Q-Review: Perfect timing with Minuteur

minuteur.jpg*I’m a Mac guy, and so the software that I review is largely going to be for the Mac only. This review is no exception.*

For the last few years, I’ve used a time management technique called [*timeboxing*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeboxing) in order to avoid spending too much time noodling about with a particular task. If I need to tackle a task, I’ll give myself a chunk of time, a timebox, in which to accomplish it. It’s a simple but powerful way to shepherd your brain.

It works very well with open-ended tasks and activities that can expand to fill hours of the day. A couple of examples: I give myself 10 minutes per to conceive and rough out posts for the week. I often limit my RSS feedreading to 10 minutes on a busy morning.

> Personal timeboxing works to curb perfectionist tendencies by setting a firm time and not overcommit to a task. This method can also be used to overcome procrastination (delaying activities or tasks).

Obviously, you need a tool in order to make use of this technique. Some kind of timer. You can buy a physical eggtimer or steal that kitchen timer magnetized to your fridge, or you can install one of the dozens of timer applications, many of them free.

But allow me to save you a little time and point you to the best timer app out there: Minuteur.

### Good time(r)

Lets face it: a timer isn’t a real complicated tool, so there’s not a lot of hardcore functionality to address here. Minuteur counts down time and does it well. What sets it apart from the competition is the interface.

It’s got very configurable and customizable display options. For example, it’s main window is a small, unobtrusive counter that can be set to float on top of all windows and be visible at all times. It’s got a menubar icon that lets you display the remaining time in a number of ways, as a counter, as a thermometer, and as a ruler. It’s got a fullscreen mode with giant numbers visible from across a room.

You can set and control the timer via it’s main window interface, but it’s got a few easily customizable keyboard shortcuts, and it also comes with a host of applescript samples that you can use as is or customize into your own workflow.

It’s got a host of alarm sounds and visualizations that’ll jar you awake, or turn down iTunes and gently beep to let you know that your time is up.

### It counts down and counts up…your earnings!

Minuteur is also a full-featured time-tracking functionality. It’s able to create projects and track the time you’ve spent within each project. It tracks the date, time, rate, and has a description field for each working session, which comes in very handy when you’ve got a project that requires you to track what you’re working on very specifically.

It also gives the user the ability configure multiple rate profiles. If the services you provide have different pay rates, this feature makes it very convenient to switch between them.

### The verdict

Minuteur is a great timer application with a ton of great features. At $12, it’s a little steep for just a timer application. But considering that this is a very easy to use timer, chock full of keyboard shortcuts that make setting the timer easy and intuitive, it might be worth the dough because you’ll actually *use* it. And with the addition of the nice time tracking functionality, it’s really two separate but closely related apps rolled into one. I think it’s well worth it.

### Links

[Download Minuteur](http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/19356/minuteur)

[Timeboxing - *Wikipedia*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeboxing)