A number of months ago, I read this post over at Quirkey, software developer Aaron Quint's awesome blog. In his post, he talks about setting his computer to report the time to him every half-hour. On a Mac, you can do this in your prefs, and you can choose from among the dozen or so voices included in the operating system. The reason AQ had the time reported to him seemed simple and smart. He said,
Having this friendly reminder every half-an-hour, not only reminds me of what I need to be doing, but lets me break up time into useful chunks.
After a few months of setting my computer to do the same thing (I set mine to announce on the hour), I realized that hadn't been really changing my behavior at all, despite being newly aware of the time. So, I wondered, what if I told myself to do some specific productive action when the time was announced. What would happen then?
I decided on drinking water; we (I) certainly don't drink enough water.
So now, when my computer's says "it's four o'clock" (like it just has), I get up and get a drink of water.