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How an Hourglass Sand Timer Can Improve Your Productivity

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Working with an hourglass on the desk.

Working with an hourglass on the desk.

Why Use an Hourglass Sand Timer?

This article reviews the benefits of timing your work activities with an hourglass sand timer and what to look for when selecting one for your home or office.

I discovered that an hourglass provides enormous benefits while working on a lengthy assignment because it eliminates feeling stressed from dwelling on the entire project.

That stress can hold one back from getting started. Does that ever happen to you?

An hourglass helps improve productivity because it gives one a reason to get down to work.

It helps me stay productive and avoid procrastinating in the following two ways:

  1. I turn it over to start the sand falling, and I get visual feedback on how I'm progressing for any 60-minute session. It keeps me focused. Then I can take a break knowing that I accomplished something.
  2. In addition, looking back on the achievements of the past hour when the sand falls to the bottom puts me in a happy place. And I can repeat the process an hour at a time until the entire project is complete.

For a writer, that process solves writer's block. But it can work for any profession where one might work on lengthy assignments.

It even helps stay engaged when doing unpleasant tasks by displaying how soon it will be over. Sand timers are available for various lengths of time, but 60-minutes assures fulfillment.

How Does an Hourglass Help Complete Tasks?

A 60-minute hourglass creates a pleasurable way to track your productivity while working on important tasks. It helps to notice if we are moving in the right direction to achieve what we had hoped to accomplish. I discovered that timing each hour of activity by using an hourglass helps me monitor my progress.

Sometimes I look up, and I see all the sand has fallen to the bottom. An hour has gone by, and I realize I haven't accomplished much. That is when I know I lost focus and wasted time doing other things. If I had only stayed with the intended task, but how?

The trick is to break it into 60-minute segments. That makes it easier to stay in the present and get things done without being overwhelmed with too much at once.

In addition, visual observation of time spent helps hone in on the details at hand by staying engaged with the process.

  • It helps set an hourly goal.
  • It alerts one if wasting time.
  • It confirms if we made progress.
  • It serves as a time management tool.
  • It supports designating time for practical work.
  • It provides the ambition to do something positive.
  • It replaces distractions that could intrude on our time.
  • It validates the effort made with leading to the intended goal.

Without that, we may spend many hours working but not doing what's necessary to make the best use of our time. So it helps to have that awareness of time passing by.

Mental Awareness

When you check the hourglass once in a while, you get a mental awareness of how you're progressing.

For example, if you see that all the sand is at the bottom and an hour has gone by, and you didn't accomplish much, you'll know you need to stay focused more often.

Get in Touch With How You Feel

When you look at your hourglass and see all the sand at the bottom, knowing an hour or more has just elapsed, think about how you feel. That visual feedback gives you the awareness of how much time went by. That will help you appreciate your progress by knowing the answer to these questions:

  • Did you accomplish what you intended?
  • Were you successful with your objective for that past hour?
  • Do you feel good about what you got done?

An Example of How It Works for Me

When I feel some assignment is too challenging to tackle, my trick is to give myself an hour with it. I begin by turning the hourglass over to start the sand falling. Then I get down to the work I need to do.

The hourglass gives me the motivation to get started without procrastinating. I think that works on an emotional level because it's a physical vision of my mental state. In addition, I can take it one step at a time while checking the sand once in a while.

Working in small steps is always a powerful way to avoid procrastination. Hesitancy usually is a result of feeling overwhelmed. But when we associate it with an hour at a time, the feeling diminishes to sensible small steps.

Why Is an Hourglass Sand Timer Appropriate?

Visual Feedback

Of course, you could use a simple stopwatch or a smartphone timing app set for an hour at a time. But it’s more fulfilling to have a visual effect of colorful sand falling in an hourglass. Yes, you can find hourglasses with various colors of sand.

Ease of Resetting

In addition, it’s easier to start another hour to continue monitoring the next phase of your work. Just turn it over when ready to begin another hour of productive activities.

Enjoyable Office Gadget

Lastly, it’s a pleasant item to have on your desk. Besides being a tool that helps give an accounting of your activity, it could also be a conversation piece. Friends will always ask what you use it for and will be amazed at your explanation of how it helps you achieve your goals.

Sand Timers Have Many Practical Uses

When I first thought of the idea to buy an hourglass sand timer, I did some research to learn everything that I needed to know to make the right choice. I discovered that sand timers come in all sizes, shapes, and timing (based on the amount of sand).

I discovered many practical ways to use it and how other people find it valuable. Here are some examples:

Meditation Device

An hourglass can be an excellent meditation device. It gives you a point to concentrate on, enhancing the meditation process.

Some people who begin to try meditation have difficulty getting into it. The problem is that they can’t focus. Meditation requires one to relax and let their thoughts go where they might.

Watching the sands of time fall gracefully in an hourglass creates that opportunity by giving you something to focus on while letting your mind go free. In addition, an hour is an appropriate timespan to detach from external stimuli, which is necessary for an effective meditation session.

Timing Exercise Sessions and Chores

I time my exercise workout sessions with it. And for the fun of it, sometimes I use it to monitor the time I spend doing house chores—such as cleaning the bathroom. Under an hour and it’s done! There is still some sand left!

Time Length of Phone Conversations

I can easily lose track of time when talking with a friend on the phone. When I have important things I need to get done, the hourglass helps me limit long-winded conversations by the level of sand remaining.

Teachers Classroom Test Timer

Here's an idea a teacher-friend told me about. Teachers can add some creativity to their classroom test schedules with an hourglass so students can see how they are doing with the completion of a test that has an hour to complete.

It’s an Impeccable Gift Idea

Besides being a personal tool for judging the progress of your tasks, it can also be a creative gift. You can give an hourglass for any occasion. But maybe some are more meaningful than others. Be creative!

Review of Sand Timer Applications

  • Countdown timer
  • Time management
  • Progress indicator
  • Meditation device
  • Classroom timer
  • Kitchen utensil
  • Desk ornament
  • Office gadget
  • Home décor
  • Shop tool
  • Great gift
My Hourglass Sand Timer

My Hourglass Sand Timer

I Found Mine on Amazon

I couldn't find any local stores selling sand timers. Maybe you'll have better luck. But when I checked Amazon, I found a full array of choices.

The hourglass in the photo above is the one I purchased on Amazon. It’s eight inches tall, and it's precise to within 5 seconds per 60 minutes. I timed it.

Amazon has sand timers in many decorative designs. You can get them in wooden frames, metal art stands, rotating globes, and even antique designs to match any home décor.

Depending on how much time you want to track, you can order them with different amounts of sand. You can also select various sand colors, such as white, red, purple, black, and gold.

You‘ll see many sand timers to choose from when you scroll down on this Amazon page of the hourglass I purchased.

Closing Thought

As an entertaining closing thought, do you remember the movie scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Wicked Witch used her hourglass to give Dorothy an hour to turn over her ruby slippers? That's what gave me the idea to get one for myself.

Wicked Witch’s Hourglass - Wizard of Oz

Wicked Witch’s Hourglass - Wizard of Oz

© 2022 Glenn Stok