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Time management

When I was in high school, I would hear adults complain, “I don’t have enough time!” or “There’s only 24 hours in a day.” I understood the meaning of those sentences, but I didn’t really understand what they meant. When I was in high school I watched TV after school or read books or lied around and did nothing. Sometimes I did homework, but usually on the bus on the way to school. I had lots of time to do whatever I wanted and I never appreciated it.

These days I have to work 8 hours a day. I get an hour for lunch. I spend an hour in transit. If I cook or exercise, that takes time. I have to sleep at least 7-8 hours or else my health suffers and I can’t focus or my head hurts more than it usually does. I try to stuff an hour or 30 minutes in there to relax and do nothing so I don’t go insane. Then I try to write quality blog entries, because I hate to shit out a post for the sake of posting. The cats want to play with me and the dishes need to be washed or else that gross black mold starts to grow on the oatmeal bowls. I try to keep up a social life, so I watch bad TV shows with friends or go to costume parties, but part of me feels bad that I am not doing all those other things I should be doing. I’d like to take tae kwon do or a professional Pilates class or learn piano. Some day I’d like to write another book. I like to read the blogs. And Dear God in heaven, I try to keep up with my email.

Sometimes my head hurts and I have to lie down and forget about all the stuff I wanted to do.

Sometimes I wish I just lived under a rock and didn’t have to do anything or have any responsibilities. But I know that would be unsatisfying too, because not having a purpose in life or things to do is just as bad as having too much to do.

There is only so much time. There is only so long I will be alive. There is so much I want to do. But I can’t make it all fit, like I’m trying to close a suitcase stuffed with too many clothes. I can sit on it and yank at the zipper, but there’s just too much crap in the carry-on. So I have to pick and choose what goes in there, but I find myself missing all the things that don’t make it.

I look back on high school and wish I could get all that time back, or at least appreciate how valuable it was. Because these days I’m the one saying, “I don’t have enough time.”

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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DuchessOfDork • November 6, 2008 at 7:06 am

Amen, lady. I say this more often than I even realize, there aren’t enough hours in the day. My commute, unless I get up at 5:30 AM, is about an hour and twenty minutes. Each way.

Also, I know where you’re coming from with the pain thing. I suffer from constant headaches, and this last one has lasted me three days so far. Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with me, either. I read your blog not only because of your witty jibe, but also to see if maybe you can figure out something I haven’t yet. Here’s hoping both of us will get this figured out.

In the meantime, here’s to lying down and doing nothing every once in a blue moon. :)


Scale Junkie • November 6, 2008 at 7:15 am

Bad news, once you hit 30 the spare time you seem to have now will be cut in half and by the time you hit 40..well, you just don’t want to know what happens when you hit 40…and its not just because you’re the Queen of Half, it happens to everyone.


LothL • November 6, 2008 at 7:32 am

You should see what happens when you have kids! Sorry. Slinking away sheepishly now.


PurpleGirl • November 6, 2008 at 7:46 am

I feel exactly the same way. At the end of nearly every day, I look back and wonder what I did all day because no matter what I accomplished, there are still just too many things I didn’t get done.


MB • November 6, 2008 at 8:02 am

It is true that the older you get the quicker the time goes by, your lunch hour is the quickest hour of the day and weekend time flies faster than the work week. If we only had more time to do the things we WANT to do rather than the time suck of things we HAVE to do. Time keeps slippin’ away … and now I have to run to catch my bus or I’ll be late for work ….


Jill • November 6, 2008 at 8:21 am

Oh I hear ya sister!!! Two days a week is not nearly enough time for me to do all the things I want/need to do. Four day weekends are like a brownie fudge sundae to me now – so delectable!! And there’s not nearly enough of them in the world.


Brandi • November 6, 2008 at 8:33 am

Wow, this was a post right on target for me today! It’s very … well, maybe not inspiring … but certainly something more than simply thought-provoking.


