Paula’s Post #58 – If you’re a follower of the 5writers blog, you may have noticed that first-out-of-the-gate Silk begins our blogging week with her post on Monday. Often, her fellow 5writer colleagues pick up the threads of her post and ‘riff’ on some of the ideas propounded in her piece.
Yesterday’s poignant post by Silk ‘The top 10 ways to spend 2014‘ resonated with me, particularly where she noted:
Everything we achieve has a cost, and the only real currency we have in life to pay for these things is time, attention and energy. These are in our control, if we’re lucky. Other things, not so much. We pay attention. We spend time. We expend energy. But they’re all finite – we have only so much of them. Every year I become more aware of this.
What we choose to do with this capital defines our lives. This may seem ridiculously self-evident, but knowing something intellectually, and feeling it in your bones, are two entirely different things. I’m finally ‘getting’ how critical it is to invest in the things that are truly important to me. It makes me want to kick myself when I think of how much of this capital I’ve blown over the years on the penny candy of wasted time, mindless distractions, hopeless or unworthy causes.
Wow! The penny candy of wasted time.
Did that hit you the way it hit me?
I don’t have to turn the calendar back too many pages to find examples in my own life. Wasted days and wasted nights where I let time slip away from me in 2013.
Looking back at December alone, if you count up the number of hours I spent Christmas shopping on Amazon, crafting kitschy cards on Jib-Jab, tweeting on Twitter and connecting with friends on Facebook… yikes. If you subsequently presented this figure to me on a silver platter, I suspect I’d fall over in a dead faint. Oh, and let’s not forget the hours spent on Netflix, in airport departure lounges and just keeping up with the mountain of email slamming my five, yes FIVE email accounts (in my defence, three of those are for work).
But the arguments in my defence are as flimsy as a House of Cards (and no, I did not spend endless hours watching that offering on Netflix, nor Damages or Breaking Bad or any of the other series my dear husband now appears so addicted to).
But seriously, what is becoming of us all?
Is there just too much information out there, have we all become the social media equivalent of ‘Hoarders’ (another series I can smugly admit to not watching).
One of the most damning indictments against me is my complete loss of accountability where ‘time’ is concerned. Perhaps this is pure knee-jerk rebellion on my part, a pathetic attempt to reject the straight-jacket time clock of the lawyer’s billable hour, where for years I toiled to fill my daily time sheets, reviewing pink phone slips and scrawled notes on yellow message pads in an often futile attempt to retro-actively recreate the week that was and somehow come up with the requisite number of billable hours to keep the powers that be happy enough to keep me employed!
But if that is part of the pathology behind this evil squandering of TIME, I can only say, ‘oh, just get over it’.
If you flip back through the blog posts we 5writers shared since the inception of this blog in September 2012, almost a year and a half ago now, you’ll find a lot of words devoted to the subject of ‘time management’ and procrastination. But for all that whining, our record speaks for itself: three novels completed, two nearly done (and those two brilliantly re-envisioned by their authors in response to feedback from both their internal and external ‘critics’.
Yet as the weeks slide from one to another in a jumble of hours and days and weeks, I realize I miss the discipline of the ticking clock.
So, thanks Silk.
Thank you for reminding us to be mindful, to avoid the easy distractions of social media and other aimless endeavours, ‘the penny candy of wasted time’.
And to my fellow 5writers, I announce I’m throwing down the gauntlet. While I admit there is an element of my own metaphorical kicking and screaming here, my challenge to my fellow 5writers:
Track your time for a week.
Just like a lawyer. Ugh!
Record each ‘billable hour’ and each ‘non-billable’ hour of your day. Keep track of how much time you devote to your writing, to reading fiction or other books on writing and, of course, to this blog. Keep track of your hours on Facebook and Netflix and just watching TV. Feel virtuous and tell us about hours spent at the gym or on housework or mentoring a young person. We’re not voyeuristic, we don’t need to know all the intimate details of your ‘personal time’ but keep track of this too.
Next week, I’ll reveal if this helped me at all. I hope it helps you.
4:05 PM January 7, 2014 – Ready set, go!