I’m not the first to notice how short the days have become. Ask anybody, even kids, and they’ll say the same. However, I must have been one of the first to suspect God of tampering with time. I mean, how would we know if He moved the earth a bit faster to shorten our days? But I checked, and I was wrong. I sat in front of a good, reliable clock and said it out loud, “One-Mississippi-two Mississippi,” and no, the seconds had the same length and, sure enough, there were sixty of them in each minute.
When I was younger and living in Chicago, I used to think my days went by quickly because most of the time I’d be stuck in traffic. The commute between my house in the North Shore, Northwestern Dental School downtown, and my practice in Evanston, was bad enough to chop hours off each day. So what’s my excuse now that I work at home? I sometimes need to wipe the cobwebs off my car before driving, yet my days seem to be even shorter. Why?
Not being one to give up, I decided to do record how I spend a day. The outcome shocked me. But a discovery is only good when it helps mankind, so I proceeded to complete the cycle of my studies and see if/how it could be put to good use. And here I am, proud to present a valuable discovery at no charge, my very own secret to more of life!
Please read the following as an example of one ordinary day in the life of a writer. However, should you study your own life, regardless of your profession, chances are you’ll find many similarities.
As a rule, I like planning my days and often write down a to-do list. I have selected a day with less activity, one with only three items on the agenda:
This is how the plan worked out:
6:30 a.m. I make the bed and proceed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
6:45 Check e-mail. Seventeen more forwards from M.G.? Does the man ever sleep? Oh, darn, my Mac won’t open this file, but that video looks interesting. Twelve minutes? Maybe I’ll watch before having my breakfast.
7:30 My husband has already finished his breakfast, is all dressed up and heading to work. “How can you write before eating?” he asks and gives me a peck on the cheek. I decide it’s best not to say anything.
8:45- I’m done recycling a few forwards, have responded to those who received them, and got a few more from M.G. Somebody from Guam informs me I’ve just inherited a couple of millions. That reminds me to check the market, which in turn depresses me. But still not understanding why it’s down, I go back to AOL.
9:15- I’m in the kitchen toasting a bagel. The phone rings. It’s my friend, Pari.
11:40- I have finished my calls, succeeded to make an appointment with my doctor, answered three other calls and told a telemarketer what he can do with his survey. Now the dog is pleading to go for a walk.
12:00 p.m. Just checking a few more e-mail messages before lunch break. This one is important. A friend/fellow writer has asked me to edit a chapter. It won’t take long.
3:15 I’ve finished editing a very intriguing part of my friend’s story. After sending it back-and-forth a few times, I think my friend is pleased. I’ve also responded to the rest of my e-mail. Now I really have to start dinner - that is, if I want the chicken to be cooked!
4:00 Chicken is simmering, the rice is slowly making good tah-dig and I’m ready to start that article.
What? They’re still not sure if the oil spill can be controlled? The cap they made doesn’t exactly fit? I’m no oil expert, but if BP doesn’t know the size of the damn thing, who then does?! I’m so frustrated, it may help to read the jokes a friend of a friend forwarded.
I delete the dated jokes except for one, which I save in my joke file.
5:00 Do I hear the garage door? My husband must be home. Too late to apply makeup, but I need to quickly change out of this robe before greeting him.
6:00 I’ve made us a nice salad and the table is ready. Considering how fast we both eat, I should have plenty of time to do the closet before my favorite show begins.
7:30 Husband takes our dog for a walk and I sit in front of the TV.
I shouldn’t have had such a big dinner. Now I can’t move! The closet can be cleaned tomorrow and maybe I’ll even have time to write that article.
After reviewing similar reports on many other days, I realized how most of my time is taken by this new cyber-life. The above record may be slightly exaggerated, but it isn’t far from reality. This indicates to the fact that out of my 14-16 hours of the day, eight are sucked into the Internet. In other words, I dedicate one third of my life to reading or sending nonsense to others. I won’t even mention the variety of pains and aches that my physiotherapist has attributed to hours of sitting in front of the computer. However, the following facts are noteworthy:
Fact I: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yes, I know it’s a cliché, and so be it.
Fact II: You can’t cure without getting rid of the cause. And that, my friends, is what I’m talking about. The dreaded cause, the computer, Mr. Mac himself!
So, before you waste more money on health care products, wrinkle creams, or other means of longevity, get to the root of what’s robbing us all of what precious little time we have. And, if you really care for me, please don’t click that ‘forward’ button, not unless you are absolutely convinced that the piece you are about to send is worthy of a chunk of my life.
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