J9 • November 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

Hubby & I recently talked about how great it would be to only work four days a week. That fifth day could be spent doing “chores” or “important errands”. The other two days are yours to fritter away as you please! But that leads to discussions about making it on a reduced income. Still gotta pay for all that “stuff” we’ve come to rely on!


Just_Kelly • November 6, 2008 at 9:41 am

Might want to check out Franklin Covey and the 7 habits of highly effective people. It talks about prioritizing what you want based on your values. Good stuff.


s • November 6, 2008 at 9:56 am

yeah. but, on the bright side, weekends are not full of homework anymore.


Sarah • November 6, 2008 at 9:59 am

Cut yourself some slack woman! You are doing just fine.


Cheree • November 6, 2008 at 10:22 am

I can relate!!!

But this doesn’t mean you’re going to slow down on the posting though, does it?! :-(


jenna • November 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

Its like you wrote this from my exact thoughts this morning. I work in the music business and although it’s cool my work is never ending. i have had to go to shows almost every work day for the past month which means get home super late, eat, shower and go to sleep. weekends are filled with cleaning and laundry. Sometimes i feel like their is way too much pressure on 20 somethings. Either work this hard or you might not be successful. I just can’t imagine what life will be like when i have kids one day. I am sleepy just thinking about it.

anyways i guess my point is i feel your pain and i hope things get better. if you can take a day off and enjoy some Oprah!


Katieinthemountains • November 6, 2008 at 10:46 am

Ooh, you need a break. So put up a vacation post, put an out-of-office autoreply on emails, and give yourself a mental health weekend.

You can come back to everything you still want to do besides work in a little while.


Deanna • November 6, 2008 at 10:58 am

Amen Sista!!! I agree.


Erin • November 6, 2008 at 11:01 am

I constantly do that. I leave my apartment at 7:15 to be at work at 8:30. Work until 4:30. Go to class, get to school at 5:30, shove something in my mouth that resembles dinner. Class from 6 to 8. Get home 8:30. And I somehow need to squeeze in studying. Oh, and sleep. I get an hour lunch break but rarely get to take it because I have to leave promptly at 4:30 for school. In my head I have that I’m going to exercise and train for a 5K, but I look at my daily schedule, and I’m lucky to get a shower and shave my legs and think “i’d rather get a full 6 or 7 hours of sleep than exercise or cook.” It’s all about time management. I did SO WELL at the beginning of the year. I’m kinda failing at it right now. Oh well. But I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Except for adding 2 hours onto the day. But other than that? I know in a few years, I’ll look back and totally get why I’m killing myself now. (not literally. i am one of the few law students who have not succumbed to drugs, prescription or others!)

And I know I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful blog posts. :-)

And sadly, I kill trees and use paper plates and plastic utensils, because I’m lucky enough to eat, I can’t spend time on dishes! And I’m going to start dropping my laundry off to be washed. Sad that I’m spending money on something that I can so easily do myself, but there’s just no time!!


Quix • November 6, 2008 at 11:03 am

Oh, PQ, I was lamenting about this just this weekend. When I was younger, I was always waiting for SOMETHING and wanted time to go faster. I would be happy when I was 16 and could drive. I would be happy when I was 18 and could have my own place. Now, I just want it to slow the heck down. There is so much I want to do. I want to take a dance class. I want to paint pictures. I want to write more. I’d like to work on a game pitch document. I’d like to try my hand at songwriting. If I could, I would spend more time in the gym.

But there is a required amount of spacing out/doing nothing time too. I’ve done the all work and no play thing, and it’s just a recipe for nervous breakdowns. The best we can do is prioritize and get to work on what we want to do one by one.


tina • November 6, 2008 at 11:24 am

I’ve been struggling with this too. It seems all I do is chores on the weekend and then suddenly it’s Monday again. Doing one chore per day seems to be working for me so then they don’t pile up. I’m a TV junkie so i’ve been doing stuff during commercials as well.


asithi • November 6, 2008 at 12:19 pm

I say the key is to cut down my work hours. Currently I am at work for 9 hours, then you add in lunch and commute, that is 11 hours already. If only I can work 4-5 hours a day, like when I was in college, then I am sure I will have more time to enjoy other activities.


JEM • November 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I hear you! I kept telling myself I am just bad at life. Its nice to know others struggle with this as well.

My life would be cake if only work didn’t get in the way!

I try to prioritize but something always falls through the cracks.


Tami • November 6, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Amen, sistah. Too true, too true, and getting worse every year.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but there’s a site called Zen Habits that has some really great suggestions for combating this exact problem.


Really nice blog, if you’ve never found it.

Sometimes it helps to sit down and map out your day. (Granted, I did that once and found the amount of “free” time I had that wasn’t sleeping or at work to be depressing, but I’m glad I did it anyway). Then map out the other things that need to get done, and prioritize how you want to spend your time.

You can go even deeper, and spend a week actually writing down how much time you spend doing something. You’d be shocked (or maybe not) at how much time is spent checking email. If you can keep yourself to checking email only twice a day, you can literally save an hour or two (or three, if you add in random blog feed checking *sheepish look*)

I do my dishes immediately after using them as often as I can. They’re easier to clean, it just takes a few extra seconds, and then I don’t have “do the dishes” take up a half hour every other day.

Little things can make a big difference. =]


maggie • November 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I hear you.

And then when I do have time I don’t want to do anything because it’s such a shock to NOT have a billion things to do. And I’m tired from working too much and doing everything else.

Sigh. I don’t want to be a grownup anymore.


Dinah Soar • November 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Amen…and I who am now a full time home maker–and I loooooove it!–can’t find time to do everything I like either…just not enough hours in the day.

Jim Elliot said “wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God”.

I guess the main point is then to really enjoy the things we must do and the things we choose to do to the ‘nth degree. You never know what a day may bring forth. Our days for certain are limited and the ability to fully enjoy those days could be limited to, by health and other adversity.

What am I thinking?…..It’s not New Years yet! So save it–this deep thinking– for your New Year’s reflection which also will be here all too soon.

Finally–you really should write another book…your wit and outlook is priceless. You are a realist and so down to earth but never boring.


Laura N • November 6, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Oh man, I’m not EVEN going to throw out that “wait till you have kids” thing. People with kids chose to have kids (well, most of us do, you know what I mean). I was JUST AS BUSY before I had kiddos….I spent my time voluteering and doing stuff for ME and my husband, but there was still never enough time in the day/week/year.

There does come a point where you just say, F- it. This is my life. I will live it to the fullest, when I’m healthy. And I will do the best I can, when I feel bad. Sh*t will fall through the cracks sometimes. Like my house–it’s a total disaster most of the time. But I figure when I’m old and alone, then I’ll have a clean house. For now I’d rather do stuff with my family than have a dustless mantle.

And, BTW, I appreciate you writing about this. (Also? Your shit posts are probably better than most people’s well-thought-out posts. So, no worries if they aren’t polished & perfect, ‘kay?) Hope you have a blast in Chicago this weekend.


Matt • November 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Straight to the heart!!!


DonnaLynn Lanning • November 6, 2008 at 5:03 pm

What a great post. This was very timely for me because hubby leaves in days on another year long deployment and I find myself with an amazing list of things I want to do during this time, but I know there is not enough time to do it all. So, I find myself having to prioritize. What’s most important to me to get done first? What’s going to take the entire year to do? (Weight loss is one of those year-long things.) What can be optional?

Again, what a perfect post you wrote today. How well it fits, and gets me thinking very deeply.

-DonnaLynn, in Hawaii


VerseFameBeauty • November 6, 2008 at 5:19 pm

I worked two or three part-time jobs, went to school and rode horses competitively in high school so I’ve been feeling this way for a long time but all I have to say is…

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES.

On Sunday we actually had an extra hour in the day… and it was AWESOME. Maybe we should fall back an hour every night, forever. lol


Theresa • November 6, 2008 at 6:26 pm

You should try being a single mom of two little ones that works full time!


Kyle • November 6, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I actually had a nervous breakdown in high school because I was so busy but that’s a different story for another day. My college experience was similar to your high school experience it sounds like. In college I would sleep and/or party for hours on end. Entire days would pass in which I did absolutely NOTHING productive, literally, not one thing.

And now like you, I’m screaming “Dear god do I ever try to keep up with those emails,” too!


cindy • November 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Hi PQ,

I can definitely relate. I am 47. I work full-time and go to graduate school (one more semester to go after this…). Old brains don’t fire off papers as quickly as young ones. I read my homework assignments ~ sometimes twice ~ to make sure I comprehend it all. I have been working at this kind of pace for 3+ years and I love it, but am pretty worn out. I happen to love my job, too, so work days tend to go just as fast as week-ends (or nearly so), unless I have a paper due and my week-end is spent at the computer. Then Sunday night comes too fast and I wish for another 24 hours…

If you find a solution to this, include it in a post and save the rest of us… you can do it ~ you are the QUEEN!


femmusic • November 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm

PQ, you said exactly what I’ve been feeling the last couple of days. My contract job is coming to an end next Friday and the stress and lack of time made me forget a coolio sock knitting workshop I signed up for last night. Oh I wish for those days when I could just read for hours on end!!!


Denny • November 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm

@LothL – I know. I work and have 3 kids and I’m jealous of the time Pastaqueen has. But I chose this life and I’m happy with it. And I the headaches must be hell. Give me a headache-free life any day.


Madison (FollowMyWeigh) • November 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm

i hear ya…

need more than 24 hours!!!


anji • November 6, 2008 at 11:44 pm

There are two sayings that I used today with a friend and it happens to be appropriate here too sorta.

Some first nations have a saying, “You can rest when you’re dead, don’t spend your life sleeping!” (or, something along those lines)….

French Canadians also have a saying, “You can rest when you’re four feet under!”

That being said… a few years ago I went through some burnout because I thought I could do absolutely everything and do it flawlessly… which was a set up for disastor. I’ve had to learn through that, how to limit myself from taking on too many things. It’s learning our limits and learning how to say no. If emails are taking up too much time, set up an email policy stating you will TRY to get back to people if you have time. Your true fans will understand! If not answering emails saves you an hour a day, you can spend that hour on taking care of your self (and, I didn’t write yourself as in your body but your Self — in that you have to take care of your soul and spirit!)

A piano lesson is 1 hour a week… spend that time on your self, you deserve it! We will understand :)


anji • November 7, 2008 at 12:18 am

P.S. On the flip side of headache stuff, this article states that women with migraines have a lower risk of breast cancer.


One perk of migraines? Heh.


Amy • November 7, 2008 at 1:40 am

Were you listening to my conversation this morning? I am SO with you — and the rest of America — on not enough time. I find myself fantasizing about moving to a totally unconnected homestead in Kentucky where there is no cell service, no computer access and no cable TV. Then maybe I’d have more time…


Xenia • November 7, 2008 at 6:35 am

That’s exactly how I feel. Thanks for expressing it so well. That’s one less thing for me to do. ;)


amma15 • November 7, 2008 at 6:39 am

Hey I’m about halfway through your book that I’m about to post about, but this is my first visit to your blog! I’ll be checking in


