I have a long history of spacing out crucial activities when writing at the computer. I’ve forgotten about water filling up the bathtub, which didn’t have a properly working overflow drain. I’ve burned up two teapots on the stove. I’ve left the bathroom exhaust fan run more than necessary at greater expense. And other events I’d rather not remember.

Because of all these untoward events that have taken my time away from editorial work, I’ve begun to convert many activities into timed events.

I no longer use a teapot on the stove. Instead, I use an electric hot water kettle that shuts off automatically when water begins to boil. I love this thing. I turn it on and I know it is to OK forget about it. I have gained tremendous peace of mind and don’t waste time and money hunting around again for another teapot.

I replaced the wall switch for the bathroom exhaust fan with a mechanical count-down timer.

There are scads of different timers to help prevent mental anguish and ruined propery. Two such devices I’ve found useful are 1) the Woods 50030 Indoor Countdown Timer Outlet and 2) the Belkin Conserve Socket Energy-Saving Outlet with Timer. Each provides a different amount of time for count down. Se the time and press a button. whatever is plugged in — such as a heating pad == will turn off automatically.

Overall, these devices are becoming so prolific and affordable that incorporating them into the writing life is easy.

As for drawing water into the bathtub. Well, I’ve switched mostly to showers where I am present most of the time. Otherwise, I have a hard and fast rule. When drawing the water, I can never be near a computer.

— Bruce Miller