I use it to:
Keep myself from getting sucked into the black hole of email.
Complete an Imaginary Trip to the Beach assignment.
Start a project I really don’t want to do. I tell myself I’ll only do the Unpleasant Task for 15 minutes and then I can quit. Most times, I will continue on after the timer goes off, and occasionally find that the U.T. didn’t even take the full 15 minutes!
Focus on a chore, like dusting for example, that I take too much time doing because I’m easily distractible. (“This magazine doesn’t belong here. Let me move it to the magazine holder in the family room. Oh look, there’s that bill I need to file in the office. While I’m in here, I think I’ll check my email…” See the problem?)
I'd rather be dusting... (ha)
And, less happily, I’ll even sometimes use the timer while I’m taking a break during the day to read or do some other fun thing. The ringing of the timer reminds me that it’s time to go back to work.
So in a world full of iPhones and BlackBerries, here I sit with my kitchen timer. Never mind...whatever tool does the job.
What about you? Do you have any low-tech tools you can't live without? Do share!