Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Time Management Tuesday: Maybe We Can Find A Little More Time For A Few Weeks

 Just last week I said I wouldn't be doing regular Time Management Tuesday posts, and here I am back already. Well, I found "something interesting and potentially useful to write about."

You Can Become A Morning Person Thanks to This Swedish Lifestyle Practice by Adrianne Webster describes how the Swedes do something called gokotta. From Ascension Day until midsummer, May 30th (According to Webster. Other sources say May 18 this year) to June 24th, they get up early to get some sun, listen to birds, and experience nature.

There are two things that should interest us about this practice: 1. It involves getting up early, and 2.  It involves temporal landmarks

Getting Up Early

I am sure we have all read about writers who get up at the crack of dawn, or earlier, to get in their writing time. We may have been advised to do it. We may have tried it.

You may have tried it.

How did it work for you? About as well as getting up early to exercise? Yeah, me, too.

I am going to argue that the Swedish rise-with-the-birds thing is different from the roll-out-of-bed-and-write thing. When the Swedes get out of bed on Ascension Day and the weeks that follow, they are not under any kind of pressure to achieve something. They don't have to get in X number of words before a certain point or they've wasted their early rising. They're getting up early for an experience, to pretty much just enjoy themselves. There's no reason to quit the practice because they've failed, because there's no failure.

Time management, I think, is often a matter of psyching ourselves out. If we got up earlier without the pressure of achieving something with writing but to go outside for a while, make the kids eat breakfast on the deck, or "For mumblety-peg, if that's where your heart lies,' as Frank Gilbreth says at the end of Cheaper by the Dozen, how much easier would it be to do? We could probably do it a lot more often. 

How would that help us as writers since we wouldn't be using that hour or more for work? We would still have an hour or more in that day that we wouldn't have had if we'd stayed in bed. Sometime during the day, we would have some time we wouldn't otherwise have had. And what do writers do when they find themselves with some extra time? You get my point with this.

Temporal Landmarks

Notice the Swedes don't get up with the birds all year long. Gokotta begins and ends with a temporal landmark, Ascension Day and midsummer. In fact, you could say that gokotta is a temporal event. 

Temporal landmarks are events on the calendar that mark some kind of change in our lives. Because of that change, we often feel we can start something new. For people tied to the school year for some reason, summer vacation, semester breaks, the new school year are all temporal landmarks. National Novel Writing Month may have become a temporal landmark for many writers. Holidays are often temporal landmarks and many of those, like Ascension Day, are connected to religious practice of some sort.

Gokotta is another temporal landmark that makes me feel I can change, can get up a little earlier. I've been doing it for a couple of days. To be honest, I've been doing it because we have people here working on the house. But, nonetheless, I've been up earlier and outside earlier and the day does seem longer. I have spent what has seemed like more time reading and writing.

Yes, I am suggesting we take a practice designed to improve wellness and try using it for our own benefit. And I am suggesting we take another temporal landmark and try using it for our own benefit.

In fact, I'd like to fill up my entire year with temporal landmarks I can use for my own benefit.

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