The Ever Elusive Time Part II

Last week I talked about setting the timer to find a distinct measure of how you are spending your time on tasks. Yet, this is only one side of the difficulties time throws at us. So often we feel that we just do not have time to work on this or that project.

Time is easily transformed by the feelings we have about how we’ve spent it. It can be our ally or the enemy that disappears without warning. Too often, it feels so fleeting that we have no idea what happened, it is just gone.

Our talent at procrastination can magnify the effect of time’s elusiveness. We’ll start that task in just a little while, but something comes along and distracts us. Maybe something that demands our attention interferes and since the task is a relatively low priority comparatively, that task easily falls by the wayside.

It is easy to tell ourselves that we just do not have the time to tackle cleaning out the closet, or whatever it is that we would like to find the time for, yet this is inaccurate. We fail to recognize that we can break things into smaller chunks, fitting it in when we have just a small amount of time.

Here we return to the importance of the timer.

Set the timer for an increment of your choosing and when it goes off you stop. If you feel you have more time to work on a project, great; set the timer anyway to make sure you don’t lose track of time. Be careful to not overwhelm yourself since there are alternatives to finding a day (or a weekend) to clean out the basement. Setting aside as little as 15 or 30 minutes every day to start working on your projects is a remarkably effective way to get things accomplished.

Many tasks that feel large can be broken down into smaller segments, where you can whittle away at them. You fit tasks into your schedule and do not feel controlled by them. That closet shelf (or even part of a shelf) can be sorted and purged in 15-minute increments.

If you enjoy watching TV, you can get up and work on something during the commercial breaks, and by the end of a one-hour show, you will have spent at least 15 minutes getting things accomplished!

Who does not have 15 minutes in their day to spend on something that will provide value for them? You will be amazed at what you can get done in those 15 minutes.

We all have things that we wish we had time for and yet somehow feel that there is not enough time. Even bigger or detail oriented tasks can be broken down into smaller segments. If you have a stack of photos you want to go through, but are convinced that you do not have the time to go through them, pull out a small pile and start with that. You can always pull another pile later.

This idea of setting the timer to help you track time can also be applied to ways to make time for any number of things you put off. If you wish that you had time to take a bath, time to luxuriate and relax, set the timer for that too. You can fill the bath and set the timer just before you hop in, then you can focus on enjoying that time and not worry about losing track of how long you’ve been in there.

Our time is immeasurably valuable. We can find ways to evaluate and appreciate how we spend it and maximize how we use it. It should not control us, and the timer is a wonderful way to take control of your time.

What are you going to do with your 15 minutes today? Tomorrow?

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