Task Timing and Maintaining Focus

stopwatch.jpgSince I’ve been using the preview release of The Hit List (reviewed in my last post) I’ve been taking advantage of its built in task timer. My though was that I would keep track of how long I was spending on each task and get a sense of whether my time was being spent wisely. So far I haven’t done any analysis of where my time is going, nor have I changed my behavior based on what tasks I should be spending more or less time on. Even so, the task timer has been extremely useful because of an unforeseen benefit.

The timer keeps me on task.

Whenever I see the little timer window on my screen I know that there’s on thing I’m supposed to be doing now. If I let myself get caught up in distractions then I’ll be destroying the accuracy of the timer. Of course, I could just stop the timer, do something else, and then start it again (and I have done this) but the mere presence of the timer tends to keep me doing, and completing, one thing at a time. For me this is huge. I’m easily distracted and can easily allow one small task to stretch out over a whole day while I pay attention to something, anything, other than what I’m trying to accomplish.

You don’t need a piece of software to get this benefit; a simple egg timer on your desk and a note saying what you’re timing would accomplish the same thing. I’m sure there are other benefits to task timing (including the aforementioned long range tracking), but if all it did was keep me focused on one thing at a time it would be more than enough.

Leave a Comment