Article

How NOT to Spend Your Day!

in Articles, Time Management | by admin | on October 23rd, 2017 |
How NOT to Spend Your Day!

I first read this article many years ago, but it’s as relevant today as it was then! Unfortunately, I don’t know who wrote it. If you do, please let me know.

(I’ve reproduced it in its original form, without editing. Please put your junk mail in the recycling, not the garbage.)

 

I decided to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.

So I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first. But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take out my checkbook that is on the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the den, so I go to my desk where I find the bottle of soda that I had been drinking.

I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the soda aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. I see that the soda is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the soda, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye — they need to be watered. I set the soda down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.  I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day, the car isn’t washed, the bills aren’t paid, there is a warm bottle of soda sitting on the counter, the flowers aren’t watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can’t find the remote, I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I’m really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.

 

If this sounds like a typical day for you, here are some suggestions —

  • Try not to let yourself get distracted. Stick with a task until it’s done. (Duh.)
  • Keep a notepad or piece of paper somewhere handy. (I keep mine on the corner of the kitchen counter.) When you notice those other tasks, jot them down so you won’t forget them. That way you won’t feel like you need to go and do them right away.
  • Give yourself a visual or audible cue – for example checking the time, or noticing when the news comes on the radio, or even setting an alarm.  Whenever that cue comes up, look back over what you’ve done since the last cue, and ask yourself whether you’re still on task or not.
  • Make like Santa. Make a list. Check it twice. Then work through it as methodically as you can. If you get off task, going back to the list will help you to remember where you were and what you were doing before the distraction.

Good luck! You can do it!

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