Emergent Task Timer 2007 Form Updates

Emergent Task Timer 2007 Form Updates

The Emergent Task TimerHere’s the first of the daily forms to get a slight cosmetic 2007 update: The Emergent Task Timer. If you get distracted a lot in your workplace, the ETT is designed to keep you on-task and pace the day. It consists of two pieces:

  • A paper tracking form that splits the day into 15-minute increments
  • A kitchen timer that goes off every 15 minutes.

Then follow these steps:

  1. At the start of the day, write down what tasks you are planning to get done, then set the timer for 15 minutes and GO.
  2. Every time the timer goes off, you check what you were doing and fill in a bubble.

  3. If an unexpected task or event takes you away from what you were doing—or you catch yourself doing something you’re not supposed to do—add a new line and fill in the appropriate bubbles.


p>Here’s an example:

Example of ETT 02 I’m easily distracted, and when I really need to focus I will break out this form or use the online prototype. The kitchen timer is key to making sure that a quick “email check” turns DOESN’T TURN into a 2 hour surfing expedition.

You can read more about the design behind the Emergent Task Timer, or just download the 2007 editions below:

» Download The Emergent Task Timer 8 hours » PCEO-ETT01-Standard.pdf

» Download The Emergent Task Timer 12 hours » PCEO-ETT02-StandardWide.pdf

» Download The Emergent Task Timer 12 hours, 5min bubbles » PCEO-ETT02A-StandardWide.pdf

» Download The Emergent Task Timer 12 hours, laser-friendly » PCEO-ETT03-PowerUserWideBW.pdf

If you prefer online tools, then give the Flash Prototype a spin. It’s still pretty rough, but it gives you the 15-minute timer and a way of noting your time. The finished tool will allow you rearranging items, scroll, and so forth, but for now this is what’s available. You can print out the forms at the end of the day.


  1. MikeTLive 17 years ago

    looking at your example I am immediately suspect.
    there should be no time that a new task starts before a prior task was started. unless you wrote down the prior task and didnt do anything on it until later.

    if my time sheets ever had that kind of a gap they were held for questioning and i needed to explain myself.

    since this is a sheet of 15m increments, not hours per day such a variance is more easily explained.

    my comment became rather long winded so I combined it with a comment to the earlier ETT post and put it on my blog.

  2. Dave Seah 17 years ago

    Mike: In the morning I might start off with a list of things I’d need/want to do that day, but I might end up starting a different one for whatever reason. It might be an email or call from a client, causing me to reprioritize the order of things. It sounds like you were expected to single-task on a project until you were done for billing purposes, though in reality you may have switched from task to task.

  3. Anneliese 17 years ago

    The kitchen timer is key to making sure that a quick “email check” turns into a 2 hour surfing expedition.

    Hehe, I think that is supposed to say that it doesn’t turn into a 2 hour surfing expedition. I had to laugh, because it does seem that all of my e-mail checks do turn into surfing expeditions!

    I’m definitely going to try this out; it’s as if it’s made for me. Thanks so much!


  4. Dave Seah 17 years ago

    Annelise: Oops, you’re right! :-) Thanks for the catch! Freudian slip! :-D

  5. Bob O'Malley 17 years ago

    Love the new versions of the ETT.  Two quick comments/complaints/requests:  :)

    <li>Why doesn’t the Power User version have the annotation grid at the bottom between the Notes and the last Task line?  You added it to the other versions, and it looks great!  Love to have it on the PowerUser version, too.</li>
    <li>Similar question about the 5-minute bubbles: any way we can get them added to the Power User version?  I prefer that form as it has the most available Task lines (15 instead of 12 on the other 12-hour forms).</li>

    Thanks again for these great forms.  I’ve been using them religiously for about three months now, and they’ve helped out a lot.  Makes me accountable to myself and more keeps me from going down that rabbit hole for too long a period!

    Bob O’Malley

  6. tic616 17 years ago

    My God! – I’m stressed … every 15 minutes you said?