I admit it. I’m a clock-watcher. I’m a deadline-oriented time-tender. In many facets of my life this serves me well. I meet deadlines, keep reservations, and schedule tasks and appointments. But this tendency also comes with bit of obsessing. Meaning, I schedule just about everything. If I’m going to shower, I’ll plan to do it—in ten minutes. And then in ten minutes, I will shower. If I’m going to the grocery store I may add it to my list and plan to leave, not when I’m ready to go, but at, let’s say, 9:00. And then at 9:00 I’ll go. I’ll start dinner at 5:30 so we can eat at 6 or 6:15, although we’ll eat whenever dinner is done, as it’s more about the start-time and than the finish-time. You see, I can ease up on time within the construct of the event, but things begin on time if I have something to say about it. If someone else is calling the shots, I don’t go all time-warden, but I do fare better if I know ahead someone is going to be late or change plans.
I think it’s an attempt at structure, so the bad habit part comes in when and if the clock-watching interferes with actually getting things done. This would be counterproductive AND counterintuitive for someone who likes to be productive and uses clocks to make this happen. It’s also a bad thing when clock watching turns into procrastinating, which it can. Because in ten minutes can turn into in twenty minutes or even in thirty minutes very easily. Or so I’ve heard. This is also a bad habit if minute minding gets in the way in the way of having fun. I don’t do that. I think about it. But I don’t do it. I can do things spontaneously—and am glad to send my list and stopwatch packing to meet a friend for dinner right now or run lunch (or a term paper) over to the high school right now or run out right now before the store closes.
This is the easiest era ever in which to keep track of everything in our lives. I set my smart phone to alert me to what I have scheduled so I don’t have to even glance at the corner of my laptop, I just have to wait for my reminder. This technology, which has allowed me to loosen up a bit has also tied me tighter to my clock, because I even set reminders about my reminders.
A long time ago I decided that this habit was okay with me—even if it is a little weird—and that I wasn’t going to waste any of my precious time worrying about it.
But if I did, I think I’d start in five minutes.
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