You wouldn’t think something as simple as a timer could revolutionize the way you work.  But when I discovered Flylady.net about 10 years ago, the timer was the single most useful thing I picked up from her highly useful system.

Now I’m not much of a last minute person, so I thought using a timer might make me more stressed.  I gave it a shot, however, and I was pleased with the results.  Here are some of the benefits of using a timer.

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You can mark a big accomplishment in a short time

Flylady suggests setting a timer for 15 minutes every time you do a task, saying “you can do anything for 15 minutes”.  The idea is even the worst jobs don’t seem so bad if you’re only doing them for 15 minutes.  I’ve applied this to just about everything.  When it comes to writing, it helps to set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes for “raw” output.  (You can’t go back and reread or edit until the timer goes).

It forces you to take regular breaks

Working for undefined periods of time can burn out a workaholic or a hyper focuser .  Taking a minute for a green break every 15 minutes can increase your productivity by renewing your mind.

It keeps you on task

Knowing that the timer is going to go in 15 minutes helps me to keep my brain focused on what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

It helps keep your day balanced

Breaking up your time into assigned portions will help make sure you touch on all the various things you need to do, rather than spending all your time on one.  For me, I spend some time cleaning, some time blogging, some writing, and some editing.

It gives you a clear achievement point

When the timer goes, you can take that moment to reward yourself.   For me, it’s a crossword or a chocolate egg (shh, don’t tell!)

Of course, you don’t have to be super rigid about this.  But try it and see how much it can help you. 🙂

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