I always thought my Mom was a little nuts with her timers. We joked about it a lot. I learned at a young age to run and tell Mom when the stove timer went off because if there was nothing cooking, it meant that she can stop doing whatever it was that she was doing. "Oh thank you, I can stop cleaning my room now. Oh thank you, I can stop exercising now. Oh thank you, I can stop...)
I actually liked to deliver this news to her. To hear the happy tone in her voice, to hear what it was that she had been doing, to be the bearer of good news - You may now stop doing what you are doing!
My Mom always seemed so energized during these "sessions". I would hear her quick steps on the wood floors above, rushing from here to there, and knew she was in power mode. It sent positive messages to me as a child. That even the most undesirable tasks can bring you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. That you can focus on a task better if you set a timer. That chipping away at an overwhelming job is better than letting it sit forever.
Now I have learned that there is a whole technique built around the concept of setting a timer - The Pomodoro Technique. Hooray, now I can raise my son roll his eyes at the sound of a timer! Oh and now I can quietly teach my son how fun it is to be productive, how easy it is, how empowering it is.
If you like to set timers, go check it out! It's FREE and it's been working wonders for me.