Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time Management Tuesday: The Self-Discipline Nightmare

Though I've been writing about time management here at Original Content for nearly half a year now, I've been seeking the perfect time management plan for much longer. Recently I've been going through my writers' workbooks and seeing all kinds of efforts I've made over the last three years to get control over my time or, rather, to make better use of my time. For a couple of months I've been thinking that the issue of self-discipline needs to come into play when managing time. But it's not something I've been thinking about a lot or thinking about in any coherent way.

Then last Thursday night I had an honest-to-God self-discipline nightmare. I could address different aspects of the dream and where they came from in my waking life, but not many people enjoy reading about that kind of analysis. So I'll just stick to the basic story.

I was on the first day of a multiple-day classroom visit. I was supposed to be making a presentation in one classroom, but when I got there, I realized that I had nothing prepared. (Yes, this is a variation on the Yikes! I have a political science exam and I haven't cracked the book all semester dream!) I truly didn't know what I was going to talk about. I turned to the chalkboard (Point--not many classrooms have chalkboards anymore. What does the chalkboard mean here? Wait. I said I wasn't going to discuss things like that.) and wrote the word "self-discipline" on it.

Then, the next thing I knew, it was night time and I was asleep on a bed in the classroom. (A family member asked why there was a bed in the classroom. I am not addressing that kind of issue here.) I was horrified. I had no recollection of what I had talked to those kids about, so I didn't know what I should talk to them about the next time I met with them. Also, I had every reason to believe that I had fallen asleep during my presentation, since I couldn't recall anything happening after writing "self-discipline" on the chalkboard. My humiliation was total.

This dream was so disturbing that I woke up. It was so disturbing that I was awake for a couple of hours afterward and never did more than doze until I got up for the day. By 7:30 I was guzzling diet Coke with caffeine because I was already exhausted.

I'm no fool. I know when I'm getting a message from the Universe or the great beyond or some higher intelligence that thinks I need a nudge. So by the time I got up, I decided I needed to do some studying on self-discipline. Right off the bat, I started hunting on-line for an Idiot's Guide to Self-discipline or Self-discipline for Dummies. Well, guess what? I didn't find one. Okay, if those fine series weren't covering the topic, there must be some go-to expert on the subject. Someone who had done some research. Someone who could write about the science of self-discipline. If so, he or she isn't easily found. Yeah, I turned up a few books, but what I was looking for was THE book.

I have not given up, though. The quest has hardly begun. You can expect to find the subject of self-discipline cropping up periodically on Tuesdays for the rest of the year.


Anonymous said...

Dr Anonymous here. I think your dream tells us that you are putting too much pressure on yourself. Self-discipline has never made me a better writer. Selfishness has, though. I am not sure that any amount of time management can compensate for not having the time -you- need to write. Sure, I can write in little spaces carved out of the day, but I couldn't write WELL. And what is the point of writing if you are efficiently turning out a product that isn't your best? I need long quiet uninterrupted hours (much of it spent daydreaming about other stuff) to write and that's just the way it is. Sure, I'd like to be more efficient, but I know what happens when I go down that road, so I try not to beat myself up about it.

Alison said...

I relate to the dream thing. I figure those sort of dreams as my subconscious trying to tell me something. Self discipline. Personally, I interpret (your dream) two ways. A. that you need to up the self-discipline drive or B. you need to put it down and allow yourself to get back into rhythm with your own life. I personally have the dilemma of point A. I'm a driver, I have to do stuff and get upset when I don't (to the detriment) of point B, where I neglect the rhythm of how my life should be. so I thought I'd share that, as this article struck a nerve with me (the dreams! I'm relieved others have the same sort of dreams and anxieties.) (: All the best sorting through life to a workable solution.

Gail Gauthier said...

Wow. You should charge for that, Doctor.

A number of years ago, I did come to terms with being a writer who needed a lot of time. But when my family demands became greater at the same time that I was experiencing, shall we say, a professional downturn, I started experiencing frustration, feeling that I could make everything right if I could just do things differently with what time I had.

Perhaps some Time Management Tuesday I will think about a "slow writing movement," something like the "slow food movement."

Gail Gauthier said...

Ah, Alison, which way to go? Which way?

Perhaps I will have an answer by the end of the year.

MotherReader said...

If I found a great book on self-discipline, I doubt I could rally the self-discipline to read it. But if you find a solution, please let me know. ;)

Gail Gauthier said...

If I find a solution, I'm going to write a book, create DVDs, speak at conferences all over the country, and become rich.