The timer is a powerful tool of productivity. I’m telling you, it’s almost magic. I’ve talked about the power of timers before, but I’m taking another run at it for two reasons.
First, timers have gotten more sophisticated recently. I work on a standard PC style laptop that runs whatever the latest version of Windows is, and I noticed a new feature in the clock app after a recent update. There’s now a thing called “focus sessions” in the software . . . and it’s amazing!
Focus sessions let you:
- set the specific amount of time for your deep work sessions
- plan breaks
- keep track of the days you use the feature (your “streak”)
If you want to get crazy, you can even link it to your Spotify app to incorporate some brown noise or otherwise wordless music that aids in concentration. But the big thing about focus sessions is that it counts your streaks. You might be surprised how much motivation you can draw from the simple prospect of keeping a streak alive.
So, check the clock app on your computer. There’s a good chance you have some version of a “focus session” feature.
But even if you don’t have this new, more sophisticated variation of the old egg timer, the old school method works really good too (you could always put a tick mark on the calendar for every day you do your work, as scheduled).
Which leads me to the second reason why I know timers are effective. Because my wife started using them!
She’s teaching our son Mandarin, and the recent addition of the timer to their lessons has been something of a game changer. The sessions used to drag on much longer than was productive, but now they work within a 30 minute window.
It’s a win for everyone. The kid finds it easier to stay on point because he knows how much time he has left. So he tends to learn more. And best of all, there’s very little risk that their language lessons will descend into quarreling at the end. It’s like the bell ringing in school. When it’s over, it’s over.
Give timers a try. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll help you up your productivity game.