When I was in college, and our apartment got very messy, my four roommates and I would occasionally call a “mad minute”. We would set a timer and blast some music, then run around putting things away. Being five girls that felt we had better things to do than keep our apartment clean, this was an effective and painless way to make it presentable. With a timer set, we knew the cleaning up session had a definite ending, and therefore we were all willing to jump right into the task.
Decades later, I’ve rediscovered the power of a simple timer. As we all know, starting something is often the hardest part. It takes our brains anywhere from five to twenty minutes to be fully immersed in a task. Up until then, it’s a bit of a struggle; we’re resisting, our minds are elsewhere, and if feels a bit like slogging through mud- thick, heavy, and not very enjoyable.
Several minutes into the task though, we are fully engaged, in the flow, and unaware of time passing.
I bought myself a timer that I keep on my writing desk. When I am resistant to sitting down to write, or more often these days to edit, I use the timer. I just have to do it until the sand runs through. When time is up, I’m free to go.
What usually happens is that once the time is up, I am fully into the process and don’t want to stop right then.
But I could stop, because time is up. Knowing this is what gets me started.
The timer can be used for almost any task: cleaning up, going through paperwork, writing, studying, or exercising. I’ve even seen timers for kids’ teeth brushing. They are two minute timers shaped like little teeth with smiley faces . Clever!
I ordered my timer on amazon.com where there are a multitude of timers that range from $5 to $50. They come in all colors, and there are vintage styles, cherry finish, hand-blown glass, crystal and benzaro metal timers. You can find a timer from one minute to an hour. I chose a thirty minute one.
It is fun to pick one out that serves your style and needs. Or maybe it’s just me. I have a thing for timers. What else takes up such little space, looks appealing, and can pack such a punch in the time management area of life?
What ever it is you don’t feel like doing, just do it.
Better yet, time it.