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A timer is a specialized clock used for measuring specific time intervals. If you believe in time blocking1 (or time boxing) as a time management method, you will love timers, along with the calendar scheduling method.

Set a timer to work on a specific task for a predetermined time – helping break work into focused intervals, promoting better concentration, and preventing burnout. This technique is popularly known as the Pomodoro Technique2.

Timers have had their place in the kitchen for a long, long time. It can ensure that cooking and meal preparation are well-timed. Timing prevents overcooking, burning, and helps you manage your time efficiently when cooking multiple dishes.

Allocate a specific time for browsing social media or other distracting activities. When the timer goes off, it’s a signal to refocus on more important tasks. For instance, I do not want to get sucked into a Rabbit Hole3 while reading Hackernews. I like setting a timer of about 25 minutes per session to kick me out when the timer ends.

One of the most-used complications on my watch is the timer. I also like having a physical hourglass on my study table. The hourglass helps me with a Pomodoro-ish technique without that hard and loud stop alarms. It reminds me of the passage of the sands of time but gives me the freedom to break or push a tad more to finish the task at hand. I love having a few types of mechanical Kitchen Timers lying around.

It must be noted that you don’t have to be timing everything every time. Use a timer when you want to time a task to ensure it ends when it should.

  1. Control your schedule so it doesn’t control you. Time blocking (and its close cousins time boxing, task batching, and day theming) is a simple, yet effective way to take back control of your workday. 

  2. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a kitchen timer to break work into intervals, typically 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student. 

  3. Used especially in the phrase going down the rabbit hole or falling down the rabbit hole, a rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation. On the internet, a rabbit hole frequently refers to an extremely engrossing and time-consuming topic. 

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