Friday, January 14, 2011

Time management and bad cat breath

My time has been getting gobbled up by various pursuits the last couple of weeks.  Since I made the effort to put together some serious goals for the year I'm actually making an attempt to complete them.  My wife makes fun of me for meticulously tracking things on Excel spreadsheets, but firing up the daily log with everything listed is the only way I've found to stay on top of anything.  Otherwise, I start thinking about things on Saturday, which is way to too late to finish the week's assignments.  Schedules, tracking, color coding red for failure or green for success; it's the obsessively obsessive that will make progress.  Even when the goals have no immediate consequence, something inside me hates having to admit to myself that I didn't do what I set out to do.

I'm thrilled that I've started the year off with more motivation and drive than I can recall having in quite a some time (or...ever).  The reality of having ambitious goals, however, means that you have to really start prioritizing and working only on those things that will progress you toward your targeted end.  Fill your time with what you really want or need to be doing while eliminating as many of the distractions around you as possible.  If you read time management books they'll tell you to start off by keeping a log of how you currently spend your time.  I'm guilty of hitting snooze for about half an hour before dragging my groggy bones out of bed in the morning.  30 minutes a day?  That's not much, right?  But look at it over a year.  30 minutes a day for a year is over 180 hours.  That's like losing a month's worth of work time doing something that's neither restful nor productive.  I'll let you calculate how much time you're giving up if you spend three hours a day watching TV...

It all comes down to opportunity cost.  The fact is that for every minute of time you spend doing one thing, that's one minute that you can't spend doing something else.  We simply aren't capable of effectively doing multiple things at the same time (at least not anything requiring higher brain function).  I've come to realize this more as I've given myself more stuff to accomplish over the last couple of weeks.  The blog posts haven't been as frequent because I've been spending more time reading and learning and doing other things.  I enjoy writing on here, but come to think of it, it didn't even make my goals list (I suppose it's never too late to add more).  The challenge here is that I've committed to including pictures with all the posts.  That can take time, especially if I have to set something up to do a post-specific shot.  More often than not, there are better things I can be doing with my time than burning two hours writing and shooting pictures for my little bloggy.

So, where does that leave us?  This isn't goodbye by any means.  This is just a heads up that I'm no longer setting a target for how often I put something on here.  The hope is that you'll be able to notice a difference because what does make it on here will be as originally intended; the thoughts or images that had been boiling over and absolutely had to come out.  Until next time that happens - Happy Friday.

p.s. Speaking of distractions, I think I'd write about 30% faster if I didn't constantly have one of my cats shoving their enormous heads between the keyboard and my hands.  I might not care if his breath smelled like something other than putrid carny feet, but it does, and he insists on licking my arms...

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