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  The Myth Of Time Management 11:00 AM -- Fri May 19, 2006  

First, nature note: saw a big, 3-foot, stripey snake riding a 4-wheel ATV. Seriously. It was being held by the (human) driver, though. Still don't know if he was taking a pet out for a drive, or if he caught it for some freakish reason. He did have a glove on, which supports both theories (although it does mean that if he caught it, he was out looking for a snake! Maybe it ran away. Looked pretty exotic).

Yesterday, I spent about 2 hours handling garbage. It's a big job. Went around the house collecting the interior bins, gathering all that up. Then untarped the trailer and hitched it to the car and pulled around. Loaded up the trailer, and drove down to the dump (20 minutes each way, if you're wondering how this could add up to two hours!). Came back and unhitched and put the trailer away and re-tarped. Man, was I sweaty.

You, on the other hand, spend 15 minutes a week doing your garbage. You gather it up, toss it in the bin, and pull it outside for the trashman to come get. Then you come out later and haul it in again.

What's the myth? Well, people would look at what I do and say "well, you only have to do that every month or 6 weeks, so in a way you're better off. Not getting interrupted all the time to have to do it." We'll assume for the moment that the time spent adds up to be equal or even less for me. The problem is that in fact, what I do is much more of a pain than a quickie job every week.

This is because I have several hours a day that I'm not doing anything important. Back when I hauled weekly garbage, I would be watching TV and go "Oh no, tomorrow is trash day!" and rush out and do it and go back to TV. It didn't interfere with anything. It was effectively as if I didn't do anything at all - all I lost was 15 minutes of TV-sitting-in-front-of. But with this huge big-time chore that involves driving across town, I have to set aside time, it's got to be done. It's an event. And of course, it has to be done during the dump's business hours, which is when I'm doing stuff. I lost pretty much half my work day yesterday!

Sure, I don't lose that time often, but I just wanted to share that idea. That time lost from sitting around and doing nothing is really not lost. In fact, you're turning it from a waste of time into productive time. Maybe this concept only applies to someone like me who always spends the latter half of his day sitting around. Maybe I need to learn to be productive in the first place! I don't know if I like the direction this is turning...
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