The picture above is one of my secrets to success. The electronic version died and got replaced by this one from the junk box in the garage. It makes a ticking sound which I’ve found to be more helpful than distracting. It reminds me that I can’t do anything else until the timer rings. Fortunately I work in an office of one, so the sound only affects me.
This might come as a shock, but I don’t love to work on Fedora project schedules or write SOPs (standard operating procedures) every time I sit down to them. They can be tedious, boring, and downright frustrating. It is easy to dread and put off tasks that are not immediately fun or inspiring. The anticipated end result and the future benefits to others drives me to keep working on them.
If these tasks get repeatedly put off, a self-quarantine by timer usually works. A self-quarantine in the form of, “you cannot leave your chair, check your email, get a glass of water, or check on that ‘critical thing’ until the timer rings.” I know it sounds a little wacky, but try it.
Set the timer for 20 or 25 minutes, sit down, start working (or at least try), and see what happens. You might find that it takes 10 minutes to really focus and start getting traction. No matter what gets done you have to sit there and try–even if none of it feels good or productive. Ninety-five percent of the time I end up working past the end of the timer and things have magically turned themselves around.