For YEARS I have had so many different goals and resolutions…de-clutter the house, start a regular exercise routine, regularly update my business book keeping…I never seem to stick with a schedule and I recently gave it some real thought. Why do I find it so challenging to do these things?
The answer came to me when I thought about my feelings and I realize that I dread these tasks because they seem overwhelming. Insurmountable. Too time-consuming. Too much work. BLAAAHHHHH. The results from these limiting beliefs was NO ACTION. No productivity. No changes.
Well, what could I do to make the tasks less overwhelming? Less time-consuming? Today do-able?
I decided to get a timer and it was a game-changer! Now, I didn’t get just ANY timer (I have my phone for that!). I got a TIME TIMER! THIS timer shows you how much time is passing in a visual way. For example, when I turn the dial to 10 minutes, the section of 10 minutes is colored RED. As the time counts down, the red also disappears with it. It’s simple yet powerful. (You can see the timer in the image with this blog post as an example)
When I want to declutter a room, I start with ONE drawer and set the timer to 20 minutes. I then go ahead and do what I can within that 20 minute window. Once the time is up, I can stop! This allows me to feel like I’m moving toward my goals without all the feelings of overwhelm and struggle. If I have not completed the drawer and I have more time, then perhaps I set the timer for 10 more minutes and finish up. OR, I simply leave it to the next day. Over the following days, weeks, and months I move through the room drawer-by-drawer and cabinet-by-cabinet using the timer to help me stay on task. It’s much easier to reach our goals when we have a flexible deadline.
With exercise, I am a beginner and have quit trying several times. Usually it’s because I do too much too fast and it becomes very punishing, painful, and a horrible experience. Now, I’m setting my timer to 10 minutes and doing high-intensity circuit training in that window. I figure that 40 minutes seems like torture, but I can handle 10 minutes of anything! AND starting out with small goals allows me to build up my strength over time as I am actually able to show up a little bit each day. 10 minutes is better than ZERO minutes (which is what I was doing before!). Before too long, I will build up to 15 minute windows and then 20 minute windows and so-forth.
Another great use is with helping the kids be productive in chores or with food. My kids struggle to eat their meals in a timely manner. They would sit for 3 hours if I let them (and still never eat much food!). Cue the timer! I simply set the timer for 30 minutes and set it nearby where they can watch it. There is NO annoying or stressful ticking noise to add stress. It simply shows the allotment of time available in an easy way. The kids can now see and control their use of their time because the timer makes it clear how much of it is left. The result? Food is eaten and there is more time for homework, fun activities, chores, and other tasks for the evening.
It’s ok to have lots of goals, but we need to have a way to make them attainable. We need to set ourselves up for realistic success. Breaking my goals down into small chunks and using the timer to keep me on task has been a huge help for my productivity. No more feelings of dread or overwhelm and I feel like I can attain ANYTHING (as long as I give myself enough TIME to make it happen in a real way!).
Here is a video where I discuss how the Time-Timer increases my productivity to achieve my goals: