time leaks

In poker terms, a leak is an aspect of one’s play that leads to less than optimal results in the game.  Always playing one’s favorite hand is a classic example of a leak, or playing certain hands in exactly the same way.

This idea of the leak is a much broader idea, somewhere between the poker leak and the more literal definition of leak, and one that I spend a lot of time thinking about.  This is the time leak.

I sometimes get to the end of the day, I look back and I wonder, where did the day go.  Where did my time go today.  During the work week, I spend a lot of time in meetings, and this is just part of the role I currently have.  Some meetings are reasonable or valuable uses of time, though it must be said that this is not true of all meetings.

This I suppose is a variant of Parkinson’s Law where meetings expand to fill the scheduled time.   I am partially responsible for this, as some of the meetings are mine, though not entirely.

But other days, and these other days often includes weekends, I don’t have the excuse of meetings.  I don’t have the time I spend teaching, which is often the high point of my working day.

I wake up in the mornings and I have a clear list of what I want to accomplish over the course of the day.  It is always an ambitious list, and I sometimes make good progress against my list.  But not always.

But there is something I have come to recognize how much I struggle with.  There are some large projects which have been on the list for too long, and I am not good at making day by day progress on these large projects.

And this is now my task, to segment these large projects and to develop the habit of clearing the daily list.

Habits are hard to form. They require cultivation and curation, and it is very easy to begin a project like this tomorrow.  There is an old quote, I’m not sure of the original source, that tomorrow is the greatest labor saving device known to humankind.  It’s not true, but it is always easy to believe it today.

So I need to become something of a plumber, seeking out and sealing the time leaks in my own internal plumbing.  We’ll see how it goes.

~ by Jim Anderson on 18 November 2017.

3 Responses to “time leaks”

  1. It’s too easy to put off the big jobs because you can’t see a finite end to them, but an old friend taught me the following:
    Q: How do you eat an elephant?
    A: One bite at a time.

    Go and bite elephants.

  2. […] comes back to the previous entry in these musings of mine, of how to get stuck into the large things. The comment made by Jacey […]

  3. …and one thing your posts are doing, is giving me a fascinating set of writing prompts! “Time leaks” is now on the list, along with “the house of unlit rooms” and “looking for Lucy”… you have a gift for potent phrases!

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