How well do you keep track of your time?

Happy Halloween. See my post on Halloween, which I suppose I should have posted today but did not. I guess it has to do with my “obsessive personality,” the subject of today’s blog. Anyway, maybe how we deal with holidays also speaks to our personality. For me, keeping track of time is perhaps the most important thing in my life.

Keeping track of time! The concept of tracking time brings forth images of tracking some wild beast in the woods. Deer, moose, bear, cougars, tigers all leave very distinctive tracks. Time also leaves distinctive tracts. Time leaves physical as well as emotional tracks on all of us. Not to mention the tracks time leaves on the environment. Emotional tracks are evident in the greater cautiousness and fears we have as we age. From experience, once burned, we no longer want to get so close to the flame. Indeed, many of us will not even go near the fire again. Divorce, rejection, death, pain all leave emotional scars. For some of us they may never quite heal. Physical tracks show up as lines, creases, joint aches, hair thinning, broken bones and disease. I often joke that physically I am aging more like cheese then a fine wine. I am getting squishier and somewhat moldy around the edges.

Perhaps you see the ideas of tracking time through a different lens. Maybe you think of the need to track your minutes and seconds each day, a twist on tracking your dollars and cents. Certainly, if you watch your time carefully, you will have more of it. Mark down your time spent each day in an Excel spreadsheet and carefully log your corresponding activities. This last task seems somewhat obsessive to me and I am often accused of being a Type A personality. I once worked at a job where I was required to mark my work in fifteen minute intervals each day and log what I was doing during each interval. After I left this job, I decided I would never work for anyone again where I had to justify myself at this level of detail. It was simply an exercise in obsessive control and domination.

Type A personalities are supposed to be more compulsive and more aggressive than Type B personalities. I wonder if type A personalities are more prone to track their time? Are Type B personalities more prone to go with the flow? Do Type B people live more moment to moment? Are you a Type A or Type B personality? Do you go with the flow or do you track your time? Regarding the physical and emotional tracks that time leaves, how have you fared? What emotional tracks has time left in your life? What physical tracks do you see time making for you?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 21:17:15

    I must be the ultimate type B person. I don't keep track of my use of time at all. I will spend hours working a puzzle or reading something. I'm cheap with money, but not with my own time, often spending a lot of time to do something rather than pay someone else to do it instead. I never seem to realize that I don't have time to start a new project or to read a new book, and just keep adding things on (while rarely finishing anything). I've wondered about this habit, and my guess is that it is a way of denying mortality. I act as if I have all the time in the world, when clearly I don't. By spending my time if I were immortal, I get to inhabit a simulacrum of eternity. I suppose that is as foolish as those who spend as if they had all the money in the world when their resources are actually quite limited.

    In my former job, about once a year they would do a “time study” for a week in which we were supposed to write down what we did in 15 minute increments. I (and everyone else in the office) hated the exercise. I would make stuff up, not because I had been goofing off so much as because it just goes against my grain to pay attention to what I do with my time. Plus I used to wonder about the vicious circle aspect of the exercise. It takes time to fill out a time study, and to think about what you have been doing. The more frequently you reflect on your use of time, the less time you have to do anything else.



  2. John Persico
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 14:09:17

    Bruce, you pose some interesting conjectures and possible answers. Sounds like we had the same 15 minute experience, except mine was no exercise. They actually thought it would improve productivity. Again, perhaps the best is to balance or cycle between a Type A personality and a Type B. Karen is B and I am A so perhaps that cycles me?



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