If you’re a regular visitor to Unclutterer, you know I have a strange obsession with timers. I’m someone who has a meandering mind and am easily distracted. I’ve been tested for ADHD, and I don’t have it. Therefore, I think the technical term for my concentration issues is normal human. Like most people, I would rather do or think about something fun instead of my not-so-fun responsibilities. Thankfully, there are timers to help you (and me) stay focused and complete tasks — specifically the not-so-fun ones and the ones that have to get done — in reasonable amounts of time.
I use a timer when writing to keep me from wandering around the web. I use a timer when doing chores around the house to see how much I can accomplish in a set amount of time. I use a timer when practicing the piano to make sure I get a good 30 minutes in every day. I use a timer when I’m at the gym, running on the treadmill. I also use a timer when I’m goofing off during work hours, to make sure I’m merely taking a break from my work and not wasting an entire afternoon.
My favorite timer right now is the Time Timer app for the iPhone. I think I paid $2 for it about a year ago. It is extremely convenient and simple to use, especially since my iPhone sits on my desk while I work. There are other screens and colors you can use, but these are the main ones I rely on the most:
I also use the timer on my microwave, the timer on the stove, and a stop watch from my days in middle school track (the thing is at least 25 years old and still going strong). If you use a Windows-based PC, I recommend checking out the XNote Stopwatch program that will even import directly to Excel for time tracking work and calls for client billing.
We recently started using an 8″ Time Timer with audible alerts clock for our son who is young enough that he doesn’t fully comprehend time yet. (The timer, made by the same people as the iPhone app, also comes in 3″ and 12″ versions.) We’ve been using it for things like when we tell him he has five more minutes to play with his cars before dinner.
Do you use timers throughout your day to help you stay on track and be more productive? Do you ever race the clock to see if you can get your daily chores finished in less than 30 minutes? What timers do you use and which are your favorites? Share your advice in the comments.
And, as always, none of the companies paid us or rewarded us in any way to write about their products. We just really like them.