Isn’t there some wisdom in breaking large tasks into smaller piecemeal efforts? There’s another way to look at any mammoth project or everyday task – as a massive unit of time that can be broken down into chunks of minutes. Task management is after all nothing but time management. If we can tame time, then we are on the smooth asphalt of productivity. And there’s only one way to manage time – watch the clock.
We have looked at various techniques to use slices of time as a productivity tool. The Pomodoro Technique is definitely one. The method uses short bursts of work as a way to get on the productivity peak. You can develop our own timer based system to do a task in mini-sprints. If you need a simple, uncomplicated timer for the job, try counting down with Snaptimer.
Just a Simple, Free, Portable Countdown Windows Timer
I agree with the developer when he says – All the timers I tested were too complex for my taste. I decided to write one that was dead simple, so you could run it, type in a time and hit enter.
I also like my productivity tools to be simple and without a learning curve at all, so that they can go to the background and let me be productive. You won’t find a countdown timer as simple as Snaptimer. The 1.45 MB download is free and Open Source. Best of all it is portable, so you don’t have to lose your productive Zen anywhere without it. Just uncompress the ZIP file and you are ready to go.
How Am I Using Snaptimer?
For one, I am writing this very article with the help of Snaptimer. I want to finish this article in 40 minutes flat. So, I have decided to divide those 40 minutes in two equal chunks of 20 minutes each. When you launch the program for the first time (or any time), the simple clean interface displays a default figure in minutes. I just set it to my own of 20 minutes and click the Start button.
I minimize it and off it goes to the System Tray. A mouse-over shows me the countdown. A right-click gives me the triumvirate of Pause, Reset, and Options.
There are some nice things you can do once you get into the Options. The screenshot below is self-explanatory. You can check the Play ticking sound if you like a bit of “atmosphere” while working, but I find it to be a distraction.
I really like the second tab – Alarms – that allows me to customize Snaptimer a little bit. Snaptimer gives you twenty looping alarm sounds to pick one from. Here are some of my productivity tries.
For Display Message, I set a to-do which I have to complete as a reminder. So, whenever the countdown finishes, up pops a message that hints at my sub-conscious to accomplish it.
Under Run program, you can set something like Evernote or a GTD app that will pop-up and remind you of the tasks for the day. Or you can set it to you music player which helps you soothe your mind with a bit of music. Think imaginatively!
You can also create your own pre-set timer shortcuts. For instance, you can set it up for different writing tasks and run them accordingly.
You can choose Snaptimer to play your choice of sound file for the alarm. You can go into the third tab (Font) and change the font and background. Red on black doesn’t look bad does it!
Use Snaptimer to Time Usain Bolt
Aah, not exactly. But you can use Snaptimer as a stopwatch too. Just set the timer to zero and click start. This is also effective as you can measure how much time you are taking to finish a task. Forget Usain Bolt; break a few of your own records as you run towards productivity.
Well, I managed to finish this article in the time I had allocated with Snaptimer. That’s a notch on my productivity score-sheet. Snaptimer came recommended in our list of Best Portable Apps. Do you think it makes the cut? I am sure you might have your own portable timer and time management app to recommend. Tick away in the comments.