I am stuck in a frittering mode…frittering away time. I guess it’s partially because I am recovering from three weeks of hyper-alertness, after all the emergencies and interrupted sleep. I finally had a weekend with no need for extra trips anywhere. Add to that the 90+ heat, and it was a recipe for extended naps.

I have a long list of things I want to do. The basics are to get back into my routines: of blogging, of sitting, of writing, of reading, of walks at the river with my dog. Then there’s the piano I haven’t touched in months now, the piles of magazines that remain unopened, the e-mail in my inbox that I want to respond to but haven’t made the time.

On Thursday, I had a meeting at the YWCA, my first, to begin volunteer work. I used to work as a volunteer doing domestic violence prevention advocacy, mostly community outreach. What I like best is giving talks to various groups, educating people about domestic violence, and potentially getting the word to victims. I have wanted for the past year or so to reenter that world. I finally made the phone call a month ago, and a new team of outreach volunteers met this week to brainstorm on plans. It felt good to take that first step. But now I have to do a bunch of reading, to refresh my knowledge on the subject, and I need to actually start making time in my weeks to do the work. One more thing to add to the list.

What I know about myself, is that when I am busy, I can get an amazing amount done. When I am idle, I do it like a professional. Everything stops. It’s hard for me to be in the middle. Moderation has never been my strong point. And going from inertia to movement is always tricky – I’m never sure exactly how to start the proverbial ball rolling again.

I try setting schedules. Apparently that works for many people, but it never has for me. Whenever I write up a week’s plan, or even a day’s plan, I completely veer off course almost immediately. And then I berate myself for being so unreliable. Patterns, patterns. Sometimes it is a curse to know yourself so well.

How do you deal with time management, and getting out of the drag of inertia? Any thoughts on setting goals without setting yourself up for failure?

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  1. I deal terribly w/ time management; that’s one reason I liked both military & monastic living. The schedules take care of time. zt

  2. Hmmmm….well, enlisting in the Marine Corps isn’t a good option right now. Running away to a monastery is tempting, though. Reality sets in quickly – I’m going to have to figure out how to manage time in the real world, my life. Isn’t that just like Zen?

  3. Based on reports from my sisters (one a Chan Buddhist bhiksuni for more than 40 years, and the other a Soto Zen priest at Tassajara), one does not leave the world when one enters the monastic life! The world persists within the monastery walls, perhaps more acutely, with time for attention. Both corps, I suspect, and monastery offer/require presence in the Now. Amid our daily din is that same Stillness, difficult to schedule! I listen for it–when I remember! Reminding myself, sporadically, may be the only time management tool I’ve found…

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