Time is on my side

I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend.
Abraham Lincoln

I love my computer. I actually have two on my desk, but one belongs to work. That one's fine, but I don't love it. I spend my work hours on it. I spend far too much of the rest of my time on my personal laptop, reading Facebook, commenting on Facebook updates, reading blogs, commenting on blog posts, writing blog posts, looking up things for blog posts, reading email, writing email, chatting on IM, finding out where that restaurant is and what they serve...well, you get the picture.

I love my computer, but my computer is my enemy, or at least the enemy of any attempts I make at time management. I am already a chronic procrastinator. That was true before I ever owned a computer. But the bond between my laptop and me makes breaking this habit all that much harder.

This past week, I tried something new. I already use Outlook to keep track of appointments and tasks such as "send birthday card to Paul." I realized I should add other kinds of tasks, basically anything I have to do, with a reminder. So I started to do it. I added even small tasks and things I would have done anyway.

Monday was a busy day: do laundry, change the cat box, write a letter to my mother and mail it, go to the gym, make lasagna for supper, and upload a school assignment. Instead of sitting at my computer after work thinking that I should be doing something, I was out doing things. That was the first time I've been to the gym in, well, I'd rather not say.

I didn't stay quite that busy for the rest of the week, but then those were small tasks. On Tuesday, I made an appointment for later in the week, went to the gym again, made stir fry for supper, and went over material for my final exam. I had to be downtown on Wednesday evening for my final, but I managed to squeeze in preparation for mailing in our (Canadian) taxes (photocopying a bunch of stuff and stapling documents in proper order) and taking a shower. On Thursday, I put the tax returns in the mail and went to the gym again, and then later went to the meetup. On Friday, I called in a prescription, picked it up, went to my appointment, and even ironed the pillowcases that often sit on the ironing board for too long (until Sweetie ends up taking care of them).

The gym is a really important thing here. It's funny how if I stop going, I don't feel as good, even to the point of not feeling good enough to work out. It's kind of a Catch-22. But if I can break the cycle of lethargy, and start up the cycle of regular exercise, I feel better. Sleep better too. Keeping it up is going to be one of the most important things to come out of this scheme. I took Friday and today off, but I'd better either go tomorrow or be sure to start again on Monday. The more days I take off, the easier it is to take another day off, and another, until lethargy has take over again.

I'm not turning everything into Outlook tasks, but doing it at all is helping me to keep things in mind that I need to do and to be in a mood to be more productive. Saturday morning is always grocery shopping on the Drive, and I don't need a reminder for that, but this afternoon I pulled myself away from this machine to work on the garden. Weeding! Such fun, but really it was pretty satisfying. Then I filled all the bird feeders, which is normally Sweetie's job, but she's been pretty much flat out this week at work. That felt good too. I put out the thistle feeder for the first time this year. I want to see goldfinches!

I must keep dumping tasks into Outlook and giving them due dates. I don't want to get all regimented and shit. But it really is too easy for me to waste time in ways that I claim are not a waste but are not what I ought to be doing. And that's so I can feel good about myself. Some people are naturally motivated to get stuff done. With little self-discipline, I need help. So I put my computer to better use.

I'm not destroying my enemy. I need it for this scheme to work! But I'm using it to take away some of its power over me, and taking that power back for myself. I think my laptop and I will be better friends for it.

1 comment:

Anji said...

I spend too much time on the computer too. I used to write lists of things to do, but spent most of my time hunting for the lists.
I'll have to look at Outlook