It is no secret that I am obsessed with time management and productivity. OCD mixed with hypervigilence mixed with some ADHD…I mean, it may sound bad, but it’s made me a productivity queen. The downside is that sometimes I have a hard time staying focused. I am always looking for the right productivity timer. I started using Productivity Challenge Timer, a freemium app found in the Android store, about a month ago. Here’s what I think of it.
Setting Up Productivity Challenge Timer
The good news is that the timer is fairly easy to set up. You enter some projects and you start the timer for each one. You can either:
- Set up a default time block, such as 20 minutes
- Set up a time block based on each project. For example, I have some set at 10 or 15 minutes and others set at an hour. Because, let’s face it, I don’t need an hour to check my email (and neither do you – email is a time suck).
You can also choose short and long break time blocks as well as when the breaks are offered. Because I am prone to migraines, have pets, and a child at home, I have short breaks set at three minutes. This is to give me a few minutes to look away from the screen, water a dog, or be a snack bitch. Don’t get all salty about the use of the term snack bitch. If you work from home and have children, you are a snack bitch unless you have a nanny, another person at home who can do it, or send them off to daycare. It’s just part of life. I mean, I’ve shared what it’s like on a daily basis for me.
My short break happens after every work period.
My longer break is set at 20 minutes. It pops up every five work sessions.
The plus side is that if I am in the zone, I can skip the break in the app and continue working. If my break takes longer, sometimes the app will blow the whistle to remind me to get back to work.
But You Better Be Ready to Work
You better set your time limits the right way…meaning, set up a general default timer and set up times for certain tasks…and be sure you modify the project to either your set limit for that project OR if it should rely on the default. If you have a 20 minute time block for something that consistently takes you only eight minutes, don’t stop the timer. You’ll void the entire work period. It won’t count. There’s a bit of a work around for this…you’ll learn more under Things That Weren’t So Obvious to Me (at First).
The App Is Snarky…Like Me
Probably one of my most favorite aspects of the app is that it is snarky…like me. It has promotions and demotions. It has snarky reminders to stop procrastination. That’s not everyone’s thing, though. It’s important to think about whether that is something you’ll find enjoyable or insulting.
Things That Weren’t So Obvious to Me (at First)
I’d like to think I’m pretty good with apps and most tech. Overall, it was easy to set up. I mean, it’s just a timer…a snarky timer.
But I was kind of unhappy that I can’t just stop the timer when I’m done with a task. If I do, it voids the time I worked. The developer’s idea behind that is sound: to keep people from cheating the system.
The work around I use is to have an “everything else” project. While you cannot stop the timer, you can switch projects and keep that timer running. So, I have a project for every client and a project entitled “Random Editing.” Since I have the paid version, I can have tons of projects and sub-projects. For “everything else” (and yeah, that’s how I have it capitalized), I have sub-projects for email and administration, Beachbody, and website reviews for potential clients.
I check my time stats daily to determine how long I spend on each project. I know that with “everything else” I may end up deducting that from what I feel is my actual working time.
Is There a Big Difference Between the Free Version and Paid Version?
I used Productivity Timer’s free version for about a week before I paid the $5 for the full version. I get a few more ranks. I could set a schedule (do not advise – the app will tell you why), and the ability to add more projects.
It is important to recognize, as the download page and About says in the app, that Productivity Challenge Timer is NOT a project organizer. It is strictly a snarky productivity tool that helps you see what you’re spending your time on. Because you don’t get the option to just stop your work period, it can be very motivational to get shit done.
I don’t do ratings…but if I did, I would give it 4.5 out of 5 “fucking worth it” stars.