Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Today's Invention

The Task Timer

I’ve got something for those of us who are multi-taskers by necessity, not by desire. The more I stack on my plate the more likely I am to spill something. I can handle two or three things going on at once , but the more I have going on the more likely it is that I’ll get confused over the details or forget one all together.

I created the Task Timer to keep over lapping tasks on track. The Task Timer is, on a very basic level, just a timer.. You set it for however long you want to devote to each task and it beeps when it’s time to move to the next task. The Timer is most effective if the user stops the current task and moves to the next task at the sound of the beep no matter what stage of the current task they are in. This method establishes the “I’ll sleep on it” effect when the task’s turn comes back around the progressio. It is based on the principle that we can solve problems and overcome obstacles by actually not dwelling on them in our conscience mind but letting our sub-conscious work through the roadblock. The concept comes from the book, The Breakout Principle by Dr. Herbert Benson. We can simulate this, in a small way, by stopping what we are working on and devote our thoughts to a different task. This is a beneficial side effect of the Task Timer’s true purpose, which is to keep our projects efficiently moving forward.

I’ll use myself as an example. I work best in four to five minute bursts of concentrated problem solving. I would set the Task Ticker to beep at five minutes intervals. I move to the next task at each beep. I can set the Task Timer to beep or flash a light at each increment. It can also be designed to wear inconspicuously or be set aside on a desk or workspace. The Task Timer, in whatever way it is used, has the potential to optimize the time we spend on solving problems and minimize the confusion we create by jumping, haphazardly, between them.

No comments: