Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Time Management Tuesday: Falling Off The Time Management Wagon

I had planned to write this week about some experimenting I was doing with juggling time so I could squeeze in a little writing on the weekend, hoping, of course, that that could become a regular thing. However, the experiment fell apart because my personal time demands snuck over the boundary into my professional time on Friday and that impacted what I'd hoped to do professionally on the weekend.

I come from a family with many members with compulsive problems with food, alcohol, money, and drugs. We had a hoarder before we knew what hoarding was. So I think in terms of metaphors related to addictive behaviors.

For instance, I was reading an article sometime this past month in which the writer was advising someone with money management issues and recommending the equivalent of the old envelope system for setting aside and saving money for monthly expenses. I immediately started thinking about time. If only there were a way to put aside unused time and bank it for the future. When I've binged on time wasters, particularly in the morning, I tend to believe the day is shot, much as dieters will often feel they might as well give up that day's eating plan because they wrecked it with a donut, anyway. All is lost.

Things haven't been going quite that badly for me since I've been obsessing on time management this year. A few weeks ago I found myself reading comments on an article on-line. All of a sudden I kind of gasped and thought, You're not supposed to be doing this now! Instead of throwing my hands in the air and giving up, I used that technique I've heard from yoga and taekwondo instructors during meditation--If your mind wanders, simply bring it back. No passing judgment on yourself, just go back to the task at hand. On Friday I had a medical meeting for an elder at mid-day, which required a little prep time in the morning. But when I found myself with more than an hour left before I had to leave, I realized I could do a 45-minute work unit. I was able to do two or three in the afternoon after I got home, too. For the next two weeks, I'll be losing at least an extra half day of worktime to check in on an elder because the person who took that job over from me last September can't get time off from work right now. In the past I would have thought those weeks are just torn asunder because of an all-or-nothing attitude toward my schedule. This time I'll be trying to get a 45-minute work unit in before I leave and after I get back on that "lost" day.

So when your schedule falls apart, what do you do? Beat yourself up? Give up and try another day? Soldier on? What's the best way to deal with this particular time problem?

3 comments:

Becky Levine said...

Great post for me this week--I can see work pressing in for the next month or so and threatening the balance I've had, that lets me get time into the fiction. I think you've hit the nail on the head--no beating ourselves up, but recognizing windows and using them. And then moving, as relaxedly as possible, onto the next demand. Frustration and tension are creativity and productivity killers. :)

tanita davis said...

Because I don't have the pressures of kids and a daytime job, I can start my day over when I feel like it's all gone to crap, in terms of schedule. Lately, I've sat at my desk at 9 a.m., and then had SO MUCH correspondence and little detail-y stuff to do, that it's noon before I can get started. I walk away, then, and say, "Fine. We'll do this again." At 3, I'm back, and if I can write 'til 7, it does mean that Tech Boy is on his own for food, but meh, he can manage. I prefer to work smarter by not dealing with correspondence until AFTER the work gets done, but... it'll get done. I keep telling that to myself, and trying to avoid conflating artificial deadlines and time constructs.

gail said...

Tanita--I was reading a couple of back issues of Yoga Journal this past weekend. "...it'll get done" sounds very yogic.

"...recognizing windows and using them. And then moving, as relaxedly as possible, onto the next demand" does, too, Becky.