Ahh . . . no matter how great you are at practicing time management strategies, sometimes even the most strategic individual falls into the deep, dark hole of procrastination.
Or, possibly you are overcome with the distraction of flying “shiny objects”!
Maybe you “lose” an hour on the computer updating your Facebook page.
Or, possibly you decide to check email for “just a moment” and 30 minutes later you are still responding to messages.
Or, you jump on the phone to have a quick conversation with a team member and 45 minutes later you are still discussing the latest and greatest sales strategies.
Or, the nice weather beckons, and you decide to take a quick 20 minute break, and an hour later you return to your office.
Or, you look at the clock, it’s noon, and you have no idea what you spent the last 4 hours working on.
Ok – no need to belabor the point – you get it, right?!
One of my favorite products when dealing with ALL of the above scenarios is Cool Timer (located at harmonyhollow.net). Cool Timer is a free downloadable timer which has three different settings – an alarm clock, a count up timer, and a count down timer. Also, this product has multiple visual clock faces and alarm sounds (just incase you are easily bored). I particularly like that the clock erases as the time lapses. A very helpful feature for visual learners.
I recommend using this product in a few different ways. First, if you want to build awareness around what you ARE doing through out the day, set the timer for 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Then, when the alarm goes off, you can take a moment to capture what activities you have been working on. This helps to solve the “it’s noon and I have no idea what I’ve been doing” challenge.
Secondly, to figure out how long it takes to actually complete tasks, you can set the stop watch. This really helps to shed light on how you actually spend your day – no more estimating “I only spent 10 minutes on Facebook”! Now you have actual data to use when making decisions.
Lastly, you can use Cool Timer to initiate action. Want to enjoy the weather for 20 minutes, or respond to email for 10 minutes, or have a 5 minute phone check-in? Set the timer, then when the alarm sounds, initiate your next task. It’s also helpful when you are “dreading” a task. You can set the timer for 15 minutes – and tell yourself, “I’ll just work on this task for 15 minutes – then move to something else.” Many times, working on the task for a short time creates the momentum needed to finish! (And if not – at least you are 15 minutes closer to finishing!)
The next time you find yourself sliding down into the pit of “nonproductivity” – download this program. Your task list will thank you! How can you use Cool Timer? What is your favorite image and sound? (I’m a fan of the flower!!) Share you successes and ideas in the comment section below!