A baffle is easy to construct to shade your film-developing area.

Unless you count seconds with a metronome, like Micheal R does (and I do as well in my European darkroom), you need to see something, either the phosphorescent hands of your GrayLab or the red LEDs on my Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer. Just keep it as far away from the film as practical and build yourself a baffle out of cardboard, etc. to shade the work area. You could even put the timer deep inside a box as long as you could still see the hands.