Monday, August 11, 2014

A Brief Statement on Time Management, Part 1

I ask my son “Where does the time go?” and he replies, “Gone.” This is a conditioned response, but it's funny. He's two years old, his concept of time is astronomically different from mine. In the grand scheme of things, my concept of time has changed over the years too, this is probably a function of age, and of experience.

However, I do wonder sometimes: Where does the time go? I feel like I've always had a great deal of time, not too much, and always not quite enough. From time to time, when the conversation comes up about the writing of novels, people ask: where do you find the time?

I have thankfully avoided all the common time suckers. I do not, and have never had a television. The tv and all the great stuff that comes piping in on it is perhaps the greatest time sucker of them all. Sometimes I wish I liked the tv and the reality of it and the sports because I could have a whole lot less to say to many more people. If you want to really think about it, translate all the hours you sit in front of a tv and translate that into a garden, an artist project, or a novel. Where do you find the time? If you have a Facebook account, a video game machine or a bag of weed in your house, well, you have the time.

This is nothing you have not heard before. It's old news. I suppose you could balance the time with the mary jane and the xbox and still be able to do so much, but why? I feel like the best waste of time is the waste you want. Who knows? If you're the sort of person who wonders where to find more time, you just have to look and learn about yourself and that is never very easy.

I never took a seminar about time management. I never read a book. But I have had the benefit of life going for me. I mean, when you're a college student and working full time or more than full time, you will understand quickly the need to manage your time. And as I had spent many years in the service industry time management was a necessity for the job. You can imagine, or you may know what it is to have a six table section all in various stages of savagery and satiety and you got a finite amount of time to get it all done. This is, of course, an over simplification of time management, but you get the point.

So how do you get all those things you want to get accomplished done in a finite amount of time. Well, I think you first have to understand that the most valuable resource is time. Some may argue it's water, or air, or oil, or the democratic party, fuck all. Without time, what do you have? When you run out of time, all the water and air and oil and democrats will not be able to bring you back.

The second thing is to know and understand what's important and what is not. I would reckon the longer you think about it the longer the list will become of the not important stuff. If it's not important, stop doing it.

This is where I like to think. Of the important things, do what your high school guidance counselor told you to do and prioritize them. Write it down on a list, and then revisit the important and non-important lists. Distillation is a wonderful thing.

The last part, and I don't know if this is something that I can convey in such a short space but here goes: break it down into smaller more easily attainable tasks. For instance, if I want to write a novel or 100 poems, I won't sit down and do it in one sitting. I would like to sit down and do it in one sitting, but that is just not possible. So, here's the smaller easily attainable task: today I will write one page, one poem, 100 words. That's the way to break it down. It takes no time at all to do that, and as you look back over a period of days or weeks or even months it's absolutely astonishing what you'll get done.

Don't waste time. Don't waste time for no other reason that it feels terrible when you've realized what you've done.

Next time: My experiment and the Results

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