Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Why is it that the more unstructured time you have, the less you feel you are able to accomplish? I have been staying home since June 4, the last day of school, and some days feel like they whiz on by with absolutely nothing accomplished. I'm having trouble settling down to write. My to do lists remain unchecked-off. I'm only exercising once or twice a week. Why was I able to get more accomplished when I was busy and stressed?

I have a couple of theories. Theory 1--my favorite--is that time lapses differently depending on whether you are working for a paycheck or staying home. When working for a paycheck, for some reason Einstein's famous theory of Time=Money comes into play, and your time elapses in an inverse proportion to how much you are making. Thus days at crappy summer jobs wherein you are a supervisor for the temporary tattoo booth at Six Flags America outside of DC (ahem) seem to last longer than interstellar space travel, whereas days at teaching jobs which represent the apex of both your training and financial recompense seem to zip by in 30 minutes total. After you are done with working for a paycheck for the day, time reverts to its regular schedule of 1 hour lasting an hour.

Theory 2--Structured individuals like myself need to have time compartmentalized, and they tend to over-compartmentalize. I am the type of person who, when offered tickets to go to some great destination for the weekend on a Thursday, would turn down the tix because it was too late to plan something new for the weekend. I could have nothing more exciting on my weekend agenda than trimming my split ends while listening to my cats fight for territory in the new house, and yet I would turn the tickets down. This is probably true on Wednesday, too. Tuesday, and I might consider a wanton bout of spontaneity.

J, on the other hand, does not have the same concept of time that I do. He would never look at a project and say to himself--I only have 4.5 hours until dinner, so it's too late to get started on this. He has, on several occasions, started major car repair, home renovations, demolition, and marathon training within 10 minutes of dinner being on the table. (And let me tell you, there is absolutely NO reason why it should bother me that he often eats his dinner cold. None. Whatsoever.) In any case, I do feel like he is, overall, more productive because he does not compartmentalize his time. He doesn't worry about whether something will be done by X time. He just works on it. Whereas I will decide that if something can't be finished by X time, I might as well surf the Miss Manners comment blogs to see if Euphrosyne and NJGuy have realized that their latent hostility over minor matters of etiquette has yet blossomed into a Moonlighting-style love story. Because that's a productive use of my time.

Theory 3--Summer is in a different space/time continuum from the rest of the year. I am able to be productive from September to June because each hour is longer by several minutes, adding up to significant time additions during the traditional school year. So I am able to be productive when this strange yearly time slip ends, and unable to be productive every summer.

Then again, spending nearly 45 minutes total coming up with a topic for a blog and then writing it would probably have NOTHING to do with this lack of productivity, would it?

I wonder what Miss Manners has to say today.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Just wait until you have a kid. They 1) don't believe in deadlines or time commitments of any kind, 2) have a powerful arsenal of time consuming habits like dirty diapers and 3) have urgent "needs", like building a house for their stuffed kitten for the 30th time, that always appear during dinner preparation or a phone call. Blergh.