Time management, or murdering your darlings

Since I finished my capstone I’ve been kind of relaxing, for some definition of relaxing. I’ve done some sewing, some reading, some travelling, some work on the house, and some light organizing. But I haven’t jumped into any big projects or aggressive job-hunting, so I’ve been feeling a little guilty. I’ve also felt guilty for ignoring this space.

But this isn’t a “I’m sorry I haven’t posted, I’ve been so busy” post. Well, not exclusively. This morning I was feeling ready to tackle one of the projects that is piling up a little and went to the directory on my laptop where I keep notes on projects. It’s super low-tech but it works. I keep a different directory for each year, and another directory for each project, then whatever files are relevant in there, like this:


So I went to that directory to catch up on a project and I realized why my subconscious has kept me on mental vacation so aggressively. There are TEN active projects, plus several todo lists. And projects for me represent a decent chunk of work. And I actually had more like 3 projects to add. And I did this while working full time and getting my masters. And it’s only June. I need to do some pruning, but every project is dear to me.

Here’s an original thought: Time budgeting often feels to me like money budgeting. Cable and entertainment money are analogous to social media for me, which is why I don’t make room for the Twitter or the Facebook, so I can’t cut those things. 15 minutes spent tweetdecking is 15 minutes I don’t have to go outside and identify trees. Finishing house renovations, the chaos of which drives one absolutely bananas, is like groceries. Visiting family is like the laundromat budget before I had a washer and dryer. I could maybe slim it down, but that cuts close to the bone.

Corey Latislaw (organizer of Android Alliance) has an interesting post about how she and her partner use Agile techniques to manage their home life. It’s a novel approach and worth thinking about. But at the core, what I’m yearning for is to have just enough queued up so that I’m pleasantly occupied but not feeling like I need time management superpowers. I want the freedom to say sod it all and read a book or go for a bike ride for an evening if I want. What this comes back to is the need to find a focal point, a mission as it were, and trim my projects down to activities that deepen that commitment rather than simply broaden my experience. For a maximalist who sees the connections among everything, this is not easy. In fact it’s painful, like murdering your darlings.

Makes me want to turn off the computer and sew.

One thought on “Time management, or murdering your darlings”

  1. Wait, you can sew? Like machine sew?

    Can you help me stitch two different pant legs together so that I have a hybrid pair of trousers? I have been meaning to do that for about four years. If you’re free in mid-July…

    Also, yes, darling-killing is wise.

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