Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hints and Tips - Using the Timer

There are many different techniques used to try and generate new ideas in a brainstorming session, one of these is to use a timer, ie set a time limit on a brainstorming session. Allocating a specific amount of time can focus attendees’ attention, be seen as a challenge to generate more ideas and can also help make sure you don't spend too much time on one topic.

On the flip side, for some attendees, it can also be seen as a negative, as it may lead to panic and a mental block, limiting the number of ideas produced. However, this can be overcome by using a timer just to get you started, or by breaking your session down into different time intervals, which prompts you to move you through the sessions and cover all of the areas you need to, rather than spending too much time on one or more of the sections.

The MindGenus timer can be accessed via the Home ribbon and can be set to time down for setting a time limit on the session, or up, to show the elapsed time so far. Once selected, it is always displayed for the time you specify, even if you switch to full screen mode.

Fig 1: Selecting the Timer from the Home Ribbon

Fig 2: The Timer selected and set for 15 minutes

As well as brainstorming, the timer can also be useful for allocating a set period of time to get those tricky tasks started, or to overcome procrastination. Do you use the timer? Do you use it for any other purpose?

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