Much is said about time management. However the term has begun to apply to a wide variety of subjects ranging from list management, project management and even up to the idea of maintaining one’s personal energy. All these are important but we need to look at the term itself. Time management, if one looks at the actual words, means, actually, the management of time. It includes the management of the seconds, minutes and the hours of our day.
In this article I’m going to address a simple, inexpensive tool which is available everywhere which can do wonders in helping us actually manage time. This tool is the simple countdown timer. The proper use of this device can make major differences in the amount we get done during our days and in our lives and can increase our happiness and reduce our stress.
Here are 7 excellent reasons why all of us should be using a countdown timer:
1) Timers improve our awareness of time. A first rule in the successfully handling anything is to confront and become aware of it. Just as we get overweight in life by idle eating and not really paying attention to what we put in our mouths, we can also waste our precious time as though it is a limitless possession. A big reason diets work is that they cause us to pay attention to what we are eating. Our use of calories, of money, and of our time expand beyond what we need and what is healthy unless we become aware of how we use these commodities. We need to be aware of these things to control them. Use of a timer is the way to become aware of and to control time.
2) We accomplish our missions in life by breaking them into doable steps. Great success is achieved in stages, in degrees and in steps. Using a countdown timer helps us break time, an apparent continuous stream, into manageable parts. By looking at our actions this way, with the use of a countdown timers, we will increase our effectiveness immensely.
3) Just as a diet contains a firm decision not to exceed our caloric intake or fall shy of our agreed-upon exercise., a countdown timer, along with a personal agreement to play by the rules, will help keep us from straying from one task to another. Successful multitasking is a myth. We accomplish the most by doing things one at a time. The decision to use and to follow the countdown timer helps us to stick with our own decisions and helps us to maintain discipline in our use of time.
4) Countdown timers help us to see tasks as activities which consume time. Just like looking at the calories of the doughnut helps us determine if eating it is actually worth it, our estimating the amount of time a given activity will take helps us to decide when or if even do something. Timers impose a sort of order on our time. This order can go a long ways to reducing the stress of our lives.
5) Countdown timers help us to spot wasted time. Interruptions are really inevitable as we live our lives. These can get out of hand. The use of a timer allows us to get control over what we’re actually doing with our time. It is not unlike keeping a diary on your diet and noticing what you’re actually putting in your mouth. Same thing with a budget and money management. Using a timer puts focus on how we are using our time helps us to spot those wasted moments.
6) Using a timer allows us to understand the nature of action. All tasks, all actions that we do or take during the day are actually cycles of action. A cycle of action always has a start, a change, and a stop. This understanding can impose a an amazing amount of sanity into how we operate in our lives. A timer is an excellent way of emphasizing this basic truth of life.
7) A timer makes taking breaks a heck of a lot more fun and guilt free. When we set aside specific amount of time for breaks, we tend to do so without guilt and we tend to get the most out of these pleasure moments. Timers are great tools to use for loafing, for naps and other non-work activities that are important.
The use of timers is not a new concept. There is a time management technique called “The Pomodoro Technique” that has been used by many for decades. The specifics of this are beyond the scope of this article but a timer is a integral part. We find timers on our smart phones and we can purchase little countdown timers at RadioShack and Walmart.
Though a timer, used properly, will go far to improve the quality of our lives, the addition of a little bit of daily planning along with the use of a timer will multiply the usefulness of that timer at least tenfold.