When I manage my time, instead of just drifting on it with my swimmies and nose plug on, it is a controllable dimension.

Every morning I make a TO DO list. (By ‘every’ I mean all of the mornings since about 1988. By my quick calculation, I’ve made almost 10,000 lists. Apparently before 1988, I either didn’t have to do anything, or else I still had a working short term memory.)


Weekends do not escape my lists. Actually, on weekends my list snuggles up to (and wrestles with) my DH’s list.

I prioritize my lists with

A = must be done today,

B = should be done today but can wait, and

C = if a time warp sucks me in and I finish all the As and Bs, then the Cs will be tackled.

And when there’s a D, I flip to the next week and put it on a new list (because my mind is like a sieve; loose thoughts that happen by must be captured and stored).

And here’s another layer of geek: The As and Bs get numbers to indicate their importance relative to their cousins. Beside each item, I estimate how long it’ll take. Somedays, I do all the quick As early in the morning so I feel like I got something done.

The world likes to touch my list. When something unexpected is dumped on me (daily?), I nod, try to smile, and put it on the bottom of the list before I carefully consider (for about six spare seconds) what can be bumped. Often, nothing can be bumped. Grading and planning for lectures can never be bumped. (Time isn’t flexible in my teaching schedule.) My students depend on me for those things. My primary purpose is to teach. ALL the other stuff comes next.

As each daily list tumbles like a domino onto the next day, I’ve learned to let it go (a little) because I know my friend Friday has my back. She’s catching the roll-down-the-hill stuff and won’t let me see the weekend until the pile is shoveled. (If I let the pile widen into my weekend, we might as well delete the meaning (and intent and relief) of the word weekend.)

As our years fly by, we look back, aware of time wasted and the imbalance of time left. Some make a bucket list (that will never be done without the help of daily planning). For the young, the future appears infinite beside their little past. All of that future time looks as big as a weekend on a Monday. But there must be some physics to this, perhaps a Doppler Effect Corollary for time: the closer you get to it, the more the future shrinks.


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