Time is the universal equaliser the world over and remains the one thing that money can’t buy. It’s an arbitrary beast – running slow at Doctor’s appointments, running away on holidays and moments of wonder. Which means despite it being a mathematical unit it has a hidden, nebulous, time warp quality and, given half the chance, it is a thief.
I was originally a Professional Violinist but the one thing I truly hated was practising – repetitive, robotic and boring. I soon learnt that if I practised intelligently I considerably reduce the monotony – and it’s this discipline I’ve taken into my day to day life: Cut down the grisly bits to the least time possible and use the time left over to breathe.
The truth is generally we start the day with a list of things we need to accomplish, we start working through it and before we know it the day is gone and the list has barely been dented. The next day more stuff piles up and we’re permanently lugging around a constant burden of responsibility and expectation that never ends.
So I have 2 Golden Rules and a System – (it’s not Rocket Science, it won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.)
The Golden Rules:
1. ‘Things’ take less time than you think.
2. The ‘Things’ should never dictate time it takes to do them.
1. Write down a list of EVERYTHING. Then write a list of what you need to get done this week, prioritise for the day if needs be, but then divide the rest of the list over the rest of the week: The moral of the story is long lists never, ever work – divide and conquer and you stand a chance.
2. Give each job 15 minutes – and it is here in the objectivity of technology where the truth lies – SET AN ALARM (honest to God the time remains constant) (I use my phone) for 15 minutes. When it goes off, move onto the next job, re-set the alarm and start again…in the great scheme of things it’s a pee in the ocean: The accumulative effect packs a punch.
3. Need to tidy the house? Set the alarm for 5 minutes or 10 minutes for each room – you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done. The rest of the time is now YOURS.
It also works to create boundaries for the Creative side too – My great love is that absolute joy-zone where’s no effort and you’re transported away from the world. Given the chance I’d be permanently on my happy-dappy planet – except nothing practical would ever get done and my house and all those contained within it would fall to rack and ruin. By using an alarm and setting a limit (30 minutes – 45 minutes?) I give myself permission to ignore everything else for that period of time and just be. I can safely zone out. And come back home again.
What it does mean is that jobs don’t necessarily get finished (although you’d be surprised how much does – there’s an automatic sense of focus that comes from dictating a specific period of time) – but take my light, the patio, the shirt..not finished..but, given time, they will be..and now I’m controlling them instead of them controlling me..and bit by bit you find great riches in those small steps..It’s about both squeezing the most from everything..and taking that time to smell the roses..
Laters, Kate x