If you’re struggling with time management at work, you might benefit from a clearly visible analogue clock.
Why? Because although digital clocks are very good at telling us what time it is, they are less good at illustrating how much time has passed—and that can be an issue for people who have trouble pacing their work throughout the day or hitting mid-day deadlines.
Money.com recently shared a list of expert tips to help you improve your workspace, and quoted Susie Hayman, president of the National Association of Productivity and Organising Professionals, on the benefits of an analogue clock:
“An analogue clock helps with time management, because you can actually ‘see’ the time pass,” she says.
Lifehacker readers may remember that we’ve written about this very benefit before, in a post on why children still need analogue clocks. As Lifehacker’s Michelle Woo explained:
With an analogue clock (particularly one with a second hand), kids can visualise the passage of time as it happens, making them more aware of this moment relative to the past and future. It can give them a feel for how long it takes to complete certain tasks—say, washing the dishes or writing a book report—and plan accordingly. Seeing time as a one-hour pie can also help them break down projects into smaller tasks more intuitively.
Of course, we often forget that adults can get the same benefits from analogue timepieces. Watching the minutes pass makes us more aware of how much time has gone by since we started a task, as well as how much time is left—and might help us learn how to break down our projects into smaller tasks, too.
There’s one more benefit to the analogue timepiece, and that’s its ability to ward off “top of the hour” procrastination. We’ve all done the thing where we look at a digital clock, note that the time is (for example) 1:43 p.m., and tell ourselves that we’ll start our next task at 2.
And sure, maybe we really do need a break, but we’re also telling ourselves that there isn’t enough time between 1:43 and 2:00 to get anything done—even though an analogue clock would reveal that we had more than a quarter of an hour. That’s enough time to clean out an email inbox, file a stack of papers, or get seventeen minutes into your next big project.
So if you don’t have an analogue clock at your desk or workspace, it might be time (pun intended) to get one. Yes, clockwatching can make the day drag by, but it can also reveal just how much time you really have—and help you spend it wisely.