The measure of time to your next goal is the measure of your discipline.
Ah, the wisdom of the fortune cookie. Once again, it nailed me. In fact, I found the fortune so prophetic that I taped it to my laptop where it could remind me to stay focused on the task at hand. I need such reminders as I have a horrible penchant for wandering and losing track of time. I do this both when overly focused on a project and when avoiding a project (be it subconsciously or consciously). It has on rare occasion been a blessing, but mostly it is a curse.
One of my tactics for better managing time is to be more acutely aware of its passage. A classic trick I have been using recently that I picked up while in law school long ago was setting the timer for one hour. Dividing time into hours instead of other lesser or greater blocks allows me to intently focus on one thing for an hour without it seeming like too big or too small a time commitment.
I often use the hour-long timer trick in the late afternoons with Cheyenne to denote the hour we will devote to whatever chores we have to get done. Neither one of us typically feels like doing them at that time of day, but I have found that my resolve only decreases as the day turns into evening; so, I set the timer and we push through it. Amazingly, we almost always find that we are done with the dreaded chores with a solid 20-30 minutes left to spare. I am not sure if we actually work faster with the timer set or just more accurately capture how long any given chore takes. It may seem like it takes 20 minutes to empty the dishwasher as a isolated task, but when the clock is ticking you may see it more accurately takes 5 minutes.
I wish the same was true for intellectual work such as writing. I have found that I tend to underestimate how long things will take to complete in that arena. The timer trick has helped me to more realistically conceptualize the time commitment for projects. I am more likely to view the work in chunks than a marathon writing session that blows out a weekend (not that there is anything wrong with that).
Timer trick or not, the time marches on relentlessly and there just never seems to be enough of it. Not that I use all my time wisely or purposefully – I don’t. I do the best I can with my limitations as an imperfect human.
My next goal tonight is to wrap up my blog and to move on to the long list of quickie-tasks on my to-do list for an hour. I try and get at least one hour of that in each day as it increases my perception of my accomplishments even if they are relatively minor. Sometimes you need a pat on the back even if it is self-administered. Ah, but there goes the timer and I am off to the next hour – tick…tock…tick…tock – time waits for no woman, but especially for a woman with a timer beeping.
Day one thousand two hundred and eighty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da