Hackernoon logoHow a Simple Chronometer can Boost your Efficiency by@juanreyes

How a Simple Chronometer can Boost your Efficiency

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@juanreyesJuan Reyes

CEO & Cofounder of Yoy: Simulation, VR, AR, web apps to improve workers and students learning :)

There is something really paradoxical in this stage of human history: we have exoskeletons for our minds, and we can create and access the best content ever made with a minimum effort. However, we are getting less focused and easily distracted. Instead of consuming fresh ideas and opportunities to grow, most people get lost into an endless carousel of distraction.

There is content written decades ago that can help us to get closer to a better version of ourselves. One of these treasures is called “The Effective Executive”, a really old book from Peter Drucker that I enjoyed some time ago and gave me a powerful idea that I use every workday: a simple clock running when I am working at something, helping me to stay focused and to understand where my time is going.

A long time ago, in a “reality” far, far away from our days, people also got distracted. High-rank executives, with decades of experience were just wasting their valuable time in non-important or small tasks. That anyone with less experience could do. Drucker, with a deep understanding of human efficiency, found an elegant solution: just put a timer and let the data speak for itself.

As he didn’t have a computer in those days, an assistant with a pencil and paper just followed the “Victim” and finally presented the alarming results: wasted time everywhere. There was no measure or easy way to know this was happening until the chronometer screamed it aloud. However, this tragedy is easily fixed when information comes forth: when you measure, you can change your habits and habits can change your life.

Today, we found people like Cal Newport (Author of Deep Work) remembering our endless list of mistakes when we want to be “efficient” at something. A really interesting example told by Newport in his podcast is what happens to a student: he wants to study, but he can’t concentrate for more than ten minutes.

Again, in a very different context and reality, our tireless friend the chronometer can change things. If the student just uses a timer (and stops it every time he gets distracted at some other thing), he can improve his focus. You can get some minutes of high-concentrated work during your first few tries and some months later: more than an hour.

This just changes everything. Because a big part of what we can accomplish in something is linked directly to our focus capacity. Laser-like focus equals genius.

A chronometer can help you in different dimensions:

  1. You can improve your focus: just knowing that the clock is running demolishes your impulse for distraction. You don’t want to “reset it”; you don’t want to “reduce it”. 
  2. You can do more of what is important to your craft: you start competing with yourself, getting a subliminal message… What if I do 10 minutes more? I will try!
  3. You can see clearly where your time is going: data will convince you to do the right things. Nobody wants to waste their time! Your habits and your way you see your work will deeply change.

Today, there are plenty of web apps to measure your time: clockify, toggl and many more. They generate statistics and do the boring parts for you.

An assistant with a pencil is not necessary anymore :)

I hope I convinced you with this focused session of writing, at least my timer is running while I am working on this: my first article for Hackernoon. Will I succeed? If you are reading this: yes!

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