Making Time

Published in the September 2012 Issue September 2012 Feature

It never seems to fail. Around this time of year I'm always in shock by just how fast the summer went. I swear the cold winter months never fly by as quickly as June, July and August do. The funny thing is, I'm such an organized control-freak that instead of just accepting this reality, I actually sat down recently and tried to figure out how to solve my problem.

Hoping to discover a way to save time, I went online and searched "save time," thinking I was using my work time productively. Well, that was a big waste of you-know-what. Turns out there's no such thing as a magic equation where you just plug in your details and you're somehow granted more time in the day. Of course I did find thousands of links explaining why creating a to-do list is so important and that if I would just rank my tasks for each day I could save a lot of time.

Problem is I already do this. My desk calendar is full of sticky notes with tasks written out of what I plan to get accomplished before I go home. However, I've discovered that at times my list is longer by the end of the day than it was when I first got to work. Not sure how that's even possible, but it's true.

So instead of focusing on my to-do list or looking for ways to create more time to get things accomplished, I decided it would be better to just slow down and make the most out of the time that I do have. I believe it's referred to as stopping to smell the roses.

In the past I've wagged my finger from the helm chair of our magazine and preached to people to make time to go houseboating. But, I confess to you, brothers and sisters, I have failed to live by the gospel of relaxation myself. There are houseboaters that are doing a much better job at this than I am.

In my travels I've discovered plenty of houseboaters who have learned to manage their time rather than the other way around. They learned how to reward themselves for jobs well done rather than weigh themselves down with blame for tasks not completed.

Time marches on. It can't give us more of itself. It flows regularly and inescapably forward. There is no turning back the clock or the calendar. Time and tide wait for no man.

So I am hereby making some mid-course corrections. First, I am going to let my to-do list get longer and from now on, in my mind, longer is better. If I can't fit it all on just one sticky note I'll keep adding as needed. Instead of stressing over the list, I'll sleep better at night knowing that it's all written down.

Another correction is rather than blame myself for jobs not done, I'll congratulate myself for doing important jobs well. And the last correction is that I will now add fun things to the list just to, you know, smell those roses that everyone keeps talking about.

This will include more time on the water with my family and friends. I think our boat misses us when we don't visit often and those to-do lists have been a roadblock for me in the past. It won't be easy to make these course corrections, but it's a challenge I'd dare bet many of us face today. I'm looking forward to these changes and in fact, I think I'll go add them to my to-do list right now while I'm thinking about it. Time waits for no one; make the most out of your houseboating time and don't be afraid to walk away from your own to-do lists.

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