One of the most daunting aspects of any ‘work from home’ or ‘remote work’ environment is the ability to stay on task if the workflow is new to you.

I learned long ago that my body needed to be treated/respected a certain way to perform optimally while working from home. This included frequent stretches, and breaks from staring at screens. But no remote boss was going to tell me take a break – after all I was my own boss for 7 years of freelance work!

I used to use a very analog ‘sand timer’ but this still required looking at the timer or even remembering to look at the timer – sometimes you just get swept away in your work and forget to look at a timer. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Thankfully with the advent of mobile devices, and then with recent trends in gym life and workout routines, I figured out how to use an ‘interval timer’ (typically used for workout routines) to keep myself on point for durations of Work and Rest (aka stretching, not looking at screen, etc).

Your app will vary, but most have basic settings like:

  • Routine Name (the name of the entire routine or ‘workout’; the e.g. below is Tabata)
  • Mode Names & Settings (the name of a ‘step’ in your routine and its length of time, color (if applicable), and order)
  • The number of Rounds to perform the set of Modes
  • Possibly Warm up and Cooldown modes (these are ‘triggers’ at the start and finish of a Mode)

In other words it may look something like this:

Then, when you initiate the interval timer it should switch between the modes you have designed (in my case ‘Work’ and ‘Rest’ — I ‘work’ for 15 solid minutes then provide myself with 90 seconds of rest), like so:

This image should be read right to left.

On the right, I have just completed my first ‘Work’ mode and am currently in my first ‘Rest’ mode; you can see I have 1:19 remaining in the Rest mode.

On the left I have completed one cycle of Work and Rest, and have entered the second Work mode; I have 14:55 in this mode remaining and 3:01:35 overall remaining in my ‘workout.’

I’ve grown accustomed to using this particular Android app’s interface — the app you choose may vary but that’s because there are lots to choose from:

There is no correct interval timer for keeping yourself on point while working from home – this is merely a concept to understand and apply as you see fit!

GOOD LUCK #QCmakers!