January’s Idea of Time Management


Don’t read. There’s time for enrichment and enjoyment later. You’ve much more important work that needs to get out the door now.

Don’t exercise. Moving from bed to desk chair to bathroom to kitchen to table to laundry room and back to bed is enough movement for now.

Don’t slow down to write thank you notes. You’ll still be thankful later.

Don’t turn on any music, it might distract you and make you forget what needs to be done now.

Bubble baths, leisurely walks in the wood, afternoons spent behind a book are indulgences you earn by getting things done. And since you haven’t gotten nearly enough done, head down and back to work with you.

When you can’t sleep at night, just lay there and think about how awful it is that you can’t sleep. Or get up and get something done. But don’t you dare get up to write or draw or read or stitch.

Just keep saying “Yes” and eliminate every form of “no” from your vocabulary.

Put your friends on hold. If they’re really true friends, they’ll still be around when you’ve caught up.

Don’t waste time putting things up – out of sight equals out of mind. Just pile things up on your desk, on the floor, on tabletops throughout the house. Consider creating mountains as creativity, if it makes you feel better.

Buy a gross of sticky note pads (okay, make it 2 gross) and write one item – only one – from your to do list on a single sticky note. Pretty soon your walls, ceilings, even your furniture will be colorfully shingled. (Of course at the rate you accomplish things, the sticky will eventually wear off, so be sure to write yourself a reminder to replace fallen notes.)

Accept every offer to go out to eat – every single offer. Just remember to eat fast so you can get back to work. The extra weight? Bah, you can lose that later.

Writing retreat with friends? You can do that one day when you’ve whittled down your to do list. You’ve already put it off for 8 months, anyway.

Want to be a writer? Just keep telling yourself that writing checks and meeting minutes and grocery lists and to do notes is writing. Then quit the whining and get back to work.

I’m so glad today is February 1.


  1. Mrsmediocrity

    Well you know I am right there with you! Happy New New Year!

  2. Angela Kelsey

    Ugh–good riddance to January. May all the sticky notes disappear!

  3. Abigail

    I love how you approached this.

    Work in place of leisure is right. Hopefully we can find that imaginative liveliness even in the work. Sometimes it comes best after a little deprivation of leisure, after all.

    I am struggling with the “yes” question. Or answer, rather. What to deny, what to embrace…what to be selfish and selfless about.

  4. Noel

    January is such a busy time of year — so full of promise, but those promises can get awful heavy if we don’t make time to pace ourselves! I burned myself out right and proper a few weeks ago … now I’m back to enjoying leisure time so my batteries will be fully charged when they’re needed.

    Happy February … we’re one month closer to spring!

  5. Emma

    oh, lordy, you have NO IDEA how much this resonates with me (or maybe you do!;))
    and thank you for changing my perspective about the arrival of Feb. i was freaking out about how fast time’s been spinning. i like celebration better!

  6. Elizabeth Marie

    I’m hoping February will be January’s nicer, more productive, more creative, kinder, happier sister. It would help if the weather would improve, huh? (by the way, I read an essay of yours in a book I own. lovely essay. made me cry, darn it.)

  7. Meredith

    January was indeed pretty ruthless. I’m with you — welcome, February! So much promise lies ahead.

  8. ***C***

    My old principal called January “A month of Mondays” and boy was he right! We are now in the month of Tuesdays and I’m grateful to get Monday over with. Love you.

  9. Carynmirriamgoldberg

    So glad it’s February also, and now you’re free to dive into the heart of the heart of the heart (and damn all the distractions)

  10. writemuch

    great post. duly noted

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