Back to using my egg timer to keep me on task. Apologies to my officemates now if I scare the bejesus out of you when it goes off. — Lisa Barone
Sure, timers can be invaluable in the kitchen — but they can keep us on track when we're doing all sorts of things, not just cooking. Parent Hacks calls the kitchen timer the "multi-purpose tool of the gods." And Erin Doland of Unclutterer lists some of the many ways she uses a timer to improve her productivity:
I use a timer when writing to keep me from wandering around the web. I use a timer when doing chores around the house to see how much I can accomplish in a set amount of time. I use a timer when practicing the piano to make sure I get a good 30 minutes in every day. I use a timer when I’m at the gym, running on the treadmill. I also use a timer when I’m goofing off during work hours, to make sure I’m merely taking a break from my work and not wasting an entire afternoon.If you don't want to use your smart phone as a timer, you have lots of other interesting choices.
Bengt Ek makes the egg timer shown at the top of this post — but also a cat timer, a rabbit timer, a Moomin timer and more. (Fans of the Moomin books by Tove Jansson will love this last one.) You can find these all at Scandinavian Design Center, and various other places on the web.
While we're on animals, I want to share this cow timer — which didn't do much for me until I read that it moos when the time is up.
And Kikkerland also makes a cow timer ― as well as a pig and a duck. They all make their respective animal sounds. One place that sells all three is Sur La Table. Update on March 23, 2014: This seems to be a discontinued product, and Sur La Table no longer carries it. But you can still find the products on a few other sites.
And how ridiculously cute is the Alessi duck timer? The image above comes from Utility, but you'll find it many other places, too. [via The New York Times]
For a stylish timer that's not an animal, take a look at the Pie Timer from Joseph Joseph, which comes in four colors. The company also has a Clip Timer, with a clip to attach to an apron or other clothing, a cord to hang around your neck, and a magnet to attach to a refrigerator or other magnetic surface.
Another magnetic timer is this retro-looking one. In the U.S., you can get it from Kikkerland, in various colors. In the U.K., what seems to be the same product is sold under the Dulton name; you can find it here, here and here. You can also find this timer in Australia under the Dulton brand name.
If you don't care about fanciful or stylish, and just want a good solid timer that's easy to use and easy to read, take a look at the Extra Big Digit Timer from CDN. It's what chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz is using, and he's quite happy with it.
And finally, for a very different timer, here's the Time Out Timer Stool, sold by Wisteria; the sand will run for about five minutes. [via Freshome]
6 Timers to Keep You on Track
January 2010 Organizing Tips and More