What Is a Work Timer?

A work timer is a physical or digital tool used by employees to create a task timeframe and work on that particular task for a specific amount of time or until the timer goes off. Work timers can be manual (e.g., a stopwatch) or automated, as a feature integrated into a time tracking software.

How Are Work Timers Used?

The process of using a work timer usually looks like this. An employee has to finish a particular task, so they set a work timer for a short period, for example, 30 minutes. During that timeframe, they’re supposed to focus on the task in question until the timer goes off, after which they can take a short break (2-5 minutes) or a longer one, depending on their schedule.

One of the more famous time management techniques is the Pomodoro work timer technique. Pomodoro requires employees to complete four 30-minute work cycles before taking a longer break.

Work timers are useful in a work environment as they help employees track their personal productivity levels during work hours. Moreover, if the work timer is automated to record the time log entries, managers can also use it to track productivity.

Types of Work Timers

Manual Work Timers

Manual work timers are physical devices, such as manual stopwatches, kitchen timers, or any other type of device that can be used to measure portions of time and alert the user when the time is up. With them, employees have to write down the time logs from each task and use that data to plan out their future tasks.

Employees use manual work timers to isolate themselves during a time interval and work on their tasks without distractions or procrastination. At the end of each cycle, they can take a short break before they reset the clock and start working again.

Automated Work Timers

Work timers are often included as a feature in time tracking software or can be downloaded as a standalone app. Software work timers monitor employee activity on their work computers during work hours. Some of them can take into account the days of the week, the total work hours allocated for the tasks, the working schedule, and the task execution rate.

With this information, employees can plan their workdays by knowing how much time they need to spend on their tasks. On the other hand, managers use the work timer information to see which employees are working on which tasks, how long it takes to complete them, and whether some employees are having issues with the workload, all of which help them make project management decisions.

Most automated work timers don’t have to be manually turned on or off as this can be adjusted within the software. Employees only need to set the time interval for the timer and click play to start a new cycle. 

The Advantages of Using Work Timers

Improved Focus

Work timers allow employees to improve their focus as they work in shorter bursts of time and take breaks between each timer cycle to check their progress and review their completed tasks before moving on to new ones.

Time Management

Work timers allow employees to manage their time better and teach them to work more efficiently by grouping their tasks into short timeframes. This can often make it possible for them to do more work in less time.

Motivation and Productivity

By reminding them to finish their tasks within a certain timeframe, work timers help employees set achievable goals. They can be a great source of encouragement and motivation, leading to increased productivity and workplace engagement.


Employees use a work timer to identify the tasks that take up the most time during the workday. This may include an analysis of the work hours that were spent on various tasks, team meetings, brainstorming sessions, breaks, etc. 

When employees know which tasks take up most of their work hours, they can use that data to get a detailed view of their workday and better understand their personal time management skills. This allows employees to adjust task execution timing for present or future tasks that are part of their workload.