Productivity: Minuteur

Click the image to see more photography by Ella_Marie

My favourite strategy for tackling pretty much anything is to set a timer for 12 minutes, then race it. This is a great trick, because:

1. Even if you’re a bedbound sloth, you can probably motivate yourself to do 12 minutes of something.

2. Starting work is the hard part; once you get into something, you’ll often work longer without even noticing the time pass. Before you know it, you’ll be all done making that beautiful macrame rainbow dress you’ve always wanted, and you can head off to Burning Man knowing you look exactly like a shy librarian who’s trying drugs for the first time.

That night, Olivia twirled and twirled and twirled and twirled and twirled. When morning dawned, the dress was gone, her hair had spontaneously formed dreadlocks, she had become a vegan, and nine months later, her son Starbeam-Phoenix-Feminina was born.

3. If you tend to get distracted (like I do! By super-interesting, important things, like this little bear that could not stop sneezing!), then the timer is a good reminder that OH YEAH BACK TO WORK even though somewhere on the internet probably there are other adorable things with allergies!

4. You can limit how long you spend on things you don’t really want to be doing. Sometimes I have to call people who talk a lot. I like to set a 4-minute timer so I can keep the whole call under 5 minutes. Not that I do that to anyone who reads this blog.

5. Most things take less time than you think. This morning I tidied up my whole apartment in 12 minutes, and the place was a total wreck when I started. It looked like hours of work but the timer proved, as usual, that it was easier than I’d expected. Now it only looks like a partial wreck; thanks, timer!

6. Once you start to figure out how long things take, you’re more likely to do them without quite so much fussing next time. I hated vaccuuming my apartment until I realized it takes me 6 minutes. Now I do it all the time, much to the delight of my neighbours (Hi, Nicolas! VRRROOOOOMMMM)

Minuteur. The only reason I get anything done, ever.

Usually I use a little digital egg timer stopwatch thing for all my timer-racing needs, but I don’t always want to bring it with me. So I downloaded this great free app called Minuteur (if you like it, you might wanna shoot the developer a few bones). It’s a little virtual desktop timer that’s really easy to set; it makes a gentle ticking noise that you can silence if it drives you bonkers, and when the time’s up it alarms and jumps to the front of your desktop and blinks at you. Bam. Easy as… eggs.

Thanks to Reuben for the tip (that link goes to an article he wrote that has some other good productivity advice buried in it).

Welcome, newcomers, to my bloog. The funniest / most-read posts are listed here.


31 Responses to Productivity: Minuteur

  1. Raul says:

    It’s funny how time can make people move much quicker. I remember me and my brother making my little sister run and get us things…of course she would make a fuss about it but all we had to do was start counting down from 10…For example, “Dang it, I forgot my socks. Can you go get them from my drawer?” Sister: “No!” Me: “10-9-8-7…” Bam…suddenly the socks were in my hands in less than 10 seconds… :-)

  2. Amir says:

    It works because you are dividing the work into smaller time slots. I use the same trick but instead of using a timer, I use songs as my time keeper. I will likely say “I have to be off the crapper by the time Beyonce finish singing this song”. I just have to be careful I d0n’t press the “loop” button…

  3. whatsnormality says:

    ha, the 12 minute timer, maybe ill be motivated to clean my room?

  4. Very nice. Try doubling things up, too. For example, it takes 2 minutes to warm up a can of soup in the microwave. I can go to the bathroom and wash my hands in exactly two minutes!

  5. shenanitims says:

    This is utterly brilliant!

  6. Anna says:

    Love the picture and the text beneath…hilarious!

  7. stilettoteez says:

    Ok.. I know we are talking about timer’s here.. but.. is that uh.. dress for real?? :)

  8. Marvi Marti says:

    I love this idea! 12 minutes, 5 women, we should be able to get the house whipped into nice shape with this one!

  9. buildidaho says:

    Needs to be 7 minutes

  10. Lisa says:

    I am utterly mistified by things I find on the internet! Your blog is no exception. Honestly, I never thought of timing myself. I loathe house cleaning ask anyone who knows me! Mainly because I always put off for tomorrow what I can do today and than am ultimately overwhelmed by what has to be done. The whole 12 minute timer thing has really set a fire. Now I tell myself 12 minutes and your done. Progress!!! Gotta love it!

  11. essentialsimplicity says:

    It’s quite an interesting concept. But it definitely looks like one that is simple and works.

  12. The egg timer. In my life that never works! Yes, is a big pain there. But, I have a very nice Dad who would eat anything from my hands, wich is very cool. I gave away my timer to my Granny who happens to awake at 6:00 (she was raised in an inner town), so now I just adjust to the sounds of caceroles, spons, loud tv tv spots, Joyful laughs from Johana San Miguel (the chollywood reporter here in Peru). And, I almost forgot, when the day is cold I get away by the beautiful gentle sweetest smile always….knocking at my door and invinting me to have breakfast together. I LOVE my grandma, for now on she is my timer. And she is very good!
    ~Awesome Post! thanks. “)
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

  13. gmomj says:

    you’re brilliant

    There I wrote that in .2 seconds.

  14. natinanorton says:

    Good post. Now if only there was a timer to motivate my family to pick up after themselves. :)


  15. call2write says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    The timer is a very good idea. You’re right that it’s easier to get motivated when you know how much, or how little time it takes to do something.

