90 minutes is a long time

One of the many take-aways I took away from The Happiness Project is that those of us who believe that we need huge contiguous blocks of time to be productive are probably mistaken. The author lady categorized herself as such a person until she actually measured the amount of time she spent on various tasks and discovered that 90-minute intervals seemed to hold the key to success. Because I also categorize myself as such a person, I wondered if I, too, had been living a similar delusion. I developed grandiose plans of chunking my work-day, but sadly I’ve been too busy to try to be productive :) As with 93% of all my ideas, I forgot to remember this one…until NOW.

Tonight, at 7:18, I was in the depths of mild, Chinese-food-induced despair, paralyzed because I had a free evening and didn’t know how to optimize my time. I knew that if I chose to make more Perler bead Megaman guys, I’d feel unfulfilled at the end of the night, but if I spent another entire evening rearranging the same two pages of our wedding album, I’d probably scrap the whole project. And be sad that I missed the chance to make more Megaman guys. Also, Jonathan wanted me to write a blog post, but I didn’t have anything to write about, so I felt like I should do something with my evening that would be interesting enough to write about later. All this combined to create a lot of pressure, which probably explains why I sometimes enjoy working at home if it spares me such decisions.

Anyway, guess how I solved this problem. Just guess. I’ll write the answer in black so that, like the rest of this stupid blog theme, you can only see the answer if you highlight it…
Answer: 90-minute chunks

And guess what: by partitioning the evening into chunks, I no longer felt paralyzed because I knew that more intervals awaited me after my current project. Indeed, by the end of the evening I did all three things, and now I’m happily going to bed.

Oh, this is Cutman, my new Megaman guy. I’ll write more about Megaman guys later.

About Sarah

10 years ago, I was a computer science student. 5 years ago, I taught kindergarten. 2 years ago, I trained teachers. Now, I'm a technical writer. I have thoughts about most of these things, but most likely I'll just write about neuroses and why I love Mr. Gatti's pizza. Which might be a neurosis.
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2 Responses to 90 minutes is a long time

  1. Kirstin says:

    megaman guys???????!!!??

    i like that idea of 90 minute chunks and that following this 90 minute plan resulted in much productivity! awesomeness. i doubt i wrote much of my dissertation in anything more than 90 minute blocks of productivity.

  2. David says:

    So this is a technique I have used for a long time, but it’s not one I’m particular happy with. It works pretty decently for work activities, but I often find, especially in my free time in evenings, that it frustrates me to jump around on activities so much. I feel more exhausted and less satisfied after doing this for an evening.

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