How Did My Time-Tracking Week Go?

I wrote last week that I had signed up for the Laura Vanderkam Time-Tracking Challenge for 2018, in which participants were asked to log their activities for one full week, 168 hours. I’m happy to say that I stuck to it for the full week this year (having almost immediately dropped out last January) and also thoroughly enjoyed reading Laura’s daily updates (link is to the first day’s post; you can then read the rest if you’re interested) on how she spent her own time. I used my fun app, toggl, which I’ve written about several times, most recently last week, and this morning I had a neatly categorized weekly report, all ready for me to look at and then send on to Laura. I managed to record a total of 167 hours and 22 minutes, so only a little bit of time fell through the cracks. How did I do? Here are some highlights:

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Ignore the Fear—and Press on to the Finish Line.

Feet going down stairsStop me if you’ve heard this before:

My psychology is very weird.

Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve had this experience too: You’re chugging along, making real progress on a project, and then you think, ‘But what will I do with myself when this is finished?’ I used to say this about our various landscaping endeavors at our house in Virginia. What would we do on Saturdays when we got all of that stuff done?

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“So we beat on, boats against the current. . .

boat against the current going into future. . . borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

This closing line from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald came into my head Saturday night as I walked out of the building after the final performance of the Cherry Creek Chorale’s wonderful fall concert. Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I very much dislike the novel itself. I can’t stand Daisy and don’t have the slightest idea why Jay Gatsby would carry a torch for her and even take the fall for her.

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The Joy of Tackling a Big Project

Building materials and half completed buildingMy current Big Writing Project (BWP) is the finishing up of my commentaries on Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for publication. I’ve been using the writing software Scrivener, as everybody who’s anybody says it’s magnificent. Well, I’d been finding it magnificently hard to use, to be honest. The final step in my project was the addition of images, and Scrivener just wasn’t cooperating. Until, suddenly, it was. I’m not sure what I did, but I think I had somehow created a table where I didn’t want one, and Scrivener was stubbornly following the

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Wearing the Iron Pants, Sticking to the Schedule, and Staying in the Chair

I don’t know if the muse is going to show up on any given day, but by golly, I’m going to be at my desk every day from 8 to 12 every morning in case she does.

Flannery O’Conner

Yep. Hard as it is to swallow, the only way I’m going to get any writing done is to sit in my chair and do it.

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Fuzzy Finish Lines

countertop and stove finish line
See how close the stovetop is to the counter!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finish lines, especially in how we view big projects and how we think they’ll advance. We look forward, we long, for the day when everything is done. It seems as if it will never happen. And then, gradually, the pieces start falling into place. It’s not one big ta-da moment like a horse crossing the finish line but a succession. There are bumps and reversals and then bursts of progress. This past Sunday, for instance, was a burst. The in-laws were off on a square-dancing trip until Sunday afternoon, and Jan’s daughter and her husband wanted to come over that evening.

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Nothing Is Ever Simple, Pt. II

clothes piled up on dresser and armoireFirst let me say that my purpose in chronicling the sometimes-rocky path we’re traversing in our efforts to renovate the downstairs isn’t necessarily to be entertaining, as I’m well aware that perhaps not everyone is as fascinated as we are with this whole process. Most of this saga falls into the “lessons learned” category, although, as our favorite author on home remodeling/renovation, David Owen, says, in any home improvement project you learn what you need to know as you go along, so that by the time you’re finished you know what you’re doing—but by then it’s too late. The project is done. If you’re a professional, then of course every mistake you make helps you not to make that same one on the next job. But for those of us who are simply trying to do a one-time item, it can get a little discouraging to realize that we’ll probably never use our hard-won knowledge again.

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Nothing Is Ever Simple!

No, I didn’t do any cleanup for this shot. Can you tell?

Today is Thursday (news flash), and tomorrow U-Haul is going to pick up the pods in the in-laws’ driveway unless we call them and extend our rental for another month. But that will cost TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS. We do not want to spend that money. It’s so frustrating, as we rented them in the first place so that we wouldn’t have to move everything in and then move it back out again when the carpet got installed, only of course, as I’ve mentioned, they’re having to re-stretch the carpet in the main living space and so it all has to be emptied out anyway. At least we don’t have to re-do the bedroom.

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Progress Made–The Kitchen Cabinets Are In!

Cluttered kitchen cabinetI said last week that every Monday was going to be a Progress Post. Well, today, Wednesday, is the first post I’ve written this week. Monday our peerless contractor and his son worked most of the day on installing our very small number of cabinet units, and I kept thinking that I should run and take a picture, but I wasn’t sure where my camera was. They were actually supposed to be on a much bigger job but they made time for us. I wanted a before and after set of pictures for today, from all the boxes on the kitchen floor to everything being put away, but all I have is this one shot that was taken partway through the process. (Pretty bad shot!)

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The Strangeness of the Finish Line.

horses racing toward the finish lineI wrote yesterday about passing the milestone of my last BSF class for the year and that I now need to be sure I have a new goal to fill the time left empty by the completion of that stretch. A memory from grad school came to mind as I re-read the post. A fellow speech grad student had her masters speech recital, straining every nerve, as one does, to get the performance ready and then, well, perform it. She did a good job (although for the life of me I can’t remember what her material was) and then she had a real struggle with depression once it was over.

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