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« Keep It Complicated, Stupid! | Main | Effortless Action »

The Time Timer

Many people who have read my book Get Everything Done or my articles about the use of timers, have asked me where they can get a silent timer for use in an open-plan office situation. I didn’t have a satisfactory answer to this until a reader, Janine Adams, recommended the Time Timer.

I bought one myself and I must say I am completely sold on it.

Basically it consists of a red disk which shows the time remaining for any time period up to an hour (that’s what it says in the specification but in fact it will time up to two hours). You just move the disk to the interval you want and the red segment gradually gets smaller and smaller. It’s ideal for those working in offices because it doesn’t sound any alarm when it reaches zero - but because the red is so conspicuous you can’t help noticing when it’s no longer there!

The one I’ve bought is large enough to use for seminars or classroom situations. So it’s ideal for timing a session or a speech. When you’ve got an appointment to keep you can set it for the time you need to leave your office. Another use is when you have someone visiting your office and you say “I can give you 10 minutes” you set the timer to 10 minutes - it gives such a strong visual cue that the visitor will get the point!

You can get a very good idea of what it does from the live demonstration at

Related article:

My Favourite Time Management Tool

Reader Comments (6)

So glad you liked the Time Timer, Mark! I've used mine while giving talks and it really helped me stay on time. When I'm working at my desk, I most frequently use the Time Timer software on my computer. Very helpful for timed bursts!

October 20, 2008 at 21:08 | Unregistered CommenterJanine Adams

Have you read the reviews at Amazon at ? Have you battle tested it? I thought you were going to get the Invisible clock/timer.

They claim the product is not very sturdy. I bought the Polder and it seems to do the job but having a visual hour glass equivalent would be great. I am not sure if WW, Wonder Women aka my wife is going to allow me to buy two gadgets the same month.

But on another note, the concept of timing tasks is working well for me. Will post on that topic later.
October 21, 2008 at 21:51 | Unregistered CommenterSun_Ra
Sun Ra:

I think you made a copy and paste error with your link as it didn't seem to have anything to do with either Amazon or the Time Timer - so I have changed it.

If you look at the item and comments for the Invisible Clock you will see that I said that I'd bought the Time Timer instead, mainly as a result of Janine Adam's recommendation.

Although I agree that the Timer Timer is not very sturdy - I certainly wouldn't let small children loose on it - I've had no problem with it so far. Early days yet though.
October 22, 2008 at 9:17 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'll just add that I've carried my 3" Time Timer around quite a bit in my laptop case, traveled cross-country with it, dropped it a few times and it's working fine. At one point, it looked like a drop might have broken it, but it just loosened the battery. Once I opened the battery compartment and put the battery back in securely, it worked fine.
October 22, 2008 at 14:27 | Unregistered CommenterJanine Adams
I have installed PocketDoan on my Palm ( ) and I have been using it as a timer. It is a freeware. It is normally for meditation, but works very well as a timer with different gentle sounds (like chimes or meditation bowls) which are not stressful and are discreat if you work in an office. The other thing I really like about it is that it is visual: the total time you chose is represented by a black circle that empties itself as time goes by. A quick glance at the screen will give you a good indication of where you are.
November 7, 2008 at 9:53 | Unregistered CommenterBenoit
hi i thought the time timer is a brialliant idea but i thought i should share with you, an interesting website i have come across . This website has a easy to use personal managemnt system, it heps you to prioritize, set goals, tasks,actions etc. It helps you to make maximum use of your time and work productivity. Time is what we dont have and we need to use it efficiently. check it out, its free for 30 days
November 10, 2008 at 10:18 | Unregistered Commenteramrita

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