The humble sand timer

Over the years I’ve experimented with many forms of time management. One that works well for me—and I’ve heard this from others—is to work in a mixture of Pomodoro sprints, combined with open-ended deep work sessions. Combined, I mean, in the same day; A some-of-this and some-of-that approach.

Unfortunately, Pomodoro sprints don’t work for me with a “hard” timer. I’ve tried various timing apps on my computer and phone, and I’ve tried a digital countdown timer on my desk. (This cube timer is a nice one.) But I always find the firm interruption frustrates me. No matter how polite or subtle the alert, I’m annoyed by the interruption.

The solution is the humble sand timer. (Here’s a nice set.) Standing quietly, it is unobtrusive. Eventually, it has run out—but it remains patiently waiting for me to stop working. “No rush to stop Craig, but when you find a good spot, it’s time to move to the next thing.”