/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Beat the Clock!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beat the Clock!

Growing up my mother had a little game she played with us. When the time came to clean up, she set the timer for ten minutes and told us to beat the clock- have the job finished before the timer beeped.

I'd like to tell you that if we beat the clock, we received a reward of some kind. And maybe we did on occasion. But what sticks out distinctly in my mind today is the consequences of not beating the clock. If we didn't beat the clock, whatever toys were left on the floor went into the garbage.

Let me tell you, this was an effective game. The sheer terror of what we might lose compelled us to stop procrastinating and complaining, and just get to work.

As an adult I've been enjoying the sheer brilliance of mom's game.I set my timer and plug away, finding that things get done with greater efficiency and energy. The ticking clock can be helpful in getting me back on track when I feel unmotivated or distracted.

There are many hurdles that playing "beat the clock" can help you to leap over. Here are a few of them:

The hurdle of drudgery. There are certain tasks that I really disdain. Such as cleaning the bathroom. We all have them- the chores that we procrastinate and procrastinate and procrastinate on because of our strong dislike. Set a timer and get to work. If you know it will only take ten or fifteen minutes, and you have a timer reminding you to go faster, you'll be surprised at how quickly your frog is eaten and the cloud hanging over your day is lifted :).                    

The hurdle of dawdling. Other aspects of my day are delightful. Too delightful. Like taking a hot shower, reading a real page turner, or taking a quick break to check facebook and blogs of interest. Because of how enjoyable these things may be in comparison to say, making dinner or changing a diaper, I may allow time spent on them to expand too much. If I set a timer and try to beat the clock, I can breeze through them, enjoying them, but not having to feel guilty about wasting time later.                         

The hurdle of deadlines. You are expecting company in an hour, and before they come you'd really like to have your dishes done, kitchen cleaned, and be showered and looking reasonably presentable. Set your timer girl! Ten minutes in the shower, ten minutes doing dishes, etc. You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish working full speed in a small amount of time.

The hurdle of drowsiness. Some days we are just tired. And it has a negative effect on our level of productivity. Set a timer for 15 minutes and take a nap if you can ;). Then keep that timer out and use it as a pump of adrenaline to accomplish your to do list. Once your blood is flowing and tasks are getting checked off, I promise you will feel better.

It's been said that a task expands to fill the amount of time we allow it. Don't allow your tasks to expand- set a timer and nip them in the bud. Go beat that clock!


  1. I have often used the same technique with my children...I guess I should try it for myself! Thanks for the encouragement :)

  2. Now that's a fun time management tip! Love it!

  3. First time to visit your blog... and wow, this is just what I needed to hear as I sit here with company coming for lunch and a kitchen that was not cleaned up by the housework fairies last night- time to sign off the computer, set the timer, and see what I can get done!

    1. Good luck Debra!!!! You can do it! :)

    2. The kitchen was beautiful and lunch was such a sweet blessing!

    3. Ah, the pay off of hard work :). Glad it went well!

  4. This is a great idea. I'm going to start doing it, too.


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