Time Limits

Motivational

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I sort of outsmarted myself this morning – a maneuver that always leaves me feeling clever and simple at the same time. Clever to pull it off, simple to have it pulled off.

My to do list for today is an overachieving, maniacal, stress-inducing fright. No one in their right mind would’ve ever written all that down. (Maybe my sinus medications are making me dim witted.) At any rate, I’m just anal enough to make myself get everything done rather than wadding up the list and making a new one.

So, my rational side – woozy from the meds but still kicking – told me to take each task, one at a time, and pretend that I only had 20 minutes to get it accomplished. I told myself that at the end of 20 minutes whatever I was working on would get left behind for tomorrow. I started with the first one on the list, which was responding to 20 emails. (I absolutely love email, don’t know what it is, but I get all jazzed up over them!). A few responses would require more thought and time, so I made a memo at the bottom of the list to return to them this evening, but I got 17 of them answered and off in 20 minutes.

Next was working on a website that I’m designing for a client. I broke the work up into 20 minute chunks – 20 minutes working on the graphics, 20 minutes working on the navigational buttons, and 20 minutes working on a sample page of fonts. I devoted 1 hour this morning, then I’ll spend another 3 this afternoon – also broken down.

I also have a website that I’m currently redesigning, so I treated it the same way as the one above.

I ran a few errands and went to the store, which of course took more than 20 minutes – I don’t know if I’ve ever been in and out of a store in 20 minutes!

I broke my blogs down into 20 minute intervals, and did the same thing for a few articles I’m working on.

It just turned 3:00 and I’ve at least put a big dent in everything. I still have things left on the list, but at least I’m walking the line I’ve drawn and not veering off course. I think setting limits helps because it keeps the mind from wandering off – which mine is pretty prone to do. If I’m writing an article without any set time to stop, I’m liable to get up several times, fill my coffee cup, look out the window, pet the cat, etc… But if I’m working under the gun, I keep at it… then, when it’s finished I do my prowling.

Some things, like the shopping, won’t work on a time limit – for example, if I approach supper this way, the pork chops won’t be worth eating and the bread will never rise! I also can’t fit my 45 minute walk inside of 20… well, I could, but if I plan on eating pork chops and bread I’d better stick with the full 45.

In fact, I’d better get started on that walk right now!

Make each moment count double,
~Joi

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4 comments… add one
  • If I weren’t married to you, I’d email you and propose !

    You’re gettin’ gooder and gooder all the time.

  • Oh. And what do you propose???!

    Love ya and thanks,
    Joi

  • The real trick is just to do something. For some it helps to divide tasks into small time intervals. For others making a list and prioritizing. For others, deadlines seem to work. And still for others the promise of a reward.

    For me, sigh, nothing seems to work. It can be quite demoralizing at times. On the other hand, my mind is usually filled with 30 different thoughts and ideas along with whatever is on my plate. Feeling overwhelmned is part of the problem. Another is that I seem to have a short attention span (Which is why I am a programmer, the turn around is much faster. I used to be in electronics, but the turn around time from idea to implentation was too slow for me).

    Of course, all the good ideas in the world don’t helpif you don’t actually put them into action.

    Motivation and how to control it has been a interest of mine for the past 2 yearsd or so. Interesting read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation

  • I can relate to the multiple thoughts running around the head all at once. Hate that!

    I’ve always thought that if I could just focus on one thing at a time I’d get more accomplished. But I don’t seem to be wired that way. Faulty wiring, I guess.
    Joi

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