Wednesday, July 9, 2008

from so simple a beginning

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received regarding time management was given to me by a UC psych. professor named Kenneth Ghee.

He told my class that every morning he goes into the bathroom, takes a colored notecard from a box he keeps there, and writes down five things he would like to accomplish throughout the day. He checks the list periodically throughout the day to see if he's on track, and then at the end of the day he sits down with a pencil, checks off the things on his list that he accomplished, and circles the ones he didn't: then he asks himself why he may have failed at accomplishing the circled items.

I knew this was good advice when I heard it, but I didn't institute it in my own life until a couple of weeks ago. Brother, let me tell you. It has revolutionized my productivity.

I've always had time management issues. I used to make these huge, multi-paged 'change my life' type charts that I would follow for a day and then forget. The notecard system has worked for me because it is easy, does not involve managing my whole day into a strict militaristic regimen, and allows me to keep track of my progress. Also, by whittling down the list of daily objectives, I discover what is really important to me.

The feeling of having spent a day productively has lifted my mood considerably.

A bad mood can be reflective as much or more of a bad diet and/or lack of exercise as it can be of deep psychological issues. Guilt about certain sexual thoughts and actions probably reflects more about the society you live in than God's righteous anger. The human chin may be a simple biproduct of the evolutionary development of other neighboring aspects,and may have no particular adaptable aspect of its own. Dick Cheney may simply just be an evil man: Dr. Phil can't reach everyone.

Lots of things are simple, in spite of my periodic desire and expectation for them not to be. Sometimes it is hard for me to wrap my mind around a simpler solution because in many cases I have trained myself to 'go deep' on so many things. I don't know if this stems from reading so many works on psychoanalysis, or because I have been rewarded with an increased understanding so many times by my willingness to take apart and analyze. The fact that writing things down on a stupid note card can make my life so much easier, or that going for a daily jog can dispel the deepest, darkest existential funk, is astounding.

No Spencer, God hasn't left you in a meaningless world of cruelty and despair. You just need a cup of coffee.

Sometimes simple explanations mystify and humble me.

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