Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Me and My Timer

In my heart, I'm a lazy person.  I value and respect hard work.  But gosh, it is hard to get that ball in motion sometimes.  Maybe I should say I'm not a good self-starter.  If I'm given a task I'm pretty decent about knocking it out.  If I'm in charge though, it's just too easy to think "Ah, I'll do it tomorrow," and we all know tomorrow never comes to that train of thought.  Some days (like yesterday) are better than others, but when the doldrums hit they can be killers.  As a teacher, I could sometimes see the class needed some motivation. I'd make a game of what we were doing and we'd be happily done in a jiffy.  Making a game of work is actually pretty easy to do when you're working with kids, no matter the task.  It's harder when you're working on your own.  That's when I turn to my timer.  Timers are so useful when you want to know how long something will take, or how much longer you have with any particular activity.  Timers can also be very motivating.  FlyLady recommends setting a timer for 15 minutes and cleaning like mad during that time.  When the timer rings, you're done - at least for now.  Heck, anyone can clean for 15 minutes, no matter how tired they are.  You'd be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you really focus for those measly minutes.  I've been trying to set my timer when I do not want to do one more thing.  I've been setting it to tell me when it's time to get off the computer and play with the kids.  I set it to remind me to take Mr. A to the potty.  In a few weeks I'll set it to remind me to turn off the water in the garden.

I have a bunch of timers.  There's the basic kitchen timer which I let the kids drag around the house for their tasks. I often set it for 10 minutes and ask them to see how much of a specific area they can get straightened up before the timer goes off.  It works especially well for Miss M who likes knowing her work time is finite.
I also have a digital kitchen timer which is equally handy. It has a nicer alarm, but is harder for the kids to use.  I use this one when I'm the one in charge of the timer.

Miss E has a book mark timer she uses to track her reading time.   I ask her to set it when she's having a hard time settling down to finish homework.  Promising she only has to work 10 minutes at a time makes it easier to just do it.

The timer usually turn to, however, is the most convenient one.   I started buying this watch before I had kids.  I liked tracking my dog walk times, and I liked it's indiglo night light feature.  I quickly learned to love having such a simple timer and alarm.  I used it almost daily as a teacher.  And it's invaluable when you're potty training and need a regular reminder to take a toddler to the bathroom.  I've bought three of them over about 10 years and dread the day I won't be able to find a new one.  I wear this watch most days anyway because it's very comfortable.  They aren't the prettiest watches I own, but I love them anyway.

The only down side of a timer, is that when I'm really just NOT in the mood, the brrring, beep, or buzz makes me want to scream.  I even switch watches some days because I'm tired of feeling like a slave to the beep and am maybe making an excuse to ignore my To Do list.  That's a personal hiccup though, and heck, don't we all have contrary days when we just don't want to do anything?

Uh oh...  There goes my timer.  Time to finish my laundry so I can play a little game before dinner.

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