April 7, 2016 in Dag

Timing my time – or more likely mistiming my time

I have a tangled relationship with time. Sometimes time is my friend. It spreads out before me, giving me the space to do the things I need to do. More often, it is not so friendly. I can feel it contracting around me, as if I’m moving forward into some sort of funnel. The time I think I have seems to be doing nothing else except rapidly declining.

Time is complicated. If you’ve done any study of relativity or quantum physics (and believe it or not, I have), you’ll know that it definitely doesn’t behave in the ways we think it does. It does not continue rolling forward at the same rate (or even at the relative rates we experience when we compare say the time it takes for a dentist to clean your teeth vs the time a really good party takes to finish). It’s actually highly elastic and unpredictable, in ways I couldn’t even start to describe – so I won’t even try.

Time seems to particularly become a problem when it starts to get applied to work. I’ve had a number of jobs that have had a high requirement for time reporting. This means allocating the amount of time you spend on each task. It also means – not much fun. As someone who approaches tasks in a holistic kind of way, I’m really not that good at breaking them down and apportioning time in micro kind of ways. I’m also not good at time predictions, i.e. providing an estimate for how long a task takes before I do it. In the end, it will take as long as it takes, at least that’s how I see it.

I’m equally as bad when it comes to estimating how long my writing-related work will take. I’m actually dealing with that issue at the moment, while I work on editing my current WIP. At first I thought maybe I could get though all the edits in a month or so. Then maybe two months. How about three? We’re now pushing up towards five months. Good news is the end is starting to appear somewhere off in the horizon. I’m thinking maybe there’s only another month to go. Which will likely turn into two months, and then maybe three, and…I don’t think I want to think about it anymore.

So what’s the upshot of this? I suppose it’s the message that while planning is important, you can never rely on things going as planned. In the end, no matter how carefully you allocate your time, things always end up taking as long as they take.

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