Time waits for no one, so I’ll keep this short.

Phone Photos 010

Nature sets the rhythm.

 #LiveTheQuest Prompt 4:

Jeffrey Davis asks, 

What skill set do you need and want to develop or to hone? #skill
Between a naive hobbyist amateur and a signature artist is a curious apprentice. If you ever lose the apprentice’s edge, you risk either keeping your head in the sands of fear or in the clouds of arrogance.

To live your question and respond to your challenges differently, what new skill set do you need and want to develop this quarter in order to execute your one project or something else exceptionally well? What existing skill set do you need and want to hone and sharpen? How can you do so more intentionally?

An existing skill set I need and want to hone: making good use of my time.

For about two years, I was a professional organizer. In addition to helping clients downsize and organize their physical space, I helped coach them in time management. I’ve worked to apply the principles I learned to my own life, pursuing minimalism, which I think of as a path rather than a destination.

I have always had a fairly well-organized home. I’m pretty decent at making good use of my time. But I’m not a master. I don’t consider myself a minimalist. I’m definitely a curious apprentice when it comes to shaping my time and the space around me to best enable me to do the work that matters, to live my life the way I believe I’m meant to live.

This quarter, I intend to hone my time-shaping skills (I loathe the phrase “time management” with a deep and abiding passion. Time is not some flunky in a cubicle. Time is a five-year-old on a sugar high at 9pm. You don’t manage that. You try to work with it). To that end, I will

1) Be more aware of how I use my time. Many people fail at taking control of their own space and time because they set out to change it without first understanding it. I’m an impatient person, but I am committed to taking the time I need to observe myself in action (or inaction). In concrete terms, what this means for me is that I am going to spend a couple of weeks noting what I do and when I do it. This will allow me to identify not only trouble spots (too much time falling down internet rabbit holes), but times of peak creativity and energy. This should not just be about finding out what I do wrong, but affirming what I do right. I learned in my brief organizing career that even the most disorganized person has at least some systems in place that work well for her.

2) Sit with the knowledge I gain. Again, I’m impatient. I need to slow down and take the time to make sense of what I discover. Then I can analyze it and develop a way of doing things that works for me, not against my natural tendencies. Unless those tendencies are just dumb.

3) Reshape my days with intention, flexibility, and grace. I need to do the things that matter and not fritter away time I’ll miss later. I need to prioritize my work. I need to be flexible. As a part time tutor at a school with a modified block schedule, I do not have any single day that looks like any other day. Each session meets at a different time each day. I also have two small children whose primary extracurricular activities are Chaos and Assorted Childhood Illnesses; an elderly dog with cancer whose hobbies include Upchucking and Not Making It Outside In Time; a husband with a fulfilling but demanding teaching career that involves championing students other people give up on and preventing teen pregnancy at high school dances; and a life in the country, where weather and the seasons, not some superimposed timetable, dictate the rhythms of my days. I need to give myself the grace to roll with the punches–to aim high, but not to disintegrate when life just doesn’t go according to plan.

A skill set I need and want to hone:

[takes a deep breath]

Brevity.