Using Timers To Increase Productivity

Lately I've been using the timer on my Apple Watch a lot while working. I've toyed with timers before, but for the last two weeks I've made it a daily practice. It's helping me in a couple of ways that I wanted to share.

1. Timers are great to increase productivity. We all have a time-limit on how long we can be productive. Most people work well past that and get to the point where they are "busy," but not productive. Studies show that the max is 90 minutes, but everyone has a different max of their own. For me I know I can work straight for about 60 minutes without my mind wandering. I really prefer to break tasks up into 15-30 minute chunks though. That is where I find I get the most things checked off my list.

I had to play with this for a bit. I set different times and just tracked how I was doing. It took a few weeks, but it was well worth learning more about my own patterns. 

Using Timers To Increase Productivity

2. Timers are a great way to figure out how long it actually takes to complete a task. Most people severely overestimate the time they need to complete a task. It's natural to add a little cushion, especially if you're a person who doesn't like to be under the gun. 

I, on the other hand, gravely underestimate the time it takes me to complete a task. I say yes to everything without thinking about it and am pretty sure of my abilities - until I'm half way through a project! Oh you want me to re-do my entire website? Sure, give me 45 minutes! Nope.

When you set a timer you can get a feel for how long it's actually taking you. You'll know if you're giving yourself too much or too little time. This can be really eye-opening. Especially if you're telling yourself you don't have enough time to do this or that and surprised! You do. 

One of the keys here is not to rush through just to make a certain time. Work like your normally would and don't cut corners. This should be an accurate accounting of how long it takes you, not a contest. It doesn't matter if you need more or less time. What you're after here is an idea of how to manage your time better. 

Give this a try with your watch or a timer app on your computer or phone. I think you'll find it really helpful. Especially if you have a long to-do list and love checking things off!