The Joy of Setting a Timer

Despite what people may say about me being disciplined, focused, and hard-working, I often don’t want to work. It’s the truth. There’s plenty I would rather do to distract myself and procrastinate.

But there is just so much that needs to be done… chopping vegetables… folding laundry… reviewing the status and quality of a batch of submitted documents… creating a new workflow for a 6-month project… responding to e-mails and messages… providing feedback and new direction… delegating series of tasks.

We often know where to start we just don’t want to.

Probably more than 50% of the work that gets done in my day was started by a timer. Setting a timer helps set a limit to the pain and displeasure. It gives us hope. We will be arriving at the light at the end of the tunnel in 25, 24, 23, 22…

A timer relieves the high-standards pressure of perfection and instead replaces it with the low-standard passable threshold of simply just doing.

It’s once we’ve started that we are more likely to find our stride — our flow — and suddenly step into our zone. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to an on switch for productivity, focus, and doing the work.

The joy of setting a timer — which, if you abide by it, gets you to do the work — is that we remember doing the work isn’t that. But, more importantly, it helps us rediscover that we are more powerful than we think.



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Jason Lam

Jason Lam

Head of Admissions Consulting | Point Avenue