Forgetting to turn off timer?

Does anyone have any good tricks for remembering to turn off a goal timer? I find that too often I remember hours later that I never stopped a timer and then I have to guess how much time I actually spent on activity X.

Let me guess, you’re on Android?

Yup. :slight_smile:

Let’s just say with the iOS Beeminder app you won’t have that problem :wink:

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Haha. That bug is almost a feature.

I think a better solution on the app side might be a persistent notification while any timer is running.

Set up a beeminder goal for “turn off all timers that I turned on today”, rate 7/week, exponential pledges.

I fail to understand how that would solve his problem.

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You should be seeing a notification with timer controls when a timer is running as of Beedroid 2.6.2. What version of Android are you running?

Just checked, and it does indeed show a notification, which I’m glad to see. (Thanks for the tip!) Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to prevent me from forgetting my timers up to this point. =P Not sure what else the app could reasonably do to make it less likely to be forgotten.

Any other ideas on how I could do better on my end?

I don’t think you will like this idea very much but in fact because of the aforementioned¹ bug I got into the habit of checking on the stopwatch constantly² out of fear it would disappear.
So switch to iOS while the bug is still there :wink:

On a more serious note: You could try to rely on the ticking sound of pomodoro apps. This way you have audible feedback that there is a timer running. Instead of measuring the time with the Beeminder app you’d measure the time with the pomodoro app happily ticking away and then enter your 25 minutes when it’s done. Of course that’s yet another tool in the box which needs clicking. But maybe for now that’s better than not having any data on how long you did something.

¹ I always wanted to use this word
² About every 15-20 minutes

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Was that to me? My suggested goal would help because the threat of losing money will help him remember. It’s amazing how your memory improves when you have something at stake.

It was indeed.

His problem is not so much forgetting to turn off the timer… but turning it off at the right time.

How would your suggestion help with that?

I don’t understand the difference.

He’s forgetting to turn it off after he finishes working on the task. If, in the back of his mind, he knows there’s money at stake, it’ll help him remember that “finish working on task” gets followed by “turn off timer.”

Maybe there’s a misunderstanding here. To me this:

sounds like a thing he’d check off in the evening before going to bed. When the damage is already done. Am I reading this wrong?

@phi I really like your idea of using a pomodoro timer. Of course, the 25-minute increment would work better for some tasks than for others, but I could adjust the intervals based on what I’m doing (5 minutes for short stuff, ~1 hour for super long stuff). I also thought about perhaps just setting a timer for the estimated time I think the task will take, and setting a new timer if I need more time. When I’m in the house Alexa could make that pretty painless.

It could be set up either way: as a “Do Less” where he checks it as soon as he realizes he forgot, or a “Do More” that he checks off the next day if he didn’t forget any timers.

Not sure what you mean - beeminder goals always charge you after the damage is done.

Damage in the sense that by the time he realises he forgot to stop the timer in time, he already lost the information he seeked. That damage is done. And now he can only guesstimate how long he spent on the task.
Having to guess this is already punishment in a sense, is it not? And clearly that’s not a strong enough motivator.
I can of course only speak for me but I am almost certain a “don’t forget to not forget” would not work for me. I don’t think that’s how my brain works. Not even if this would result in additional punishment. For one thing it would happen way too late. I’m not convinced this would result in the mind making a link between the forgetting and the being penalised for it.

That, or count it as 0 since he didn’t keep accurate time. That would be another way to do it.

But yes, the information is lost - nothing can be done about that.

By that logic Beeminder wouldn’t work for anything - the penalty always hits the next day.

Used the timer trick this morning. Seems to work great. All I have to do is estimate how much time I’ll probably spend on the task before I start, then set a timer for that amount of time outside beeminder. Optionally, I can also start the Beeminder timer, knowing I have a reminder set for turning it off.

Thanks for the help, @phi! :smiley:

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Late to the party, but my tip would be to try to combine the thing you’re timing with a timeboxing technique like pomodoro or something similar.

For example, I had a hell of a time tracking my goal phrased as “Minutes of standing desk time” because I’d never turn the timer off. But “Pomodoros at standing desk” was easily done.