Saturday, October 17, 2015

Studio Equipment: Timer

-By Dan dos Santos

One of the problems with working from home is that it is really difficult to separate your work life from your home life.

It's really easy to spend a whole day paying bills, running errands, mowing the lawn, playing with the kids, etc... and before you know it, you've barely gotten ANY work done. Or, sometimes the opposite is true. I'll often spend 12 hours in the studio in a single day, and go multiple days without stepping a foot outdoors... literally.

Finding a healthy balance is essential, and it's something I still struggle with. I've recently bought myself a timer to help me do so.

Unlike a regular kitchen timer, this timer can count UP, so you can track the number of hours you've been working. You can track your day, or even several days work. There is a simple start/stop button, so whenever I step away from the easel, I just tap the button and my work timer pauses. When I sit back down, I just tap it again.

You can also set the alarm to go off at specific increments. So you can easily remind yourself to say, stretch every hour or so.

'Punching a clock', definitely helps me get more done. It also makes me more serious about the work I'm doing, as it forces me to make a literal declaration that I am working... NOW.

And best of all, when I hit the allotted hours I felt I needed to paint, I feel a lot less guilty about taking the rest of the night off.

There are a lot of options available, but the model I specifically use is the MARATHON TI080001 Large Digital Timer 24 Hour with Countdown, Countup & Clock Feature.
It is small, simple to operate, and so far works very well.


  1. Great tip, Dan.

    I need to remind myself to get away from my desk. The technique I'm currently experimenting is the Pomodoro Technique, a 25 minutes work / 5 minutes break cycle. I'm really enjoying it and it helps me to stay more focused and to get things done.

    Greetings, Meike

    1. I'm curious if you work digitally or traditionally, Mike. I can easily work at my computer for 25 minutes, take a break, and then get right back to it no problem. But it takes me half an hour just to find my groove at the easel. I feel like taking so many breaks would be difficult.

  2. I just started using and to track how much work I'm doing. It's the same idea as the timer though, you just get a nice graph at the end of the day. Oh...and I work digitally, so it might be easier with a timer if your'e at the easel.


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