Need to Get More Done in Law School? Try The Buzzer.

Photo of a timer Of the three methods of time management awesomeness, The Buzzer is definitely the easiest. But that’s not to say it’s without its charms!

How to Implement The Buzzer

Using The Buzzer technique couldn’t be easier – simply find something with a timer (your smart phone is a good starting point, or you can download programs for your computer or even get an old fashioned egg timer) and set the timer for 45 minutes. Start working. Don’t move until the buzzer goes off. Take a break and repeat as needed.

You’re probably scoffing at the idea that this could be effective, but, surprisingly, it is.

The only catch is that you can’t allow any interruptions. No bathroom breaks, no email, no web browsing, no phone calls, no text messages. All of those things have to wait until after the timer goes off.

Advantages of The Buzzer

If you’re really feeling stuck, this technique can be helpful in getting you started again. It’s not absolutely required that you accomplish any work in the allotted time. What’s required is that you sit down to work, and stay there until the buzzer goes off.

You can stare into space, you can drink your coffee, you can doodle, but you can’t leave.

At some point, odds are you’ll get bored and start working, but just let it flow. Ironically, the less you try to force things, the more you’re likely to accomplish!

Read on:

More time management tips of awesomeness:

  1. The Circles
  2. The Units
  3. The Buzzer

Return to Surviving Law School 101.

Other helpful links:

  • For a much longer discussion of the joys of timers, check out this Lifehacker piece on timers that promises to improve your sanity and your productivity.
  • For a slight variant, take a look at The Pomodoro Technique, which, believe it or not, comes complete with its own certification and training program!

Think this is the silliest thing you’ve ever heard? Sound off in the comments!

Image by pasukaru via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


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  1. I would also suggest It’s an inexpensive program you download onto your Mac, obviously, and it blocks you from the internet. You can set it for 15 minutes or 15 hours. I use it a lot in class to prevent myself from gchatting with friends. The best part about Macfreedom is that you can’t just shut it off. To end the program, you have to shut down your computer and restart it – something that makes me seriously reconsider cheating.

    Great site!


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