One of the most powerful productivity boosters I know isn’t even a matter of technology; it’s only a matter of time. By using your awareness of time in a few creative ways, you can prioritize better, solidify your focus, and dominate your deadlines. Timer Tab–a cool little Web app that works with any modern browser–gives you three useful tools for putting time to better use.
Point your browser to timer-tab.com and you’ll find three simple time trackers: a countdown timer, an alarm, and a stopwatch. Created by coder Romuald Brillout, their basic uses should be pretty obvious to anyone with a third-grade education. The timer and alarm give you simple fields that you can use to customize the time settings, while the stopwatch simply lets you start, pause, resume, or restart the count. Only one of the three clocks can run at any given time.
One obvious use of the timer is the Pomodoro Technique, in which you set the timer for 25 minutes and work single-mindedly until either the task is done or the alarm sounds. This little trick is amazingly effective at forcing the mind into a state of focus, because it gives you enough time to make significant progress on a task, while leaving a light at the end of the tunnel, as it were, so you can return your attention to other things (you know, like Facebook and e-mail) at reasonable intervals.
Likewise, the alarm function can sit in the background and tell you when it’s 12:30, so you don’t forget to go to lunch or that staff meeting or whatever it is you’re not supposed to miss. The stopwatch, meanwhile, can help you track the time you spend on a given task, either for later reference, or for your billing system.
I’ve tried my share of timer apps over the years, and they all have one Achilles heel: installation. If you don’t have them on the machine you’re using right now, they can’t help you. Timer Tab overcomes that problem nicely, as long as you have an Internet connection.