A timer can offset the negative emotional implications of any task.
This is Day 8 of our 31 Ways to Get More Done series. To read all the posts in order, visit the introduction post to see the outline for the whole series.
If you overestimate, underestimate, or lose track of time, you need to use a timer. (This is my favorite timer.)
There are three main times when I use a timer:
- when I’m easily distracted
- performing a task I don’t enjoy
- performing tasks that I do enjoy
When You’re Easily Distracted
I use the timer when doing the laundry to keep me focused until I finish. My laundry room is off of the kitchen and unless I’m cooking or cleaning the kitchen, I’m not really aware of what’s going on in the laundry room. I find that using a timer while washing, drying, and folding loads back to back, I’m being the most efficient with my time and can get more laundry done. If I don’t set the timer I may forget that laundry is in the washer or dryer which causes me more headaches in the long run.
When You Don’t Want to Do It
I use a timer when I’m cleaning my four year old daughter’s room. I always get overwhelmed when she’s pulled out all of her toys into the middle of the floor. It seems so overwhelming to get started, let alone finish. But when I think back to times when I have finished it, I remember that it only takes about 45 minutes. So, I set my timer for 45 minutes. When the time is up, I have the freedom to walk away. When washing dishes or working on a project, using a timer makes me realize that it’s not that hard or didn’t take as long as I had thought.
When You Might Spend Too Much Time
If I were watching an hour long TV show I recorded, without commercials, it would take about 40 minutes. I like to know this because then I’m not just “watching TV,” in general – I’m watching one show.
I also will set a timer when I’m posting social media updates to my fan page or working on a project that I could easily get lost in.
Parkinson’s law says “work expands to fill the time allowed.” We all know that you could clean, blog, or get into any project for a full day, but that doesn’t mean that’s the best use of your time.
So I use a timer to hold myself accountable, limit the amount of time I’m spending on a task, and stay focused.
Using a timer helps me to get more done overall.
Timer Resources (affiliate links):
This is my favorite timer.
15 Minute Power Plays With Your Kids: How To Be A Better Parent In 15 Minutes A Day
Additional Ways to Manage Your Time:
How to Get More Done Using a Timer
How do you set aside a specific amount of time to work on tasks?
Read other posts in the 31 Ways to Get More Done series.
Original Photo Credit via Creative Commons License – William Warby & Pascal
Nan a.k.a Granny Fabulosa says
Great tip. Especially for the “don’t enjoy” parts!
Kristy as Giftie Etcetera says
I use a timer all the time to motivate, but it never occurred to me to use it to limit my time doing something. Brilliant!
Hmmm. I think timer’s what’s been missing in my every day life for so long. 😀
Great idea. I’m gonna try this tomorrow.
Abbi | Successful Freelance Mom says
I am SUCH a fan of timers. I’ve also found that a time audit is an amazing tool!