Dixie Darr

In creativity on July 10, 2007 at 7:21 am

Time to Create

“Don’t say that you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Okay, that’s a scary thought. Do you know what these people managed to accomplish in their lifetimes? It’s all I can do to clean the bathroom. On the other hand, I can’t imagine any of these people having to spend time cleaning the bathroom. While not exactly single-minded in their pursuits, they were at any rate single-minded in pursuing what they considered important.

As Charlie Chaplin said, “Genius is the ability to edit.” That’s true in life as well as acting, writing or painting. Most of us have WAY too many things and WAY too many activities and we’re not especially good at getting rid of those we don’t really need. I speak from personal experience.

My students sometimes get very angry when I suggest to them that while they are in school, they may not be able to do everything they did before. Like most people, they think time management means learning to do things faster so they can fit more into the same amount of time. Not true. The first rule of time management is to eliminate everything that doesn’t contribute to your goals. As humorist H. L. Menken once observed, “It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.”

Another rule of time management is to match your tasks to the times that are best suited for them. One study reported that our best ideas come at the following times:

6 a.m. – noon 30%

Noon – 6 p.m. 14%

6 p.m. – midnight 33%

Midnight – 6 a.m. 23%

The times will, of course, vary from person to person, but it looks like another argument for afternoon naps.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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