Friday, March 24, 2006

"And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total?" --Tillie Olsen

So much talk, lately, about getting things done (or not) around here.

Well, at my Dissertation Writing Seminar the other day, a colleague recommended to folks this free (shareware) program available to download at

The program keeps track of the amount of time you are working on the computer and sends you little reminders of when to take microbreaks (to stretch, rest your eyes, etc.) and when to stand up and take a rest break (every 45 minutes). It even suggests the kinds of exercises you can do.

The idea behind my seminar the other day was to use the small amount of time that we have to be as productive as possible. The facilitator pointed out that it is ideal to work in 45-minute units. It seems counter-intuitive, because after 45 minutes your at-tention has increased and continues to rise. However, more importantly your re-tention and comprehension decrease drastically and immediately.

If you take a break of about ten minutes where you get up and walk around, do something else (like scrub the bathroom sink or ideally step outside for fresh air), then you restore your mental powers and are able to crank out another productive 45 minutes until you're at the end of your allotted time.

This program by WorkRave helps you to keep track of that time without making you watch the clock yourself. I worked with it today. I kept the microbreak timer on and tried to obey it for the most part. But I found the microbreaks a little distracting. You can, however, turn them off by changing the preferences.

Try it out if you're interested! Pretty cool.

PS For those of you keeping track at home: the car needed a new alternator and battery and . . . hmm, something else. A nice chunk of change, but possible. We just celebrated exceeding 100,000 miles on this car, so I guess it's time for this stuff to start happening.

PPS After several weeks away from it due to D's shoulder injury, the boys are finally off playing hockey again this afternoon. Hooray!

PPPS Congratulations to Katherine's sister for winning a spot in the Scrapbooking Hall of Fame. Wihoo!

PPPPS Current favorite insights from Wednesday's Seminar: "For you, it's not about managing time. Because you will never get everything done that you want to get done. It's about managing guilt."


cyen said...

Not sure if this applies, but for other tips on organizing and getting things done, tricks, etc... Check out this page The guy who runs this site is also pretty funny at times.

Katherine said...

I tried the 45 min. thing w/ sermon writing... sans reminders from that site. I kind of like this plan. (Of course, I'm not yet done with the sermon, so... ;-)

And thanks for the shout-out about my sister's amazing win. She is sooo talented, and I'm really happy for her.