Lessons from Rigorous Time Tracking: Timing of Interruptions

As you may know, I’m practicing a year of rigorous self-tracking: time, money and feelings. This morning, I had a great lesson come out of my time tracking.

I’ve been dog sitting for a friend for a few weeks now, and I arranged with her to pick up the dog at 10:00 “or any time after that.” I had a plan with my time before 10:00, then several things I wanted to get done that weren’t actual appointments after that. I figured since I was home and could work until she got here, it wouldn’t matter if she came at 10:00, 10:15, 10:30 or 11:00 – I would be able to get work done in the interim and would simply put myself and my work on “pause” while we met, got all her dog supplies back to her and checked in on the past few weeks’ experience.

At 10:08, I started to feel tense. I realized that what I wanted and needed to do involved writing (and, therefore, some focus on my thoughts), phone calls (which would require not answering the door while on them), calendaring (which involved focus on my overall schedule, goals and not losing my place while getting the items in). Basically, I found that I put my entire task list on hold and puttered on the internet because I felt I couldn’t dive in and get anything I wanted to do done right. 

The first thing I realized about this is that I did not value my time or take my own process into account here. My time was “flexible” when it really didn’t need to be. Why didn’t I just say, “I need to do this at 10:00 sharp, or we can reschedule for later in the day?” I wanted to please her and give her all sorts of lee-way (without any very good reason – she hadn’t asked for flexibility; I just offered it). 

I also realize I have some very ADD ways of approaching life. Distractions really distract me. I need to have blocks of time in place in which I can work without interruption. For whatever reason, I forgot that about myself, and I didn’t give myself the space I needed to work. I gave myself short-shrift this morning, and I did it not because there was some terrible crisis happening but simply because I thought my time was expendable and others’ was not.

It’s a small thing, but I can already extrapolate this because I know it will show up time and again, if I don’t change it. I can see that this is one of my huge time and energy “drains.”  It was a small thing today, but it happens multiple times each day, everyday. I’m beginning to consider how I might “capture” these potential interruptions and put them on hold until am ready, instead of putting myself on hold until others are ready! And I’m really looking forward to harnessing some of the bleeding energy and diffused focus and putting them back to work for me in 2014.

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One thought on “Lessons from Rigorous Time Tracking: Timing of Interruptions

  1. Hi Lora, I am new to your blog and looking forward to reading your posts. It’s great that your rigorous self-tracking is leading you to useful insights. I am the same when it comes to sitting down to write (fiction or non-fiction) – I need a block of uninterrupted time to focus on my thoughts and ideas and transfer them to the page. Interruptions mean lost thoughts and sometimes they never return, which is so frustrating.

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