As I sit here, needing to imminently submit my blog post to the wonderful Cafe Aphra, I know T can only be for Time.
Time is the most precious thing we have and the one thing I would most eagerly part with money for - if it could be bought. I suppose in some senses it can be bought; if you are rich you don’t have to work and therefore you have bags of time, whereas if you work in a low paid job and have to work all the hours to make ends meet then you’ll have very little - of course there are various grades in between. But, as Tolkein’s Gandalf once said, ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.’
Don’t waste your time
Just a few years ago, when I was a cool young singleton living in London (!?), I had no ties apart from my fantastic job, which I always put more hours into than perhaps I ought. The rest of my time I spent hanging out in wine bars, or at home doing more ‘work’, watching TV or doing housework (which incidentally is, past a very basic point of standard cleanliness, probably THE biggest waste of time know to (wo)man). Now life is different. I have more responsibilities and more obligations - and what has happened? I’ve taken up the piano and began to pass grades, I started writing a novel and screenplays and I’m trying to get fit. I have so much less time than I ever had and yet I seem to produce so many more tangible outcomes than ever before. I look back at the hours I wasted watching stupid TV programmes, or crying about not having a boyfriend, or drinking with people I didn’t like, going on holiday to hot but soul-less places and I cringe. I even lament all those extra hours I spent in work thinking how proud the company would be of me, what a difference I was making - I’m sure I did, but certainly not commensurate with the hours of my life I wasted.
Plan your time
OK I confess, I don’t do this very well - after all I wouldn’t be panicking about this article if I did. On the rare occasions I have got tough on myself and planned my days and my weeks, I get so much more done. I do things in a better order and, most importantly, if I stick to the plan I even do things I might not feel like doing - like going to an exercise class. If this doesn’t sound like you, at least set yourself a few deadlines and if you have friends who can nag you about them, all the better. I heard a radio presenter on Radio 4 say the other day: ‘There’s nothing like a tight deadline to knock the nonsense out of you’ and it’s so true. The one time when you really realise how much more you are capable of achieving than you normally do, is when you don’t have time to waste; you just do, do, do. More often than not the result is as good as if you’d spent hours, days, weeks, or years planning, revising and ruminating. What’s more you’ve then saved that time so you can do more with it. Then comes the trickiest part - deciding where to spend your time.
Picture the scene, you have one hour to spare do you..:
A) Give the house a quick once over? (You’ve put it off for long enough)
B) Play with your children? (They want to play tickle monster so you’ll need to be energetic)
C) Write that chapter you’ve been meaning to finish for a long time? (You’ve not had time to write for ages)
D) Have a bath/relax? (You deserve it after all)
E) Finish that report for work that’s due in on Monday?
F) Catch up with friends or family who you keep meaning to call?
G) Have some one on one time with the love in your life?
H) Go shopping?
I) Sort out the household bills and admin?
J) Do some exercise?
Afraid I have no advice to offer except that unless there’s a risk of botulism in the kitchen you can probably give the house a miss.