Low Tech Time Management

by Helena Bouchez

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18th century English writer Charles Caleb Colton said, "Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away." Human nature sure hasn't changed much over the centuries! It is still easy to while away the time and find nothing much accomplished at the end of a day.

But how can those of us who wish to retain the simplicity of centuries past recapture and repurpose those lost shreds and patches without being enslaved by fancy PDA's and electronic organizers? For those who prefer a low-tech solution, the answer may lie in the use of a simple kitchen gadget. A two-dollar plastic timer can help you weave those little shreds and patches of time together and transform them into a boat-load of finished projects.

The first step is to identify the activities you have a tendency to "fall into" that are not the best use of your time. For many people, it's watching TV or surfing the Internet. Whenever you're tempted to start doing one of those things, grab your trusty timer and your to-do list. Set the timer for 15 minutes and start working toward completion of the first item on your list even if you don't believe 15 minutes is enough time to make any progress. Bear in mind that the part of you that would rather zone out with TV or online really wants you to believe it's not worth it.

Once the timer goes off, you may find that you want to continue working. If so, set the timer for another 15 minutes and work some more. When the bell rings, either reset the timer and go for another round or congratulate yourself on the reclamation of half an hour.

Jerry Mundis, author of over forty books of fiction and non-fiction, including How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously and Earn What You Deserve is also creator of the audio series, Break Writer's Block Forever. Mundis coaches his clients to only write for a set period of time per day depending on their schedule. Once the buzzer goes off, his strict instructions are to step away from the keyboard and forget about writing until the next day. He and his clients have completed scores of novels, magazine articles and more in just this way.

The key to the wise management of any resource is awareness. That's why if you decide to continue working it's important to keep resetting the timer in increments; it helps you remain aware of time. It also liberates you from thinking about time while you're working. The timer keeps track of the time and frees you to focus on the task at hand.

Time is much too precious a commodity to let mindlessly slip away. So set your kitchen timer, and when it buzzes, set it for a few minutes more and celebrate everything you've accomplished with the time you didn't think you had.

Helena Bouchez is owner of helena b communications, author of lenablog, a personal journal, and contributor to Big Bottom, the premiere online news magazine about bass players.

Take the Next Step:

  • Make up your "To Do List" now. Dream big! It's amazing what 15-minutes can accomplish.
  • Set your timer for 15 minutes and tackle one of those jobs today.

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