Gadgets and Apps to Boost Your Word Count

Siri, can you boost my word count?We’ve talked a lot about using timers to boost your overall productivity here on the StyleMatters’ blog. Whether it’s a community or competition-based writing sprint to challenge yourself to write more or strict adherence to the Pomodoro Technique to watch your word count soar, using a timer as a productivity tool can set you up for success as a writer.

There’s a lot of clever ways, too, to engage the use of a timer. Today, I’m featuring a few of my favorite timers and time-tracking apps to keep you on task.

1.)  Siri – I’ve heard it said recently that Siri has lost her luster, but the iOS voice-recognition software gets a lot of use at my desk. Not only do I rely heavily on the command, “Remind me to…” to stay on deadline, she has a robust timing feature that makes using the Pomodoro Technique and similar productivity methods a breeze. I simply push a button and say, “Set a timer for…” and Siri does the rest!

2.)  Google – For many, Google is essential for every day life. Email, calendars, search engine, blogging, phone calls, text messages, and more are all done and/or delivered through your Google account. But there’s lots of clever ways the online giant can assist you with your writing – even with just their search bar. Next time you need to set a timer, head to and simply type in “timer 25 minutes” (without the quotes) and Google will let you know when your time’s up.

3.)  FreshBooks – If you’re tracking your time, not just for productivity, but also for billing, FreshBooks is a powerhouse application that you should be using. It’s the easiest way to manage your clients, send your invoices, and track your expenses online and on your mobile device. With their free accounts, small business owners and freelancers have lots of incredible functionality that increases dramatically with their reasonably priced paid accounts.

4.)  Stop watch – This might be old fashioned, but – sometimes – what I really need is my stopwatch. I’ve had it since my early days on the high school debate team and, when I need to sit down and work distraction free, I often do it with nothing more than a legal pad and my handy stopwatch. I start the timer, grab my pen, and get down to writing. This tactic is especially powerful for me in the early brainstorming and outlining stages of a new writing project. I can clear my mind, organize my thoughts, and see all the benefits associated with the various timed productivity methods.

Do you adhere to any specific system to keep yourself on task as a writer? If so, what kind of timer do YOU use?

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