You can get more done with a productivity timer.
If you’ve been struggling with procrastination or time management issues, a productivity timer can help you get back on track.
With so many distractions competing for our attention these days, a simple tool like a productivity timer harnesses your focus and energy. There’s something about knowing that you only have a limited time to accomplish something, that puts a little fire underneath you. Your competitive spirit emerges and you’re able to do so much more than you had anticipated.
A productivity timer is also useful for monitoring your time and measuring your progress. Whether you’re looking to track the hours of your freelancing business or measuring the length of your fitness workouts, a productivity timer lets you know exactly where your time is going.
And if you’ve been avoiding certain tasks because of perfectionist tendencies or a fear of failure, a productivity timer can help you combat those feelings and do the work.
As for the types of productivity timers out there, here are some great options that would meet a variety of needs.
Hourglass. Not only is a classic hourglass pretty to look at, but it will keep you focused on the task at hand. An hourglass would be a great productivity timer for doing writing sprints, research, illustrations, and other desk work.
Kitchen timer. A kitchen timer is perfect for cleaning, organizing, and decluttering tasks. You could have music or the vacuum going on in the background and you would still hear the sound of the productivity timer going off.
Phone timer. Your phone’s timer is another good option. Just make sure to keep it on airplane or focus mode to disable notifications and to avoid going online.
Let’s look at all the different ways that you can use a productivity timer to accomplish your work and manage your time like a pro
Productivity timer idea #1: Do a productivity sprint
Are you dragging your heels on a goal or task? Use a productivity timer to jumpstart your work.
Maybe you want to write a novel but you’re afraid that the pages will be bad. Or you want to declutter your closet but you’re overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.
Make the task more approachable by doing a productivity sprint. The trick is to do as much as you can within the allotted time.
Here’s how to do it:
Set a productivity timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. The beauty of a productivity sprint is that you don’t need all day to do it. Start off in small increments and see how much you can accomplish.
Select the task that you want to do. So if you’re doing a writing sprint, set your timer for 15 minutes and write as much as you can. If you’re doing a cleaning sprint, select the task or space that you want to work on. Declutter your closet for fifteen minutes. Or organize the entryway for two minutes.
If the timer goes off and you still have energy, then do another sequence.
To keep yourself motivated, make sure to record your work in a planner. So if you’re doing a writing sprint, write down the number of words or pages you wrote. If you’re doing a cleaning sprint, keep track of the rooms and spaces you cleaned.
Productivity timer idea #2 : Conduct a time audit
A time audit might sound intimidating but it’s actually a very simple and eye-opening exercise to see how you’re spending your time. This is super helpful information if you’re a freelancer or have an appointment based job or if you’re just trying to manage your time better.
A time audit will help you adjust your expectations and create a schedule that works best for you.
Here’s how to do it:
Keep track of your time over the course of several days. This will give you a more accurate picture of your time as well as a comprehensive view of how you spend the day.
Provide a time estimate of your routine tasks, work assignments, and miscellaneous activities like watching TV or browsing online.
Use your productivity timer to measure routine tasks or work that you do frequently. For example: your morning routine, freelance writing assignments, making dinner.
Compare your time estimates with the actual time it took. What tasks took longer than expected? What tasks took less time than you had estimated? What surprised you?
With the information gleaned, make adjustments to your schedule and routines as necessary. For example, maybe you want to reduce your screen time in the evening. Or maybe you want to make more time for brainstorming and creative activities.
Productivity timer idea #3: Develop a fitness routine
A productivity timer can help you achieve your fitness goals and keep track of your progress.
You can use a productivity timer to do timed exercises such as interval training, in which you do a high intensity exercise like jump roping or burpees, followed by a recovery period.
You can also use a productivity timer to time your reps, such as bicep curls, leg curls, sit-ups, etc.
Here’s how to do it:
Select an interval training or workout to do. (You can find lots of great options here.)
Use your timer to monitor your workout routine and to alert you to finish the exercise or rep, and move onto the next one.
Make sure to log your workout in your fitness planner so that you know how you’re progressing over time. Record data such as the exercises you did, the duration, number of reps, etc. You can also take note of any challenges you experienced, like feeling fatigued or unmotivated–this will help you find solutions for next time. Maybe the fatigue was attributed to dehydration or hunger, and you’ll make an extra effort to drink more water or eat an energizing snack for your next workout.
Learning how to manage your time and create a productive schedule is a learning process. Through trial and error you’ll find a routine or schedule that works with your habits and preferences. Remember that the idea isn’t to be 100 percent productive all the time. But to be a little better than you were before.
A productivity timer is a simple but mighty tool that will help you create more successful days.
Written by JiJi Lee.