It's time to talk about clocks - backgammon clocks. We use them in our tournaments.
Some people are under the mistaken impression that the use of clocks in backgammon is an indicator of the seriousness of the players - that they're designed for advanced players, not beginners. This is not true. One might even go so far as to call it a Big Lie.
Clocks are used to help ensure that tournament matches move along at a reasonable, but not excessively fast, pace. That means less time waiting around for your next match and less pressure on you to hold off saying to your opponent, "Would you make your damn move already?"
So we use them to enhance everyone's enjoyment. As an added bonus, anyone stumbling into the backgammon room who sees you using a clock will automatically think you must be really good, justified or not.
Clocks are simple to use. At the beginning of each match, each player gets a certain amount of time in which to make all of his/her moves during the game (called the bank). This amount of time is 14 minutes for a 7-point match and 10 minutes for a 5-point match. But, it gets even easier. Each player also gets a certain amount of time to make a given move. This amount of time is 12 seconds. (Actually quite long. Try it. 1...2...3...4...) The player does not use up any time from his/her bank unless he/she takes more than 12 seconds for a given move.
The net result is that most moves do not use up any of the time in the bank. Just save your deep thinking for the tough ones. And do not doze off while it's your move. If your bank goes to zero, you lose the match.
To use the clock, just depress the button on your side of the clock when you complete your move. That will start the timer for your opponent, and vice versa. You'll also be using only one pair of dice during the match. Depressing that button signifies that you have completed your move and your opponent can then pick up the dice.
In short - Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.