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To My 19-Year-Old Self: Embrace the Timer

with 2 comments

This Permission Tool Will Calm and Kick You

Look—I know you get all fidgety about the stuff you’ve got to do: the papers to write, the group projects to complete, the hours at work and the woman you’re trying to work up the nerve to ask out. Finals coming—have you even read the chapters? Plus all the pressure to assemble a plan for the rest of your life. Get on that! (Ha! Here’s a hint: your plans will scatter like water on a hot skillet. Again and again. But you still have to plan.)

That’s why I’m writing, lo from across these many decades.

Behold: the timer.

Like an egg timer only with more time and without the eggs.

The timer is a permission tool you can employ today. The timer will grant you focus and peace of mind. The timer will calm your fidgety, anxious self. The timer puts an end to the ridiculous argument that you can do several things at once. You may find this hard to believe, but in the decades to come people routinely kill others while driving and opt out of deep life-changing conversations because they “multitask” (big word in twenty years). Wacky, right?

Here’s how the timer works:

You’re not gonna believe the free stuff on this thing Al Gore invented called the “Internet.” Oh: buy Apple stock.

  1. Look at the big pile of stuff you’ve got to do.
  2. Pick the most important thing. Just one thing.
  3. Set the timer for 60 minutes.
  4. Start the timer.
  5. Do that one thing.
  6. Do that thing for 60 minutes. Don’t get coffee. Don’t talk to your roommates. Don’t daydream about that beautiful woman. Don’t stare out the window. Do the one thing.
  7. When the timer rings, get up and do all that other stuff.
  8. In fifteen minutes, pick the next thing, set the timer and repeat the process.

Sound simple? It is!

Listen, Mr. 19-year-old Kirkistan: this is how you are going to get stuff done for the rest of your life. Even enormous projects tremble when the timer shows up. Almost everything in life can be broken into manageable segments.

And this: You emerge a happier person when the timer goes off. Because you actually did something.

I think you have a timer on that big plastic watch of yours.

Try it.




Written by kirkistan

February 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

2 Responses

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  1. I’m just now discovering that multitasking is NOT all it’s cracked up to be…


    February 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

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