Timers: A Simple Key to Productivity

You’d be surprised how a timer can help you relax and work hard.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Here’s what timers do for me as someone who struggles with ADHD:

Timers have my back. There is nothing worse than realizing you’ve been spinning wheels for hours, weeks, even months, if not years.

Timers help me feel protected because timers don’t allow us to fall down into the rabbit hole where we are distracted by “gotta do this” and “gotta do that” and “let me just click this” and then “this”.

When the timer chimes in, it tells you to come up for air and take a break.

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Photo by Mael BALLAND on Unsplash

Timers help you be more productive. When I set a timer, I feel as if I can kick my ADHD mind to the backseat so I can drive. For twenty minutes, I get to decide what I focus on and do so with intention, clarity, and awareness.

When I don’t set a timer, and sometimes I don’t, I feel nervous and out of control, not good for a mind prone to distractions. I tell myself I can handle it, but it never works. (In fact, I just reset my timer. It wasn’t when I started writing. Phew.)

Timers give you structure. Think about it. If you follow the Pomodoro Technique (PT), you have a structured period of time. Those with ADHD usually need that.

The PT method is blocking periods of time with short breaks in between followed by a longer break after the initial two or three time blocks.

For instance, I’ll set a timer for twenty minutes, work, and then stretch for three minutes.

After another twenty minute sesh, I’ll take another three minute break to grab a drink, go to the bathroom, whatever I need to do.

After the third twenty minutes, I’ll take a thirty minutes for lunch, a walk, flip through Facebook at my peril. That’s how I do it.

As with any advice, make adjustments so that it works best for you. The point is to set a timer, relax, work hard, and chill.

And what do you know. My timer just went off. Perfect.

How do timers help you?

Published in The Boston Globe Magazine; Trying to figure it all out by expressing ideas, fears, hopes, and dreams; I have a dog, a very influential dog. Very.

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