Unsuccessful time hacks

Morning is my most productive time. A while back I thought I’d squeeze a few minutes more by postponing all my online-comic strip reading to the end of the day.

I began reading comic strips online about a decade ago. The local paper had squeezed them down so much (to fit in the crossword and jumble and thereby save space) it was quite uncomfortable to read them, even though I’d prefer hard copy. So, online it became. And once that happened, I could also see all the good strips the paper wasn’t carrying. I forget exactly which ones they were, but I know they weren’t carrying Rip Haywire when I left and that one’s a hoot.

Since then, of course, there’s been an explosion in online strips, so I read lots of them that were never in the paper (mostly, but not exclusively, specfic). So I started taking fifteen minutes in the morning before work to read as many as possible. I work through my entire roster in about ten days (I’m months or years behind on most of the online stuff so it’s not like I have to wait for them to post new strips).

But like I said, morning’s my peak time. So I decided a few months back to claim that extra quarter-hour and leave comics reading to the end of the work day.

That time hack sucked. Either the dogs demanded early walkies, or I had a last bit of work I could do, or the computer ran out of juice. One way or another, I just didn’t get around to it. And in the evening I’m either dealing with the dogs, or talking to TYG, or cooking, so I never get around to it.

So this week I pushed it back to the morning. It’s working much better for me.

Another morning problem is that if I go out bicycling I have to wait until later than when I’m exercising indoors (darkness is not the cyclist’s friend). So logically my morning stretching/breakfast/tea should be a half-hour shorter, to make up for the time I’ll take later.

I’m very bad about that. I’m more likely to look at the clock, think I have lots of time, in fact it’s amazing how much extra time I have to watch TV or read or … oh, wait, I was supposed to start work early, right? That needs to stop.

Art by North Carolina’s Dan Thompson. All rights remain with current holder. #SFWApro

5 Comments

Filed under Comics, Personal

5 responses to “Unsuccessful time hacks

  1. I can’t comment on Rip Haywire yet, since I haven’t read the strip (the art looks decidedly Archie). But, I wanted to comment that I, like you, find myself most productive in the mornings. Understanding your personal peak times is important.

  2. Zosimus the Heathen

    Heh. I’m pretty much the opposite in that evenings are far more productive for me than mornings (for me, any night I go to bed before three or four in the morning is an “early” night). Thankfully, my day job works well for me in that it’s in a health-related industry (and therefore allows me to work shifts that, while taking place at unusual hours, work well with my body clock). *Unfortunately*, however, there are times when management still seems to labour under the delusion that everyone beneath them works (as they do) 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, which means that there are very occasionally days (usually ones involving some depressingly dull variety of workplace training) that require me to get to work by 9 in the morning (which, for me, is sort of akin to telling someone who works more standard hours, “Oh BTW, we need you to come in at 3 AM tomorrow.”). Days like that I generally just write off when it comes to doing anything productive (outside of work at any rate). I’ve found that going to bed early the night before doesn’t work (because I’ll just stare at the ceiling for hours while my stupid brain goes, “Why can’t I get to sleep? Why can’t I get to sleep?”[*]), so now I just resign myself to getting little (or no) sleep the night before, muddling through my workday as best I can, and then treating my evening as an excuse to get absolutely SMASHED and catch up on DVDs. It does annoy me having my usual cycle disrupted like that, though, as I’m sure you can relate.

    Re comics, I’ve not checked out much online stuff although I gather there’s a wealth of good material on the Net these days. Like you, I’ve found that the comics section in my own local newspaper has become rather unsatisfactory; here, it’s because the paper only runs a handful of strips now (when it used to run many, many more). To make matters worse, one of the strips they still print is Calvin and Hobbes, which they’ve been running, over and over and OVER again, since the 1990s. Don’t get me wrong – C&H is a very good strip, but c’mon! how long’s it been now since Bill Watterson stopped writing it? Twenty years? They also used to run For Better or For Worse, but at least stopped that one when its creator did. I used to like that one, but in its last years, the whole thing seemed to degenerate into some great, ghastly celebration of mediocrity (the Patterson family seemed horribly bland, and you got the impression the children (and *their* children too, no doubt) were all doomed to end up just as dull as their parents).

    *I’m very bad about that. I’m more likely to look at the clock, think I have lots of time, in fact it’s amazing how much extra time I have to watch TV or read or … oh, wait, I was supposed to start work early, right? That needs to stop.*

    I find days off can be very bad for me from a productivity perspective, largely because I find myself simultaneously under too much pressure and not enough. On the one hand, it’s too easy to fritter away time when you’ve still got hours of the day left to do something more productive; on the other hand, there’s a sense of “I’ve got a whole day free – if, by the end of it, I haven’t read at least 100 pages of the latest book I’m on *and* written at least 5000 words, I’ve wasted the whole thing, and should probably punch myself repeatedly in the head!”

    Your mentioning of reading as one of the things that often distracts you reminds me of how I often consider that activity the “insidious time-waster”. It often doesn’t *feel* like wasting time (given that, for a writer, reading is just as important as writing); that said, if it gets in the way of actually writing (as it does far too often for me), it’s probably something that needs to be cut back on.

    *And then have the hide to whine, “I’m tiiiiiired!” when I have to drag myself out of bed.

  3. My ever-worsening insomnia would make it tricky to navigate a day job, if I had one.
    Evenings are my second-best time to write. However talking to my wife and playing with dogs always take priority so I minimize evening work as much as possible.

  4. Pingback: Random thoughts related to previous posts | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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