Friday, February 3, 2012

In just no time at all

My goal is to write this blog in 15 minutes or less. Starting at 12:15. GO.

Time management is one skill I absolutely, positively do not possess. In any form. My whole life I've had to use clocks, alarms, stopwatches, anything really to measure time. Because I have no sense of it.

I blame my generation.

I was born in an era of consumption - of mass media and the constant blare of the TV in the background whenever I have done anything. When I was little I used to fall asleep watching the telly in the evenings and my mom would have to carry me to my bed. It became such a problem that once I got a television in my room I required it to be on to help me fall asleep. Unlike Simon and Garfunkel, I never worshipped (or even appreciated) the "Sounds of Silence."

Instead I began wasting time from an early age, watching TV or movies or videos whenever I could and never taking a breather to actually absorb something that didn't make my brain figuratively melt into goo.

I lasted all of three weeks in college without a television in my room. By the time my dad returned to visit for a weekend (due to my intense separation anxiety), I had grown so tired of silence that I asked him to pick me up a TV and take it out of my college fund.

He did and now I have my beautiful little baby TV that sits on my desk proudly. It is from this television that I have watched the Royal Wedding, hours and hours of The Today Show (groan) and numerous episodes of The Office and Glee.

It's not my addiction to the boob tube that I necessarily despise. It's the fact that my dependence on simultaneous auditory and visual stimulation has made me have trouble either absorbing information from one or the other, or actually going longer than 15 minutes without being entertained by a medium that appeals to those senses.

The problem has cut into other parts of life. When reading for class I often get distracted and feel the need to turn on music. But because I can't compartmentalize my thoughts and focus on the reading rather than the music, it becomes more than white noise and I can't concentrate.

So I try divvying up my time. I read a page, reward myself with a song, read a page, reward with a song. The cycle continues.

But then it breaks. And then I find myself on Facebook with my iTunes blaring in the background for hours doing who knows what.

It's weird how smooth the transition is from spending time productively to wasting oodles of hours. The transition back is not so smooth.

It is now 12:23. I have written a ridiculous amount of words for the time I have sat here cranking this out.

Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that I am not listening to music. All of my attention is focused on writing alone. While I'm writing is really the only time - out of utter necessity - that I can actually sit in silence. It is impossible for me to write with most sounds in the background, therefore it is the one activity I can actually complete quickly and efficiently.

So where does that leave the rest of my time? To be honest, I don't know. It gets lost in the space vortex between my iPod and my stack of textbooks, never to be found again.

That is not to say I haven't made strides in the effort of time management. The first year I did all of my English readings without fail was my senior year of high school, certainly an improvement from the years of skimming, skipping and occasional (dare I say it) Cliff's Notes-ing.

The path to betterment is a long, winding road filled with obstacles. But just as I try now to write a blog in 15 minutes, I hope to write out similar expectations for myself in reading. In studying. In essay writing.

And it'll happen. Even if it takes me another 13 years of schooling.

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