  16. Kerry says:

    I’m new to your blog and am already your best friend – I use the timer too but for 15 minutes at a time. it did feel too long so now you have given me permission to reduce it to 12… Great blog. I’m following you from France.

  17. pinky says:

    I do not know if I can do or not within 12 minutes, I usually spend my time eating, drinking sleeping and visiting relatives and friends’ houses or the beginning of the first 60 minutes I spend on play time source

  18. having just read another freshly pressed post about how the internet/facebook/twitter etc is damaging our children’s ability to concentrate, by encouraging tangential thinking and endless internet-surfing sessions, i love this idea!
    i myself have been sitting here in my pyjamas for an hour mindlessly surfing the internet, when i am supposed to be going for a swim. i will give myself 12 minutes for breakfast, and be off!
    great post!

  19. […] My favourite strategy for tackling pretty much anything is to set a timer for 12 minutes, then race it. This is a great trick, because: 1. Even if you're a bedbound sloth, you can probably motivate yourself to do 12 minutes of something. 2. Starting work is the hard part; once you get into something, you'll ofte … Read More […]

  20. xiaomoogle says:

    “you can head off to Burning Man knowing you look exactly like a shy librarian who’s trying drugs for the first time.”

    Har har har har har.

    Hi-lar-ious. I love your turn of phrase.

  21. Penny says:

    a girl named Jessica went online she started talkin to another girl. it started out normally………

    Jessica: Hey person.
    Other girl: Hello
    Jessica: You’ve been a really interesting person to talk to.
    Other girl: Really? Thanks. You really mean it?
    Jessica: Yea.
    Other girl: What’s ur name again?
    Jessica: My name is Jessica. What’s urs?
    Other girl: I can’t really tell u.
    Jessica: Why?
    Other girl: Because I’m dead.
    Jessica: What?
    Other girl: I’m dead.
    Jessica: How can u be dead? I mean, dead people don’t i.m. living people.
    Other girl: Yes they can because I can.
    Jessica: Ok then, so ur dead. Ok. So what’s ur real name now that I know that u are dead?
    Other girl: Mary, or at least it is now.
    Jessica: So where do u live ‘dead person’ and what’s ur last name and ur real name?
    Mary: Do you really want to know?
    Jessica: Yea, duh. I mean, ur probably lyin and I wanna know who u really r by lookin in the phonebook.
    Mary: You really wanna know?
    Jessica: (Feeling Frustrated) Yes. I DO! Now just tell me ur dumb name!
    Mary: I”m not dumb.
    Jessica: (Calming down a little) Fine then. Ur not. So tell me ur name.
    Mary: I live in mirrors and travel by them, and my full name is BLoody Mary.
    Jessica: (Laughing) You can’t be bloody Mary. There’s no such thing!
    Mary: Are u sure about that? Do you wanna find out the hard way? I know everythin about u. I know where u live, what u like, who u like, ur favorite color, ur full name, and I know what u are scared of.
    Jessica: Ok, ur really freakin me out now. Stop it!
    Mary: I won’t. If u don’t copy this conversation down and send it to 15 people, I will come to you

    sorry you cant send it back to the sender…im sorry if ive send this to you..
    so sorry


    This is not a joke! Carry on reading! Or you will die, even if you only looked at the word warning!

    Once there was a little girl called Clarissa, she was ten-years-old and she lived in a mental hospital, because she killed her mom and her dad. She got so bad she went to kill all the staff in the hospital so the government decided that the best idea was to get rid of her so they set up a special room to kill her, as humane as possible but it went wrong the machine they were using went wrong. And she sat there in agony for hours until she finally died. Now every week on the day of her death she returns to the person that reads this letter, on a monday night at 12:00a.m. She creeps into your room and kills you slowly, by cutting you and watching you bleed to death.

    Now send this to ten other pics on this one site, and she will haunt someone else who doesn’t pass this on like you did. And forget about you. Example 1:
    Jenny didn’t believe this and deleted it without even reading the whole thing! A few days later on the monday night, she was woken up by loud footsteps and heavy breath

    IF YOU DON’T REPOST THIS YOU WILL BE SINGLE UNTIL YOU’RE 180(and by then you would be as dead as a door nail,buried and full of maggots so i would repost this!!).

    A-P-P-L-E– (If you are taken.)

    B-L-U-E-B-E-R-R-Y–(If you absolutly adore someone.)

    B-A-N-A-N-A– (If you are confused.)

    C-H-E-R-R-Y–(If you like someone but not sure how they feel about you.)

    G-R-A-P-E– (If your single.)

    L-E-M-O-N– (If you have given up.)

    P-E-A-C-H– (If there’s no point in liking the person you like.)

    P-I-N-E-A-P-P-L-E– (If your just taking life as it comes.)

    S-T-R-A-W-B-E-R-R-Y–(If you like someone and they like you but you’re not going out yet.)

  22. […] reading here: Productivity: Minuteur Share and […]

  23. canlı tv says:

    Thanks for the article ..

  24. 12 minutes? Many types of pasta need that time to be boiled right. It’s also 1/5th of an hour. It’s also 720 seconds. 1/120th of one day. Where does this 12 minutes come from?

  25. […] Productivity: Minuteur « funny blog pageslap […]

  26. Rhonda says:

    Great post. My friends complain about how much time Fbook wastes, which I don’t get. It only takes about 10 minutes to buzz through, check up on your friends and say hello. I think facebook is a great place to start using an egg timer!

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