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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A Clear-Eyed Look from the Inside–and the Outside

How the Right Lost Its Mind by Charlie Sykes, 2017, available in hardback and Kindle fomats.

This book is the third one I’ve read since last fall about our current political landscape. I wrote a post about the first one, Matt K. Lewis’s Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots), in August of last year and have since read Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Sen. Jeff Flake. Both are excellent, both cover roughly the same territory, and now I’m adding this one to the list. I think that’ll do it for now.

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Just Keep Plugging Away

Partially finished jigsaw puzzleHurtling is the word, dear friends, hurtling towards 2018. I’m reminded of how I felt several years ago during a five-day visit to New York City. We took the subway quite a bit, and the rushing by of the trains seemed a metaphor for now quickly our precious vacation time was passing. That image returns to me often: So much to do, so many goals to be accomplished, and so little time.

But once in awhile I step back and inhale loudly. I remind myself that what really 

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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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Where Will Your Month Go?

leaves fallingSometimes I think that this blog wouldn’t have many entries if I didn’t do so much cribbing from other sources. Gretchen Rubin is a big crib, but another one is Laura Vanderkam, whom I’ve mentioned before. She’s quite a gal; I last wrote about her in this post about downtime. In addition to her quasi-daily blog posts she also sends out a weekly newsletter that sums up her week or gives ideas for the week or month to come, appropriately called “A Week’s Worth.” (The link is to the signup form.)

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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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No Ostriches Need Apply

flock of ostrich I’ve said often that I consider Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night, written in 1936, to be the greatest novel of the 20th century. I’ve been reminded a number of times recently of this little exchange between Lord Peter Wimsey and the woman he loves, Harriet Vane. Peter had fought in World War I and been badly traumatized by his role as an officer, having to send men off into battle.

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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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Covey Gleanings

photo credit: Wikipedia

I am plowing through the Covey book, and maybe you should, too.

I’m at the beginning of chapter 13, so only 95 more to go. Mercy! I can’t even begin to imagine what he can possibly go on about for that long, but at this point we haven’t even gotten to the first highly effective habit; he’s still hammering away at his introductory stuff.

I’ve said several times already that the book is boring, but that’s not quite the right word. It’s just very, very dense, and he has all these proverb-like sentences that make me feel that I should be writing them down, or cross-stitching them, or something. I just cheated and went onto BrainyQuote to look at ome of his sayings. Follow the link to get a sampling.

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