Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Life Management 101--I Launch a Time Quest

With this post, I am expanding my Tuesday concentration from Procrastinating 101 to the broader Life Management 101.  The blog has been reflecting this wider spectrum of interest, probably because my challenges in getting and keeping my life together include, but are plainly not limited to procrastination.  

For the next several weeks, I will try to process and apply what I am reading in Laura Stack's Find More Time:  How to Get Things Done at Home, Organize Your Life, and Feel Great About It.  I selected this book with great care, having determined this morning that it was available at my nearest library, that it had a woman stretched out in a deck chair on the cover, and that it seemed targeted at my biggest concern at the moment.  You know, that made up scourge, that construct about which the late George Carlin waxed so hilariously in his routine "Does the Time Bother You?"  Because yes, it does.  

Of course, I know the problem is not with time, but rather with the way I think about time and fall victim to that thinking, and with my own ineptness when it comes to all things chronological.  So I'm hopeful that Ms. Stack will offer some suggestions that will help improve the situation. Something to render me capable of comprehending, and accepting some of time's basic properties.  For example, its vexsome single-strandedness, by which I mean the limits it places on us which disallow potentially useful simultaneity.  Why can't I be in two places at once, when I so obviously need to be?

It would probably be best, however, if I stopped whining about time, and began to discover how to get along with it better.  And to find more of it, as Ms. Stack promises, although I suspect that this promotion may turn out to be a bit of a loss leader, or a bait and switch tactic.  

Nevertheless, I have decided to approach this investigation with an open mind, and to engage in the prescribed steps which are supposed to lead me to the hidden stash of minutes and hours I seek.  

Stack concludes her introductory chapter with a quiz, designed to measure the strength of the 8 "pillars of productivity," which support our lives.  These pillars are:  1)Plans; 2)Priorities; 3)Personality; 4)Pests [really, how we deal with "time wasters and robbers that keep [us] from accomplishing what [we] set out to do"]; 5)Possessions; 6)Paper; 7)Post (our job); and 8)Play.

The good news is there are only 80 questions on the quiz.  The bad news is that my composite score put me squarely in the second worst category--"Major repairs required."  Only "Red flag!  Structurally unsound!" would have been worse.  I am apparently especially lacking with respect to Possessions, Paper, Personality and Play.  No wonder I'm having such a hard time functioning! 

Perhaps it doesn't sound as if I am taking this seriously.  Probably because I ran out of time today--again--and it's late, and I'm not as coherent as I might wish.  But in the weeks to come, I intend to explore what Ms. Stack's perspective has to offer, and to try to learn how to shore up my sagging pillars.  Because I really need to find more time!    

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