In my imaginary world that I call “Lindita Land,” I wake up whenever I want to. I take the art of putzing to a new level as I push my to-do list aside and do a series of inconsequential things that I will not remember tomorrow. Never glancing to see what time it is, I continue through my day combining important tasks with inconsequential tasks. The day has a wonderful flow to it; there are no deadlines and there is no immediacy to anything. Magically, by nightfall, everything I had planned to do has been completed. I fall into a deep sleep and do not wake up during the night; a miracle in itself. I am the star of my dreams, without a worry or a care as to the who, what, where and when of tomorrow.
Yikes! Both the timer on the stove and the alarm on my phone have gone off at the same time and I am startled me back to reality. I’m not sure which task to do first, so I bounce back and forth between the two, promising myself that tomorrow will be different.
I take a break and decide that it’s time to try to outsmart Father Time and his gremlins (similar corporate setup to Santa and the elves, only snarkier). I will grab that extra flesh of time and squish it into the girdle of my day. Are you with me? Do you have any ideas to share? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Create a daily to-do list, so it’s less intimidating.
- Check emails only once or twice a day and act on them immediately: respond, delete or save.
- Make a menu and a shopping list and only grocery shop once a week.
- Keep a list by store and only travel there when you need a few items.
- Plan a logical route, so you can complete errands all at once.
- Multi task: water plants or do food prep while you are on the phone.
- When you are asked to volunteer, sleep on it; never answer immediately.
- Learn that sometimes you just need to just say no.
- Promise yourself a treat once your daily tasks are done.
I am not the only one trying to make my way in life with a little help from paper and a pen. A big industry of time management journals has sprung up from the ashes of those little pads that used to spur you on with their cute headings. Now, ranging in theme from passion planners to academic planners, you can time block your day, month and year in order to be more efficient and productive in a customized version of yourself. The thought behind this is that if you enter a room with a pastel Lily Pulitzer life planner under your arm, it will mask the fact that you may actually not be feeling all that light and airy. Then, there is the latest version, the Life Planner 3000. This newest “super-size me” style is available with wheels.
My homemade to-do list is divided into segments entitled “Call,” “Do” and “Go.” It’s not for everyone, but it works for me. And now that I’ve stolen those precious minutes here and there, it actually feels workable. I am able to evaluate the best use of my time and get things done.
I’m sitting in my kitchen enjoying a cold, grapefruit flavored club soda after a particularly busy day and decide that I actually have some extra time to sit outside and read. I toast the sign on my kitchen wall that reads “Never Enough Thyme” and hurriedly head out before the time gremlins catch up with me again.