It is designed for use with special needs children, to give them an idea of how long they must spend on task, but I think it will do equally well in our local writers' group. Our rule is that pieces should take no longer than five minutes to read out, which as chair, I am supposed to monitor. But I find it very hard to make sure everyone sticks to this. My awareness of time is not good, and I have a tendency to become so engrossed listening to other people's pieces, that at the end of some of them I can't believe that so much time has passed. So I am hoping to do better with the aid of this timer.
There is something hypnotically zen about watching sand flow away. I imagine my mind emptying with the sand, and then, for maybe five minutes more, contemplate the place where the sand had once been - and then, soon, will flow to again.