1,440 Minutes

Please, Universe, may I have some more minutes to add to my day?

There are only 1,440 minutes in each day.  Of which 480 minutes are used to sleep and 600 are used to commute to my employer and actually work.  Eek! That leaves me with a measly 360 minutes to write, edit, play with the dog (non-negotiable), torment the cat, exercise (a need), and write.

I suppose I could cut back on the sleep, but that would end poorly.  No sleep makes Leila a cranky character.

Cut back on work? Bad idea, I need to get paid to put kibble in the dog’s bowl, food on my table, and pay for my book habit.

I could get a time-turner, but I’m not organized to keep out of my own timeline. Plead with the Doctor to take me away on an adventure? Maybe clone myself to get more done? Okay, scratch the cloning. It’s been proven through out science fiction that cloning causes more problems than it helps. What if one of them wants to be the real me? OR what if they revolt and try to implement my plans for world domination without me? No cloning.

Or just suck it up and get more organized.

The ‘O’ word.  There are times in my life when I am clock-work organized. Everything gets accomplished.  Then I make the ultimate mistake, I add to my list of things to do. It starts with seemingly minor things, then escalates until I’m huddled into a lump, rocking in a corner wondering where 360 minutes of my life vanished to.

Here are the things I do to keep myself on track:

  1. Keep a calendar – Making sure I’m writing down time commitments gives me freedom to plan time left over.
  2. Create a schedule and stick to it – Knowing where I’m going to be on a scheduled basis is a relief. Yes, I can maintain flexibility when things come up, but ultimately knowing where and what I need to be doing is freeing.
  3. Just say ‘NO’ – NO is not a bad word. It is a word that defines boundaries.  I’m learning to use it in my life.
  4. DO NOT succumb to guilt – It’s hard to refuse family, friends, and puppy-dog eyes when I have things to accomplish.  A schedule gives me a concrete reason to say ‘no’ and suggest another time that will work within my schedule.
  5. A Written ‘To-Do’ list – A to-do list keeps me on task and is therapeutic when I cross items off.
  6. Prioritize my ‘must do’ list every day – With the written ‘to-do’ list I can prioritize what are the important tasks for the day. It allows me to be flexible and allow things to happen while not falling behind.

I’m not perfect in my organization. I fail on an epic scale regularly. The effort of trying keeps me ahead of the game and lets me use that limited time I have.

How do you keep your 360 minutes organized or do you pants it?

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18 comments

  • Looks like you’re on the right track to getting some writing time in, Leila. I can sympathize. It’s tough trying to make time for this thing we profess to love, but prioritizing and a written schedule help!

    • Thanks! My smartphone helps a lot in keeping track of things and I also have my calendar. One step at a time. 🙂

  • Agree, cloning is *not* the best option!! There’s that whole “genetic drift” factor, and you never know what exactly you’ll get in the clone!! Time travel is theoretically possible, but reality dictates otherwise at this juncture. So you are left with organization… wishing you godspeed in that ongoing, never-ending, endeavor!! In the words from the 3rd Indian Jones movie… “Choose wisely”!! 😀

  • I need more time to draft, write and edit darn it 😦 heck I only got 5 hours every evening now 😦

    • Plan and grab the time, that’s my new motto. 🙂

  • OMG. I hadn’t thought about how many minutes there were in the day devoted to doing your own stuff. I get too easily distracted and make up any chores rather than sit down and write the next play…maybe I should write a list instead?

    • I scared myself when I started figuring out minutes. I am adept at finding other things to do. 🙂

      • You scared me too. 🙂

  • Hi, Leila! Enjoyed this. Organization? Hmm, that’s on and off with me. Sometimes I’m On top of it. More often, I’m Off kilter. Well, all I can say is that it keeps life interesting.

    • I know! Some days I’ve got it. Some days, the universe implodes. 🙂

  • ❤ This post! It reminds me the movie "About a Boy" when Hugh Grant says:

    Will: I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes. Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour. Taking a bath: one unit, watching countdown: one unit, web-based research: two units, exercising: three units, having my hair carefully disheveled: four units. It's amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I'd ever have time for a job; how do people cram them in?

    • Love it! It’s so true. 🙂

  • Also, I started using the Pomodoro Technique and it’s awesome! I wrote 2 post about it on my blog:
    http://kristyfgillespie.wordpress.com/category/tips/

  • I’m in denial. I pretend there is much more time and run around at high speed trying to hit impossible targets. Ultimately sleep gets sacrificed and the charade goes on until the need for sleep fights back. I much prefer your approach. Sometimes I can be very organised too!

    • Denial is a nice place to visit for very brief times. Its sibling, reality, is mean and pragmatic as it demands all our attention. sigh.

  • Like you, I keep a calendar and had to learn to say NO and not feel guilty. It is a process and requires a bit of unlearning and relearning.

    However, I have found that when I do get overwhelmed and am pulling my hair out and kicking myself for not having a time turner, its usually a sign that I haven’t said NO enough.

    Oh and the clone thing really doesn’t work. I had one and she took off for a life of adventure with Han Solo and left me behind to deal with real life.

    • Darn clone! I’m telling you, as tempting as it might seem it always goes wrong. 🙂
      For me learning to say NO is similar to the constant lessons in patience I’m always cycling through.

  • Pingback: My Author Toolkit – Be Organized |

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