If you are looking for just one tool to be more productive: use a timer. Timers are my favorite and most important tool for being more productive and efficient in completing my tasks.
How can a timer help you be more productive?
1.Keeps you focused.
When you set a timer or an alarm, it allows you to be focused on your task at hand. Try to shut off other distractions and focus. You don’t need to set the timer for 2 hours or more, set it for 20 minutes – especially if you are having a hard time getting motivated and focused. Your timer will be up in no time, and maybe you add another 20 minutes or call it a day. You have control over the timer, just don’t let it control you. Know your limits, and your flexibility with your time, especially if you have somewhere to be. Which leads to perhaps additionally setting an alarm. For me, on the Sundays, I teach a class in the middle of the afternoon. I know every Sunday that I have to leave at a certain time, but I also tend to be really productive at home those days. To avoid thinking about what time it is and when I need to leave, I have an alarm set on my phone for every Sunday for a little before I need to leave my house. It helps me stay focused.
2. Eases stress.
Setting a timer also eases stress. For all of the same reasons that it helps you focus, it takes away the stress of what you may need to do next or where you need to be. Set a timer to make a plan, setting the timer doesn’t always mean “do, do, do”, it can be an opportunity for you to spend 30 minutes looking at everything that needs to get done, and taking a moment to set priorities and deadlines. Beware that at the beginning it could add stress. One way to avoid that is to not stare at the timer as its ticking down, or continuously looking at the clock. We start to add this habit into our lives so we stop doing that and stressing about time. Don’t be afraid to set a timer to just take a break and relax either, especially in those days that you are overwhelmed.
3.Helps you to prioritize.
When you only have a limited time in your day for your “to-do,” you have to prioritize. If you don’t, then your list will be a constant stress. Even though it seems like you are getting things done, it’s not necessarily the most important, so you can get stressed out. When you start prioritizing your tasks and your time, you’ll notice the things that just never get done. Ask yourself: how important is that task if you keep putting it on the bottom of your list? Now, if it’s laundry, it has to be done even if you don’t want to do it, but if it’s something else, evaluate the importance of it, or if there is another way to accomplish it.
4. Holds yourself accountable.
When you start setting timers, or just being more mindful of your time, you’ll see what you actually spend your time on versus what you plan to spend your time on. Setting timers holds you accountable for getting the work done that you need to get done. It can help establish clearer deadlines and even allow you to work more efficiently. If you only have a limited time, you have to have a plan, especially those bigger projects, setting a timer and making a plan helps you be accountable to your progress and what is taking more time.
Try setting a timer, see what happens!