How to Use a Timer to Improve Small Business Productivity
Small business owners have many products to choose from for improving personal productivity. There are expensive time management systems, time management software packages, and a wide assortment of project management techniques. Rather than purchasing expensive products or investing hours into learning a new time management system, a small business owner can improve their productivity by using a simple timer to maintain focus when working on projects. Here’s how to use a timer to increase small business productivity:
Select the Timer
It doesn’t matter what type of timer will be used. Just choose whatever is most appropriate for the small business environment. For many small business owners, the timer of choice is one of the many free online timers. Others prefer to use a cell phone timer, a timer on a watch, or a portable digital timer.
Choose a Task or Project to Focus on for 25 Minutes
The ideal task will be one that is of high priority to the small business. It is not necessary to choose a task that can be completed during the 25-minute focus period, but it should be a task that does not involve waiting for answers or involve any other type of down time.
Gather the Project Management Materials
Round up all items and information necessary to work on the project during the focus period. For the most effective project time management session, all items should be placed within arm’s reach to avoid the need to move from the work space.
Eliminate All Distractions and Set the Timer
Close all computer windows and tabs that are not directly related to the project management session. Turn the ringer off on the phone, and notify all other people who are present that there are to be no interruptions for the timed period. Set the timer for 25 minutes.
Focus on the Project for 25 Minutes
Focus solely on the task or project for the duration of the 25-minute period. If for any reason the work is interrupted during this time, deal with the interruption or distraction and restart the timer for the full 25 minutes. Project time management in 25-minute periods is a challenge at first, but it becomes easier with continued practice.
Stop Working Immediately and Take a Five Minute Break
When the 25-minute focus period is up, stop working immediately, regardless of the project status. Get away from the work area for five minutes. Try doing something refreshing and invigorating to both mind and body such as stretching, drinking water, or stepping out for some fresh air.
Repeat the Cycle
Repeat this project time management cycle as desired. If doing several back-to-back timed periods, take a 15-30 break at the end of four timed periods or every two hours. Just as with the five-minute breaks, be sure to get away from the work area and do something completely different during the break period.
Continue using timed focus periods as part of an overall time management system for the small business and adjust the length of the timed periods and the type of project management tasks as desired. With continued practice, using a simple timer to improve focus yields impressive results for boosting small business productivity.
In some cases, you may want to look into productivity extensions for your internet browser. Both Firefox and Google Chrome have a wide selection of extensions and add-ons that fulfill a variety of purposes. A personal favorite is an extension that blocks all non-essential websites for 25 minutes, then allows you full access for 5 minutes. It is a very effective way of boosting your work productivity with just a simple browser add-on.