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The time of it

This week I found myself walking around with a Christmas tree. Yes, Christmas in the middle of June.  I felt uneasily out of time and out of sorts.

It got me thinking about regimental time-bound lifestyles. Why do we have to bow to artificial man-made time enforcements?  Some quick examples –

  • Most workplaces begin and end their workdays at approximately the same times
  • Most workplaces allow lunchtimes over the same narrow time periods
  • Most colleges and schools have their academic calendar starting in September and ending in June
  • Most tv stations chose 9pm for their prime time news slot

The biggest “for” argument is that strict and specific time-slots puts structure on activities and people. Otherwise, we risk living in chaos.  Coordination and execution of activities could become very difficult indeed. Routine would not exist and without it the learning curve for each day would be very high.  In your daily life, how many things do you do in a specific time frame and at a specific time?  The answer might surprise you.

Even with such fixed time structures we need “time management” skills to manage this already structured concept of time. People pay good money to learn how to manage their allocation of time so as not to waste a minute.  Multi-tasking is a valued skill as it allows achievement of more within a given timeframe. Technology allows instant communication, optimising time allowances.

Perhaps we have it wrong. Why are we slaves to time structures we ourselves have put in place? Surely some flexibility would be a good idea. What’s the worst that could happen if tomorrow you changed your typical time management routines for the day? Go on…. try it………

By the way, is anyone wondering about the reason for the Christmas tree in June?


Time Optimisation

Sometimes when I read people’s blog I wonder how they possibly get time to do all they do. It seems they spend their days writing / reading blogs, watching youtube, commenting on discussion boards, twittering, skyping, etc. On the one hand I’m jealous, on the other I’m confused.

This blog doesn’t have a post everyday because it’s author simply doesn’t have the time. Neither does she…. shock, horror….. twitter on a regular basis for the same reason. Here’s a typical day –

  • Get up, and potter about apartment. This isn’t time-wasting, it’s a needed relaxation before the day starts. TV3s Ireland Am is on in the background, it gets channel-flicked to gmtv or the bbc at odd times.
  • Take 35 minutes to walk to work.
  • Work day is spent: giving classes, preparing for classes, doing student consultations, answering / sending emails, attending meetings with colleagues, marking student work.
  • A work day can end anytime between 4pm or 8pm depending on how busy a particular day is.
  • Talk 35 minutes to walk home from work.
  • Much of the evening is spent reading / writing as part of my phd research studies.
  • I need me time to pursue personal activities that have become a needed part of sanity e.g. going to the gym (once or twice a week) , reading for pleasure (next up is Sebastian Barry’s Secret Scripture), going to the theater / the NCH, etc.

Not much time is left for engaging is social internet activities. I can multi-task with the best of them, but ‘interruption’ social internet activities squeezed in to the above tasks can be interruptive to those tasks.

There’s a time and a place for everything. I’m happy to spend the time I spend in Facebook, I enjoy posting in here, I enjoy reading the blogs I follow. I know that there are other blogs I would like to follow but I have to prioritise.

I have my blogs and news pages routed to a reader to speed up access time to them. I have my preferred websites book marked on delicious to keep them within easy reach. I have other tools that speed up my internet life but I still find I haven’t the time to do all I like to do.

Such is life. Time needs to be prioritized, simple as that.