How to set a Timer – when you don’t know how much time you need!


It’s amazing how much more productive you can be with a visual timer. A motivational visual replaces the stressful time limit, and everyone can easily see how much time is left.

So how do you set a Timer when you don’t know how much time is left? 

Waiting at the doctor’s office, or working on a huge project, or starting something you’ve never done before – how do you set your Time Timer for those?


1. Set it for 10 minutes

Ten minutes is short enough to get you started and long enough to guarantee productivity. 

In 10 minutes, you can:

– Outline a project.
– Make a list.
– Push yourself through a new exercise.
– Wait a reasonable amount of time for a late appointment.
– Check Facebook while you wait.
– Call your Mom to say “I love you.” In fact, go do that now. Then read the rest of this blog!

2. Set it for 30 minutes

Many time management experts recommend working on each task for no more and no less than 30 minutes.

“Psychology plays a large part in time-management. It’s hard to get stressed in 30 minutes,” says

At Work – Break every project into 30-minute tasks. Work at least 30 minutes on every task.

Every task! Even checking your email. Check it for 30 minutes. Respond to every message in your inbox, follow up with details and look back for old email threads that may have fallen through the cracks. Send thank-you notes. Make that communication count!

It’s amazing how productive you can be – and how many distractions you can avoid – when you don’t start a project unless you’re prepared to invest 30 minutes.

At Home – 

Home should be your sanctuary. Stop yourself (and your children) after 30 minutes of “work” for a brain break. Motivate each other to spend 30 minutes on:

– Cleaning
– Homework (by subject)
– Play
– Dinner (clean your plate!)
– Bedtime routine (adults need one too)


3. Set by emotion

One of our favorites stories about the Time Timer came from a local father. His son is on the Autism Spectrum and is non-verbal. When the boy felt angry or frightened, father and son would talk to each other using the Time Timer.

First, the boy would turn the red disk to show how upset he felt – five minutes meant just a little frightened, 45 minutes meant big-time anger. Then, they started the Timer. As the minutes passed, the boy could see his time – and his anger – disappearing.

Try this boy’s terrific idea. Feeling frustrated about a project? Waiting endlessly in a waiting room? Use that tension to your advantage. Set the Time Timer to your frustration level. As time passes, glance at your Time Timer to remind yourself that this too will pass!

This tip works especially well on the go with the Time Timer apps – iPhone, iPad and Android

4. Beat the clock!

How long will it take to cook dinner? Re-tile the walkway? Sit through traffic?

Set a goal and beat the Timer!

How do you set your Time Timer when you’re not sure how much time you need? Please leave your comment below.

It’s taking forever!!
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