Sunday, March 06, 2005

Not enough time

Lately I have been having a real problem with time. During the week I am in Jacksonville, I work around fifty hours and since my family is in Gainesville, I have no real time pressure. The weekend is totally different. I really feel like almost every minute is accounted for, and there are simply not enough of them.

This manifests itself most predominantly in the following way: When I am doing something, I am usually pressured to stop doing it, leave it unfinished, and do something else. I inevitably respond by wanting just a few more minutes and continue what I had started.

The first solution I tired was to try to shift some of my weekend chores to the week. I started spending more time searching out things I was curious about; following links or topics that I could not investigate at work (because they are not work related), or writing to this blog, or whatever. Sadly this did not work. I found that there are still more things I need to do during the weekend and that conflicts with family time, not to mention time for friends.

I have a new plan; to some of you this will seem obvious, but it was a revelation to me: I would become a slave to the clock. Before starting something I will determine how long I may spend on it, when that length has been reached, I will stop. Even if I am not finished. I will pick up where I left off the at the next opportunity.

I tried this on Friday, and it worked really well: I was working from home and began my work day at 6:05 AM. I planed to work straight through and finish at 2:05. When it was close to two o'clock I saw a great stopping point (only two small items to finish) and decided to work until I reached it; if I was lucky (meaning I did not run into any unexpected problems) I could be done by 2:05. At 2:10 I found myself unlucky and still had only two small problems to finish. I was feeling pressure but with the end in sight I could push through. Knowing Kim was waiting for me to stop work so we could do a few errands before the weekend, I decided to stop working and take care of Kim's needs. I would continue work on Monday morning. It felt great. Although I had not finished my task, the weight of the conflicting interests was removed. It felt like a miracle had occurred.


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