Writer Pam Coyle

By Pam Coyle
Resolved to meditate or hula hoop every day but already lapsed? Avoiding that pile of financial paperwork as tax day looms? Spare room so cluttered you jump at every doorbell – fearing friends have called the hoarder hotline?

Set a timer, and start small.

My small digital kitchen timer is never in the kitchen. It helps motivate me and break down chores or goals into specific pieces and manageable blocks of time. One example: “Tonight I’m going to do our taxes,” is a pretty general goal and, for me, simply not possible. “Tonight I am going to work on our tax stuff for one hour” is more realistic.

How many of us vowed to start some new healthy habit on January 1? How many of us are on track? Not this writer, for sure.

I make resolutions every day so I get to start over! Some ideas:

Our fancy phones have built-in timers with a range of ring tones if you don’t like the sound of a kitchen timer. I use both. The “harp” setting would work well for meditating – start with five minutes. Go up to 10 minutes when you feel ready. I am no time management wizard but even I have a spare 10 minutes now and then.

Who likes cleaning the bathroom, honestly? Trick yourself into starting by setting a timer for 15 or 30 minutes. At the “ding,” if you want to stop and finish later, stop. If you want to keep going, keep going. The same strategy works for weeding the garden.

Stuck at a desk and computer all day? The computer will tell you, out loud, what time it is if you want it to. Set it for every hour, stand up and stretch. If you job allows, take five minutes to walk the hallways – even if it is going to the restroom when you don’t really need to.

A timer makes quick work of hula hooping and abdominal crunches. With the former, start with a minute each side (you should change directions) and work up. With crunches, I sometimes forget to count so I’m going to try the timed approach. I honestly have no idea how many I’ll do in five minutes but I’m going to do it today. No, really.

I need to take medication and some supplements in the afternoon but I’m always forgetting. I’m feeling a 2 p.m. “Timba” setting on my iPhone will help. No doubt “they” have apps for all this, so we’d love to hear what you’ve found and helps, not only for medication but time apps in general.

Beep. Make time(r) your friend and not your enemy.