Time, the Invisible Clutter

15 01 2010



squared circles – Clocks

Originally uploaded by Leo Reynolds

I’ve had a really rough week of it this week, and it wasn’t because of physical clutter. It was all about TIME clutter. I felt like all of my overextendedness finally caught up with me, and my scheduling house of cards just collapsed.

I do a lot. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. But I’ve managed to somehow juggle a hundred balls in the air, and through optical illusion and a lot of denial, it’s more or less worked out.

This week I had the gnawing, then gnashing, then terrifying feeling that things are NOT working out at all. Anytime I began thinking about my various commitments, I started going into panic mode. I felt like I was barely hanging on. Yesterday I was really suffering.

It helped to go to bed at 9 last night and get a ten solid hours of sleep. That was so necessary. Then I got up and took a good contemplative walk in the woods. And I confessed my time-cluttering sins to a sympathetic, nonjudgmental and supportive friend. THAT helped.

Today I started taking things apart, one by one, just like one would start sorting through a cluttered junk drawer. I will sort it out, I will. But it’s been a humbling week.

Part of what catalyzed this little crisis was reading through the Time chapter in It’s Hard to Make A Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys (SO TRUE). As I read it, I felt stabbing pains of recognition. And I realized that the invisible clutter is just as disabling as the physical kind.

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5 responses

15 01 2010
Caitlin

Definitely! A cluttered schedule can suck your energy the same as a cluttered room.

15 01 2010
sheila chandra

It’s really easy to schedule too much because you don’t note down the stuff you’re committed to regularly in your diary. If you get into the habit of noting down appointments with yourself, such as ‘saturday morning- weekly grocery shopping’ etc, and allowing a realistic amount of time, that can really help. You’ll be amazed at how much time these regular tasks take up.
It also really helps to look at an overview of how hard you’ll be working in the next few days/week and actually plan a night in or out relaxing. Making a date with yourself for a candlelit bath and actually keeping it feels great! And it helps you keep your energy up because you’ve paced yourself properly…

15 01 2010
Ito

Sheila, that is so true. I DON’T note down small tasks that need to be done on a calendar. I put it on a to-do list, but don’t schedule TIME for it. And like I’ll note meetings or classes but not the prep time to get ready for them. It is interesting to note (once again) how very much time/clutter management is like weight loss and how accurate tracking is so so so important.
Just last week I was speaking about how most people underestimate their calorie intake by 500-1000 cals/day. The same is so true with time.

16 01 2010
becoming minimalist

truly anything can clutter up our lives and distract us from the things that are most important… even good commitments. but good has always been the enemy of best!

28 01 2010
Larkspur

This is a constant struggle for me. I have three kids at home, so of course that’s part of the deal. I tried to take on a half time (more like 3/4 time) job and realized, Nope, that’s just not gonna work. I can do it, but I (and my dear family) will suffer needlessly. I keep trying to pare down down down. Not easy.

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