The Thing About Hours

MCMFriday, May 14, 2021

I do a lot of things. I do more things than I even talk about online, because if I talked about all the things I'm doing online, people would hate me (and/or be upset that I was getting distracted from doing whatever it is they thought I should do first). But since I can usually handle too many things at once, I have the privilege of not having to worry so much about such things.

Then again, there are only a limited number of hours in a day. And thanks to my new a wonderful gallbladder condition, I can't eat a lot of food at a time, or I end up hurting — which means I'm working on reduced energy levels, and constantly in danger of going zzzzz mid-blog post.

So how do I manage my time? With hours. And I know what you're thinking: uh oh, he thinks he invented hours. Don't worry, I know that was Steve Jobs.

But how I count hours works differently than a lot of people, I think. See, when I say "I can get that done in an hour" I mean "at the end of an hour, I know I can finish that in a fraction of an hour, which leaves me time to be distracted/hungry/tired/busy on other things." One of the benefits to working really damn fast is that you can work "slow" (for you) and still get things done on time.

So what do I do with the extra minutes in my hours? Easy: a little bit of everything. One day I will make a proper "to do" list that takes this into account, but basically my projects are broken into steps, and the steps are broken into sub-steps, and even those are sometimes broken down further. In programming terms, it's like components, classes, functions, maybe. Or sub-functions.

So let's say I have to write a chapter of Bytown (oops) and it needs to be done by the end of the day. I probably don't write that chapter contiguously: I'll write a few paragraphs, then switch projects. When I come back, I'll sketch in another section with light detail, and then switch projects. When I come back again, I'll start filling in those sections. Repeat that enough times, and I'll get the chapter done in "1 hour" that's spread across an entire day.

Why do it this way? Because I find that, even if I don't want to, my day is broken up against my will anyway. Someone will call me, a website will break, a dog will have a seizure... nothing's even linear. Instead of fighting it, I've adapted: I'll work until something else interrupts (or I interrupt myself) and then come back later.

I don't let myself get thrown off-course, and I always hit my deadlines, but these days, I almost never work a full hour at a time. If I did, I'd be going backwards instead of forwards, and Steve Jobs didn't invent time for those kinds of shenanigans.

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