The real secret
“The real secret of how to use time is to pack it as you would a portmanteau, filling up the small spaces with small things.” — Sir Henry Haddow
Much has been written about the importance of prioritizing major tasks and important duties first, and fitting everything else in around them. But sometimes there still does not seem to be enough space for everything. Haddow is on the right track when he speaks of small spaces, those tiny slivers of time that cumulatively add up to a significant part of the day.
I find that there are quite a few such spaces in an average day, many of which seem to involve waiting on something or someone. Waiting for the water to boil for tea, waiting in a telephone hold queue, waiting for the computer to boot up, waiting for a bus or a subway train. Aside from carrying reading material of a type that can be easily read in short segments, there are probably many things we can do to pack those small spaces with small things.
Since I’ve often found myself in the kitchen while waiting, I have learned to do 60-second cleaning routines: wiping counters, scouring sinks, hand-washing a dish or two. I can get a lot done this way without feeling as if I’ve worked at all. In fact, I’ve discovered that it’s helpful, even when I have a long period of time available, to break distasteful chores into steps, so that I don’t feel as if I have a hour or two of drudgery ahead of me. Sometimes I’ll tell myself that I’ll work on something for ten minutes and then I can stop, but then when I get involved in whatever it is, I often keep working longer. Getting started really does seem to be half the battle sometimes,
Today, try giving yourself a five or ten minute assignment to work on something you’ve been putting off. You just might end up finishing a task you’ve been dreading, but even if you don’t, at least you’ve taken a small step, which might make the next ones easier to take. I wish you a productive day!