Alisha • November 7, 2008 at 12:42 pm

The answer to your problem is “multi-tasking” and science says women are particularly good at it. So, while you are doing dishes tie a string with a fur ball on the end of it around your waste and every once in a while shake your hips. There! Dishes done and you played with your cats while also burning extra calories. Or invite your friends over for a “surprise” dishwashing party! Find someone who knows both Tae Kwon Do and Pilates that will teach them simultaniously. I am just kidding, I understand how you feel. I have a live in boyfriend and now my life seems even more busy. I neglect certain things because I need my time. If I don’t have it I really go crazy, the cats and the boyfriend don’t like that. Really though, I had to weigh the importance of things in my life. I also have health issues that absolutely require a lot of sleep or I get sick…so sleep is #1 because I am no good to myself or anyone else without it. Then everything else follows. I only allow myself a certain amount of time a day for cleaning. Then once a month I will devote serious time to it. It is about making time. If you tell your friends why they should understand. Mine do anyways. Having social time for me isn’t as important as my own time. It is all dependant upon how the importance to the things you have to do. Adult life is a balancing act for sure. For me, my main thing to cut out was socializing, I don’t do that nearly as much as I used to, now I make a point to spend at least one weekend day a month with friends. I could do it more if I wanted, but I’d have to sacrifice “me time”. I do talk to them on the phone and make sure to keep in touch. I seriously hope your headache gets better. I have chronic neck pain from a car accident and just having that constant pain can wear you down emotionally and physically. It is proven that it can cause depression. I get depressed, not for days but when I just get worn down and tired of hurting. I have no advice, but I do know how you feel. It is something that is always there, it’s an unwelcome guest. It is very nagging, cumbersome, and wears you out. Good Luck


Christie • November 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm

You crack me up. :) I’ve been a single mom with no child support for 10 years now. Let me clarify: a POOR single mom for 10 years. While I respect your perspective of time, I’m further down the rabbit hole than you are. I *WISH* I had the time you have. I am, however, profoundly grateful that I do not have the ever-present headache that you must currently endure.


terryocean • November 7, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Isn’t that the truth…I feel the same way, completely…I even find myself setting aside nights to do nothing, read, watch my shows…without that I think I would go insane… ;]


Tangerne • November 7, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I’ll second the notion that as you get older you have less time. One day you’ll get married, and a husband takes a lot of time. You’ll get a house, and a house takes a lot of time. You’ll become a mom, and a child takes a lot of time. Your mom will get older and need more time. I think sometime around 60 the kids move out for good, but the grandkids aren’t there yet… I think then you get some spare time. Maybe not, I’m not there yet, just guessing.

I will say, even though it feels like you have no spare time right now, you have more now than you will by and by. You also have more energy than you will later. So do those things now that you would like to. Make time to draft that second book, or take the Pilates class. Because if you can’t do it now, in your 20s, when your time is mostly your own and your energy is still high, well, you probably won’t get the opportunity as you get older.

I hope that didn’t sound critical. I think you’re an amazing person, and already so accomplished with all the things you have done. Just, I wish someone had told me that when I was in my 20s. And by the way, I’ll join the chorus of people hoping that your headache feels better soon. That must be so draining, no wonder you feel low energy and lack of time. Be well.


Johanna • November 8, 2008 at 7:45 am

Since about two years, I only work four days a week. There are things I want to do that are not work and that’s the only way to get them done!


RG • November 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

@Just_Kelly – I thought the same thing and figured it would be too snarky. Someone joked about multitasking, but it’s actually possible to socialize around exercise or tae kwon do or art museum visits or political events or… instead of bad TV and costume parties past age 10. My bias may be some indication of why I don’t have a blog. I would think that blogging would be important for people who are either locked at home or have lots of down-time at work.

But, really, what this reminded me of is how lucky I am to live within walking distance of lots of culture, art museums, restaurants, etc. It’s not a major expedition to hit something, which means I get out 3-4 times a week average (sometimes 1 and sometimes 8). It also helps to be able to afford to do things, buy tickets which may go to waste in case of illness, etc.


Clinton Walker III • November 10, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I would need about 50 hours a day to do the things I need to do. I have found that scheduling my time helps to keep things in order.


Marc • November 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm

At the risk of having many people here hate me, I’ll say this anyway.. LOL. I work from home, while I’m taking Master’s classes and even though I don’t have any super long commute to/from work every day, I still find that there’s always something that needs to be done “right away” and I never feel like I get a chance to just sit down and relax. We’ve got to remember though that when we stress out over the little stuff, our bodies don’t like it.. less stress = healthier us. I really have to remind myself of that sometimes and just say “forget it” to some of the stuff I *thought* was super important but really isn’t. Take the time for yourself…otherwise later in life you’ll find yourself regretting it – the same way we regret not appreciating having all the time in the world when we were younger. :)


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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