Focus.

* $5 Walgreens kitchen timer.

* set countdown for 8 minutes

* when it goes off, look at what you're doing

* is this what you're supposed to be doing? (a/k/a "Work")

* if you're off-task, refocus

* repeat, repeat

  • Lalitree Darnielle 11y

    Oh man. That would yield some embarrassing results for me, I'm afraid. Focussing seems to be a skill I've lost completely.
  • lane becker 11y

    jesus christ, man, i love ya, but i thought we were done with fordism. if i hit 8 minutes and i'm not doing what i was supposed to be doing, then clearly that's not what i'm really supposed to be doing.

    what i'm really supposed to be doing is going to the bar. to the bar!
  • Kathryn Yu Photography 11y

    why 8 minutes and not 5, 10, or 15?
  • merlinmann 11y

    Good question, K. Two things.

    First, thanks to NPR and my inveterate clock watching, I'm way too tuned to ten and fifteen minute cycles. I have an uncanny awareness of what time it is most of the time--even as it slips away from me as I surf, read, or what have you. I needed a disruptive number that wouldn't let me just go, "Oh, I'll get back to work after the news update."

    Second, I arbitrarily decided that eight minutes represented the nexus of the amount of annoyance I can tolerate and the amount of time I'm willing to have wasted without a reminder.

    I think different people should try different times: 5 and 20 minute intervals both make sense depending on the work you do (and how quickly you find yourself getting derailed).
  • Kevin Fanning 11y

    man you are hardcore. i could not share a cubicle with you. you'd be all frowning as i posted to flickr for 8 minutes.
  • Jason Kottke 11y

    How many "i"s are there in "intervention"?
  • merlinmann 11y

    All of them.
  • Brian Sawyer 11y

    All right, M. Your eight minutes are up. Back to work. ;-)
  • merlinmann 11y

    You're a harsh taskmaster, Brian.

    :)
  • lisarzuniga 11y

    Whoa.. this is totally something I would do lol.. Good job. Keep up the task-management!

    *beep* Ahh, eight minutes... I'm off to class ;-)
  • Mike Monteiro 11y

    Merlin, i want to make love to you SO bad. We can totally get it in that 8 minute window too.
  • merlinmann 11y

    Totally, Mike.

    Even gives us seven minutes to cuddle.
  • aesop 11y

    What if I'm more than 8 minutes running/zombie shuffle/panicked hurtling away from what I'm supposed to be doing?

    And what if you upped the ante with, y'know, a stinkbomb or something? You could sprint to the rescue just in time to defuse the calamity with only 007 seconds to go. Then, dust off the palms of your hands, resume your accustomed dapper countenance and continue saving the world.

    All in a day's work.
  • Kyle DeMilo 11y

    PLEASE tell me that alarm isn't that loud! If I were your cubicle mate, you'd find your timer missing say, the first day after lunch!

    :)

    //k
  • Brad Graham 10y

    Back off, Mike. He's mine.

    (OK, split the diff...4 minutes apiece?)
  • rorymcmahon 6y

    I kept hitting the snooze button. :(
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