On my desk, I have Time Timer. It’s my secret productivity strategy. In case you don’t have one, I highly recommend using one. I usually set the timer for 30 minutes every day to clean my house or to finish some work. The really cool thing about this timer is the red decrease as your time decreases. So it gets smaller and smaller and then eventually it just beeps when time is over. It also a great tool to help children understand time and time telling, schedules and school timetables. They can act as an aide in “time outs” and when waiting for a time or event (for example, when dinner is or when they can watch TV etc.). You can also buy it in App. Store.
But while working on my Mac, I sometimes forget about the time. Here is my inner monologue:
Okay, time to do some exercise. I’m really going to get up, drink water and run outside. Let me just sit down and drink one cup of coffee. I will check just news…interesting, interesting. But I don’t understand this term here… I should look it up on Wikipedia. Okay, got it. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to check my Gmail tab before I get back to news. Oh, Fillip sent me a Facebook message, let me just get on Facebook really quick and write him back. Hey, The Daily Beast put another article up. And I love it!!! I need another cup of coffee. I’ve got to check that out–I’ll just skim it really fast. That was good. I wonder if anything has happened on Facebook since I read the article, let me check that really quickly. And I guess it wouldn’t hurt to give the front page of New York Post a fast little scan, and then I’ll get back and will go outside for a run. Wow, this thread has links to a lot of interesting sites, I’m just going to click on a few…Wow, Net-a-Porter have sales!!!!
12:00 p.m. – I am still at home?????
Arrrrghhh! What happened?
Now I have another new system.
Dejal Time Out – free programme for your Mac. It works like this: there are 10 minute Normal Breaks which occurs once after 50 minutes; and Micro Breaks which lasts for 15 seconds every 10 minutes.
When it’s time to rest, Time Out will slowly dim your screen and its meditation logo will be brought to the foreground, along with a timer to show you how long your break will last. You can delay this break by postponing it by 5 to 10 minutes. Again, these times are totally configurable.
Time Out can also be set to play your iTunes when a break is taking place. Just make sure that the playlist is already set to something soothing because it only sends a Play command to iTunes. It will then pause iTunes when work time resumes.
Try Time Out to see how taking frequent breaks can actually improve your attention and productivity. Not to mention, it will also save your eyes, back and neck.
If you are running Windows, try Workrave which is similar type of application.
How do you cope with long hours at work? Are there any techniques you use besides taking breaks????