I wrote my book about self discipline and overcoming procrastination and there’s one thing I should probably add to the procrastination chapter – it’s this nifty simple $2 timer.
Over the last 6 weeks or so, I have been trying to work more towards the Pomodoro timer method.
I talk about this in the book and I’ve recorded a specific productivity audio based on the Pomodoro timer theory here.
The Pomodoro technique gets you to work on one single task for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat. Once you have completed four Pomodoros, you take a longer 30 minute break and so on.
I love this method and when I am disciplined enough to implement it into my working day it really does speed up my productivity, eradicate procrastination and help me achieve more.
I have been using a Pomodoro timer on my desktop or phone to keep me on track. I’ve occasionally used my own productivity focus audio but listening to myself is well, awkward and a bit creepy! Great for everyone else but not so great for me.
So the Pomodoro timer on my phone for desktop does the trick but I’ve never ever able to be truly focused for a whole round of four Pomodoros. Something always breaks my focus and I’ve realised it is usually from going to my phone to check the time. I also noticed I tend to stop or pause the Pomodoro timer on my desktop a lot.
Going Back to Basics – The $2 Gadget
So I decided I was going to go back to basics.
The whole Pomodoro timer concept was inspired by a simple kitchen timer. Remember those tomato timers you used to see in your Nan’s kitchen in the 1980s? Well, they really are the absolute key to not being able to cheat or beat the digital Pomodoro timers.
I purchased an original tomato timer for around £5 on Amazon but sadly a little too much heavy handing (or was it my kid messing with it in my absence) well it failed on me after a couple of weeks.
I noticed in my local Home Bargains discount store that they sell these simple grey stylish egg timers (which would look a lot better in my home office anyway) for only £1.79! Bargain.
So I grabbed a replacement (not before setting all the timers to go off at different times in the shop… yes I know I’m a complete child!).
I use this egg every day, multiple times a day. It is something so simple yet so effective.
Reasons why I love it over the digital option;
1) It ticks! Like an annoying tick tick tick it is very audible. However I like that. I like the pace of the ticking and I think it makes me work quicker. I am someone who works in silence with no distractions so the constant beat keeps me feeling focused.
2) You can’t override it. Because it is analogue, you can’t ‘fast forward’ it or pause it. So it keeps ticking and it makes you think “Arghhhh I need to carry on”
3) The bell is super loud. Once that bells goes the time is up. I like to be in a personal competition with the bell. It makes me feel great when I see what I have achieved ahead of the bell.
4) I use it for cleaning. When I really can’t be bothered and I have no motivation for household chores I set the egg timer for 30 or 60 minutes, put on my wireless headphones, listen to a podcast and see what I can achieve in hat time. The end bell is loud enough to be heard over the audio in my headphones and again, it’s a great way to see what I can achieve in 60 mins or less.
5) It helps with my kid! Seriously! I’ve started putting the timer on in a morning to speed him up getting dressed and ready for school. As an 8 year old, he has no concept of time really but seeing how long is left and hearing the ticking has deffo kicked him into shape in a morning.
6) I’ve used it to time myself using social media. We all get distracted by the lure of likes and constant scrolling endless updates don’t we? I try and set an egg timer to 20 mins when I’m having my morning coffee. I shouldn’t need any longer than 20 mins to comment on comments or check emails or see what’s happening with my clients. Any longer than that in a morning is a waste of my life so the egg timer keeps me on track and ensures I get going a lot quicker with my work in a morning. I then use my 5 minute Pomodoro breaks when working to catch up on notifications.
7) I’ve used it as a crying/feeling sad timer. This is funny and works. Have you ever been so worked up or so sad that you just want to cry? I’m a big believer in letting out all of your feelings and not keeping them inside. Instead of feeling mopey and crap for days, set yourself a crying/sad timer. This might be 5 mins, 10 mins or an hour. Set the timer and ALLOW yourself to feel sad or angry or just have one of those massive snot filled crying sessions. When I set a timer like this, it always ends up in me laughing at myself at the ridiculous-ness of all this. I quickly start to shift my mood. Not necessarily linked to productivity but if your mood is making you procrastinate then this could be a good little tip!
Grab your own little egg timer from any discount store (get a couple – they do break easy) and see what you can achieve before the buzzer goes off.
It’s a simple and cheap way to try and achieve more in the time you have available.
Don’t forget – try and turn off all notifications, incoming email alerts and all distractions when working this way to ensure maximum productivity.