Monday, March 18, 2013

Minimalism: Time Management

I keep saying, in my head and to you, that my calendar and time management is where I feel the greatest need for minimalism. That's kind of why I got rid of lots of was taking up my time. I just read that UCLA did a study of thirty-two middle class families and observed that "all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings." See? It's crimpin' your style. 

Anyway, back to time. I'm intimidated by this aspect of minimalism because it's not concrete. Without heaps of stuff leaving my house, how will I measure my progress? Will I know if things are getting better? 

I believe in saying 'no' and I'm better at it than I used to be. Now I say 'yes' based on my sincere desire to help, but sometimes even that gets me into trouble. Like when all those requests fall on one awful week. After a doosy like that, I usually go on strike, promising to say no to everything that comes my way for a year.  

I have a free-wheeling style when it comes to time-management. I flit about my house tidying this and fixing that and putting that bill in the mail. This is pleasant and effective when my house is quiet and I'm not interrupted (a.k.a. single life and before kids). Nowadays, I try to get my groove on old-style and come to the end of the day with the important things unfinished. Since my go-to anecdote is a list of some kind, this is no exception. Instead of winging my day, I want to take a few minutes (at the very beginning) to prioritize tasks on my To Do list. As the day moves along and I have a minute or two, I will not do whatever sounds best to me at that moment (eating Nutella out of the container or checking my email), but what's next on the list. 

This sounds pretty stiff and it will be, but I want to get better at follow-through. I want to discipline myself to do what I intend to do, when I intended to do it. Now, I get that I'll need to skip down to a five-minute task if that's all the time I have and the next item takes an hour, but "not feeling like it" won't be valid anymore. 

This will be most tricky online. If there's a black hole where my time goes to die, it's the world wide web. I'm so distractible. This makes me think of that and even if I sat down to do a specific task, the window I'm open to is a half-typed message to someone that I really should finish. When I get done with four other tasks, I can't remember why I sat down to begin with. I've heard it's helpful to close your browser, with all its tempting tabs. That seems kind of drastic, but the tabbed To Do list I keep, isn't working well. I want to operate differently online and this may be the answer. 

As a side note, I think it's good to get lost sometimes. Get lost in beautiful boards on Pinterest or hilarious sitcoms or an engrossing book. You know how I like to waste time? Watch David Letterman interview celebrities on YouTube. Just looking at him makes me smile. However, I want to get lost and let time go when I want to - not when I wasn't paying attention and two hours slipped away. Not when I had a deadline and now I'm freaking out because there's not enough time. 

So off I go...I'll let you know what happens. Tomorrow. Right now, I think I might share some laughs with Dave.

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