Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Have One Word For You--Lent.

I usually write about time management on Tuesdays and this is Thursday, so what's going on here? Well, I thought of something today that some of you might want to consider, and consider soon.

For those people whose faith/spiritual tradition involves observing the season of Lent, I'd just like to point out that Lent is a unit of time. Units of time are significant in time management because we can use them for planning tasks. At the beginning of units of time, our will power is often at its highest. Working with a unit of time that has a specific ending date is supposed to increase efficiency because people work harder when they know they're going to have to stop. Lent ends either on Holy Thursday or the evening before Easter. I didn't even realize Lent was here until today because Easter is a moveable feast, and someone moved it to the end of March this year. Easter is early. Lent is early. I didn't do any planning for it, but I'm itching to get my hands on this unit of time now.

Here's my thinking: Traditionally, people give something up during Lent as a form of penance. Would it be dreadful to give up something that damages our writing practice so that we're using our abstinence for something other than penance?  Facebook before quitting time? Checking e-mail before lunch break? Yes? No? I'm also wondering about using the Lenten period to add something to our work lives instead of giving something up or to use it as an extended training period. I'm wondering about using it to develop discipline/willpower. Would it be so very bad to use Lent to try to improve ourselves?

I'm going to take a chance and use Lent as a training period for discipline. I've been noticing that the beginnings of weeks are better for me, at least psychologically. Wednesdays and Thursdays, when I rarely work because I'm doing elder care, have become very hard for me recently. The unending small family- and life-related tasks seem particularly overwhelming on those days. It's hard to recover on Friday, and then the weekends go primarily to family and personal work again. It's not just a matter of needing to find a way to overcome what's happening to me so I can make the best use of what work time I have. I have to find a way to overcome what's happening to me so I don't meltdown.

I came up with a plan yesterday to focus on those Mondays and Tuesdays in an up and cheery way instead of focusing on those Wednesdays and Thursdays in a doom and gloomy way. I could be far more selective about which telephone calls I take (I have the technology to do that), for instance. I could stick to checking e-mail after lunch and start holding off on replying to personal e-mail until evening. Yes, I could do those things. Usually plans like those fill me full of joy.  (I think they had something to say about that in the Yoga Journal Boost Your Willpower program.) But this time I was having trouble cranking up any enthusiasm. I'm already up to my neck in managing time. How much more can I do?

Lots more!

Someone asked me today if I'd given up chocolate for Lent when I turned down an offer of some. I told her Lent had blown past me this year because Easter won't stay put. I hadn't been prepared for it. She insisted that it's never too late to take part in Lent. I don't know this woman. She attends a drop in yoga class I've only dropped in on twice. I wouldn't recognize her. Clearly she's more devout than I am, since she mentioned speaking to her priest last night, Ash Wednesday, and the last time I spoke to my minister it was because we were both at the bank. But...but...she may have been one of those yoga messengers you hear about in the Bible or some place. Ya think?

I realized she was right when she said,  "It's never too late to take part in Lent," because it only started yesterday, one of my worst days of the week. My worst day of the week was the first day of Lent. Oh, yes. A sign. I can do Lent!

I now have a 40-day training period to work on developing some Monday and Tuesday discipline. Well, a 38-day training period, because 2 days are gone. I am psyched, though. And when that  training period is over, the Easter Bunny will be coming. It's all good.

I know that woman said it's never too late to take part in Lent, but I wouldn't wait too long, if I were you.

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