Find out How Timers Will Help You Stay More Productive and Achieve More Focused Work
If you’re like me and trying to be the best you can be, you probably feel like there’s never enough time to do everything you want to do. I’ve tried all kinds of ways and methods to get more things done, to find more motivation; goal setting, time management, and project management, among many others. In the last few months, though, I’ve tried something new and so far it works really well for me.
A method more flexible than schedulers
For a while now I have been using a free customizable online interval timer (see links below) to help me keep focused on my work throughout the day and ensure I don’t use up all my time on a single task. Also, because a lot of my work is done while sitting down, the use of timers helps to remind me to stand up once in a while.
One thing I’ve noticed from not having a set schedule, is that although I may be working on an important task, I sometimes get caught up in things(like a painting I’m working on) and end up working on only a few tasks rather than all the tasks I had scheduled for the day. The same thing happens when I decide to take a break and play games or watch videos. Since I am lacking a time machine to turn back the clock and recoup some of that lost time, I found another way to help me stay focused.
How it works
The whole process is actually pretty simple. Here's how I do it:
Sit down – 00:35:00 (35 minutes)
20-20-20 rule – 00:00:25 (25 seconds)
Get up! – 00:15:00 (15 minutes)
I set up a looping interval timer with 3 items. I usually start my day with focused work sitting down for 35 minutes, and then before standing up, I use the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain from monitors (it consists of looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes or so). After this, I get up and do tasks that I can do while standing (it helps to have a list of things that can be done while standing, so you don’t have to think about what to do next). This method forces or reminds me to focus on different types of tasks throughout the day.
This timer repeats endlessly until I finish my day.
Don’t let yourself be a slave to the timer
Some people use calendars and schedule their time to the minute. It may work for you, but it never did for me. If you feel like you need a few more minutes to finish a task, or if you finish a task before the timer ends, don’t feel like you HAVE to switch or HAVE to wait for the timer to end to move on to the next task. This is a tool, and it is there to help you, to guide you throughout your day. Just be mindful not to stay on a single task too long or you risk not finishing the rest of your tasks. Also, health-wise, it’s never a good idea to stay sitting OR standing for long periods which is why a convertible sit-stand desk, or two desks—one for sitting and one for standing—is a better way to go in the long run.
Where to find timers
The timer I use is Interval timer from online-stopwatch.com (not a sponsor). It is quite customizable; you can display it in full screen mode, you can use one of several sounds for the end of your timers, you can save your timers (it gives you a unique link that you can bookmark). It’s totally free and available in several languages. I find it super helpful and you should definitely check it out.
If you’d prefer something for your phone or tablet, although you could still use the same timer I did, there is an app I found for Android which can do something similar called Exercise Timer. You can find it on the Google Play Store. For Apple users, I’m not sure exactly what to suggest, but I hear good things about Seconds - Interval Timer for HIIT & Tabata available for both IOS and Android.
Do you use a different timer that you’d like to share? Do you have ideas to make this method even more powerful and useful? Leave your comments below. Did you find this blog post useful? Be kind and share it on your social media platforms of choice!