Starting from Stuck

If your days unspool like mine — or, the way they used to — you wake and the “shoulds” rush in:

I should get up now. I should get that project done. I should meditate. I should answer those emails. I should make time for my husband/my wife/my children/my self. I should exercise. I should be happier. I should be and do more, more, more!

And if I do have time — if, miracle of miracles, I’ve gotten everything done and I have a little free time and I don’t need to take a nap — maybe I want to try something new, like writing or painting or meditating. Of course, it’s always right about then that I start to think:

  1. I don’t know how to get started.
  2. I’ll be lousy at it.
  3. I wonder what’s on TV. Oh, the remote’s right here. Click.

Everyone is Overwhelmed. Everyone is Afraid

The more I talk to people, the more I’ve realized how much we’re all overwhelmed — with stuff to do and things to learn and techniques to self-improve. We’re also afraid to try new things because we don’t know where to start.

But There’s a Different Way to Think About It

What started to change things for me was simply wondering where the time really went. Looking back over a day or a week, I felt like I’d been too busy to really get anything done. Yet I couldn’t say exactly what I had gotten done. With work or family or anything else.

So I decided to keep track of my time.

Cages and Cabins

For the things that overwhelmed me, I began to use a timer to create boundaries around how much time I would give to email or texts or phone calls. I began to put these daily tasks in cages. For other activities, I built cabins — at least my idealized version cabin, a low-tech retreat where you focus on a single pursuit. In my daily schedule, these were dedicated blocks of time to focus on a project. I didn’t answer the phone and I didn’t check email.

Why I Built a Timer

That was all well and good, but the more I incorporated timers into my everyday life, the more dissatisfied I became. Most timer apps I found were too busy, too complex, and too ugly. In trying to introduce a grace and simplicity into my own life, I found I wanted a tool that was graceful and simple.

Since I couldn’t find one, I built one.

Hello, Clear Timer

Clear Timer is a simple timer app that helps you be more productive, track reminders, and measure tasks. Its intuitive timer wheel allows you to easily set the time down to the second, run multiple custom timers simultaneously, and time anything up to 60 hours.

Clear Timer features an elegant design and offers a variety of skins and sounds, plus an infinite number of timers you can start, pause, and reset individually.

Tick Tick Tick

Life goes by so fast. I’m only just beginning to rethink my use of time. But I’m learning that a tool as simple as a timer has gotten me thinking about how I use my time, what matters, and what I can let go of.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Maybe you can build your own time cages and focus cabins for yourself too.