The attraction of distractions

Fall foliage

Every working person I know feels busy, way too busy. What I’ve discovered is that you don’t have to go the office every day to induce the same feeling. Like most other retirees, I have trouble finding enough time in the day to get everything done.

I read something today that suggested that none of us is as busy as we think.  In a Wall Street Journal article written earlier this year, author Laura Vanderkam said she felt  “too busy to breathe.” She responded to her perceived busyness by keeping track of how she spent her time.  Here’s what she learned:  “I would have guessed I spent hours doing dishes when in fact I spent minutes. I spent long stretches of time lost on the Internet or puttering around the house, unsure exactly what I was doing.”  I can top that, Laura. Before I finished this paragraph I noticed that I had a new email and when I opened it, found that it contained a link.  In an instant I was watching five guys playing piano on YouTube. And then there are the minute-by-minute political campaign updates which pop up on my screen and require my full attention.

Using my time well is more important this month than most, because for the second consecutive year I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, a 50,000 word project, which calls for churning out 1,667 words a day throughout November.  I’m doing this a second time, because I’m hoping to find the discipline I need to rip through the second half of my rough draft of a novel.  However, if my Pavlovian response to every new email is an indicator, NaNoWriMo may have to become an annual adventure. And if today’s behavior is any gauge, I don’t think I need to record how I spend my time. But hold that thought. I’ve got an incoming message. I’ll get back to you as soon as I check it out.

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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