Use a Timer to Manage Your Life

magnetic timer

Magnetic Timer from Anthropologie

Can a simple household timer really help you stay organized, in control, and manage your time better? You bet it can.


Low-tech timers can come in very handy around the house for both household and personal tasks.

In our recent home tour with artist Abbey Hendrickson, she shared her timer tip with us: "One secret to my success at daily time management is an egg timer; I set it for 10 minutes and try to get as much done as possible before it rings."  

Cleaning: The popular Fly Lady is very fond of this practice, suggesting you set small amounts of time to take on overwhelming tasks (like house cleaning!) and gradually add more time to your timer. It can help motivate adults and make tackling tasks sort of fun for children.

Potty Training: I use a timer for all kinds of tasks, including potty training my 3-year old (aka the world's longest potty training boy). He *still* does not tell us he has to use the bathroom, so I use a timer to keep him in a regular routine of visiting the bathroom.

Laundry: More than anything, I use the timer as a backup for my scattered brain. I start a load of laundry, and I forget about it the moment I walk away. I get wrapped up in a thousand other things around the house. Finally, I got sick of finding a mildew-smelling load in the wash or a super-wrinkly load in the dryer — or both! — and I started setting a timer. That way I stop whatever I'm doing and tend to the laundry in progress and save myself a rewash later. Sounds simple, but it really works for me.

Sprinklers: Same goes for our side sprinklers, which are the only ones not on automatic timers. Instead of waiting for my neighbor to politely let me know I've flooded his driveway and wasting precious water, I now set a timer for 15-20 minutes whenever I turn on that sprinkler.

I'm starting thinking on a master plan to use timers to allow for fun creative tasks for myself. I regularly spend 15-20 minutes whining about not having enough time. Now I think I'll set a timer and take the 15-20 in a more productive manner instead.

Do you use timers at home? What creative ways do timers help manage your household tasks and/or personal time?

Related posts:

Living in Chaos! Is FlyLady Worth a Try?

Potty Training Tip: Set a Timer

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