How Setting a Timer Helps You Get Work Done

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique that’s popular in productivity circles, and is the core feature to many apps that help you get work done. It’s very useful for people working on creative side projects too, because many people have trouble getting started after a long day of work or school.

In the late 1980s, Francesco Cirillo wrote about using a pomodoro timer, which is basically a kitchen timer, to get started in doing your work. You set it for an interval such as 10-20 minutes, and work as fast you can to finish a task in that amount of time. He even liked the clicking sound that it makes to remind him that he’s on the clock.

Another useful timer is the 2-minute rule, which is discussed in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. In this one, he discusses how it takes about two minutes or less to do the task that sets you up for getting your work done. So for example it should take about two minutes to pull out the most essential gear for your creative practise, like taking the guitar out of its case, or the setting up your easel to do some painting. 

I was talking to a friend this weekend who says that she puts on a few songs and starts working. She’ll try to get a few things done by the time that the songs have finished. 

So when you’re in a rut and having trouble getting started on a certain task, just set a timer or put on some music, and get going on it. 

Read more about The Pomodoro Technique.

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