Using a Timer to Boost Productivity

Do you feel like you never get anything done? Try my tip for using a timer to boost your productivity.

Last week I made a list of all the work I need to get done for The Planning Woman over the course of this month. By the time I was done, I had a list of over 40 tasks I really need to complete. And they aren’t just one step tasks, they are more like multi-step projects.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed once I made the list.

Have you ever been in this situation?

Once I talked myself out of wanting to throw the list away, I remembered one of my all-time favorite tools for getting my work done without feeling overwhelmed…

Using a timer!

I have found that if I set a timer for 20 minutes, I can usually accomplish a lot. It’s amazing what I can get done if I focus all of my energy on one task for a short amount of time.

Setting a timer also helps to eliminate distractions. Think about it. How often do you set out to do something and then think “Oh, let me just check my email for a minute.” or “I’ll just hop on social media real quick to see what’s going on.” and then you realize an hour has flown by because you’ve gotten distracted by answering emails or reading through social media posts?

It happens to me way too often!

Using a timer can also help when you have small pockets of time available throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but when I find myself finishing a task and have some time to spare before I need to go somewhere or start something new, I end up wasting that time.

You can make the most of the time that would normally be wasted by setting a timer for 20 minutes. You can redeem the time and see positive results that can boost your mood and increase your motivation for getting other things done.

Here are some ways you can use a timer to help boost your productivity and get rid of the overwhelm.

Organizing projects

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes and go through one drawer in your house. Take everything out and quickly pull out items you no longer want or need. Set aside items that need to be housed elsewhere, wipe the inside of the drawer out, and put items back in the drawer in an organized fashion.
  • No time to do a major overhaul of your closet? Set a timer for 20 minutes and work on one section. When the timer goes off, put things back in order, and move on to the next item on your to-do list.
  • Are your kitchen cabinets or pantry bursting at the seams? Set a time for 20 minutes and clean out expired food and other items you no longer want or need.


  • Want to clean all your bathrooms but don’t have time to get to them all in one day? Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how quickly you can clean. Focus your efforts on the countertops, sinks, and toilets. Leave the bathtubs/showers and floors for another cleaning session.
  • Windows in a home get dirty so quickly. But who has time to clean all of their windows at one time? Set a timer for 20 minutes and focus on windows in one or two rooms of your home. Continue this process over the next few weeks in 20-minute sprints until they are all clean.
  • Do you lack motivation when it comes to cleaning your house? Set a timer for 20 minutes and focus on dusting and vacuuming.


  • Do you ever feel like you just don’t have the time to read or relax? Set a timer for 20 minutes and allow yourself that downtime to rejuvenate and refresh your mind.
  • Do you have a hobby you like to pursue? Or do you have unfinished craft projects laying around? Set a timer for 20 minutes and use that time to work on your hobby or finish your craft projects.
  • Are you able to make time alone with God a priority in your day? While we never want to limit the work of the Holy Spirit or place limits on how much time we’ll spend with God, a great way to get comfortable spending time daily with Him is to set a timer. If you have children at home that potentially interrupt that time, you can let them know when they hear the timer go off they can get your attention. Until then, they should learn to do things quietly by themselves.

So you see, a timer can really make a difference. I challenge you to pick out one or two projects or tasks you’ve been putting off and see how much you can get done in 20 minutes.

I have found once I get going and see progress, then I’m more likely to finish the task or project.

However, if you don’t have more than 20 minutes to allow to complete a task, then you will still be able to get a lot accomplished.

Try it for yourself! Leave a comment below and let me know how it works for you.

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