these digital timers for my kids and myself. One at each desk. And a couple extra in case one or two goes missing underneath the couch or pile of toys. They are very basic start and stop timers with a magnet on the back. Mine doesn’t have a volume adjuster, so don’t use it in a common workspace or around sleeping babies.

The kitchen timer

The kitchen timer is really nice if you are looking for something more tactile. I have these, too. It’s oddly satisfying to turn it and hearing it tick away helps drown out the silence and reminds me to keep going on my task. These usually don’t have a volume adjuster either.

The hourglass timer

These hourglass sand timers are colorful and fun and SILENT. I like to use these for younger kids who can’t read numbers yet. They are a nice visual reminder to myself to stay focused and to the kids that I am still working.

Which one do you prefer? Share on twitter and tag me @betamomma!

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