Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Categorizing Time

Building on my last post, I went through and brainstormed my essential values on a page in my introspection journal. Granted, my thinking wasn't scientifically precise, meaning I didn't measure out numerically the time commitments I want to dedicate to each value, but I did arrange the sections of my life into a hierarchy and devise good approximations. The categories and subsections I came up with are:

1.) Career: Employment, training, learning;

2.) Home activities: Cooking, reading, studying, exercise, writing;

3.) Media: Internet usage, television, DVDs, music, and movies.

(My career is likely not to be home-based, thus the segregation of career and home.)

The first item is the most important while the third is least. In each section, the individual items are approximately and loosely grouped according to importance. I plan on making my life fuller than this so to speak, but with my project -- keeping in mind my project is for the advancement of my life -- limits me currently, so some things will have to wait. Romantic aspirations are on my mind, for instance, but it may just have to wait for the next few months or so.

Anyhow, as I've said before my original problem was wanting to do "everything." After seeing how dissatisfied I was spending so much time in one area while neglecting others, I identified that my time commitments were messed up since I didn't have a proper *positive* value hierarchy. In this context, by positive value hierarchy I mean a hierarchy of values positioned relative to each other, not taking into account non- and anti-values; originally I just compared my values to non- and anti-values. My mistake still kept me value-oriented in my pursuits, but didn't help in budgeting time for some values over others.

Now as for my present thinking, I must confess that the only time commitments I feel truly certain and comfortable about are my recreational values. DVDs, for instance, can simply be rented or stockpiled and then watched whenever I wish, in however long a stretch I desire. I do not currently value any regular events that occur on specific dates or times, so I don't need to take into account as to how to align my life with my calendar.

My learning and skill development, honestly, is my biggest worry. For these I know to give the biggest time commitment, but I fret at making sure the proper learning and practice methods are being utilized, and whether or not actual progress is occurring. I take this to be perhaps be a fear that I might atrophy or lose my knowledge even at the slightest sign of slacking off or rest. This fear could be a lasting result from my institutionalized schooling, where the improper learning methods used forced me to simply memorize and parrot what was being "taught," and then to forget it shortly afterwards -- within less than a month. All the forgetting I've done of my school curriculum has probably spilled over into my personal studies as a fear I'll simply forget what I've learned or quickly retrogress in my competence.

To remedy this I'll need a better understanding of what it is I would like to *do* (physically) in my life, and then to determine the knowledge that such action requires. After integrating such a premise and putting it to practice for a while, I predict my consciousness will be geared towards only its dedicated pursuits and I'll naturally lose interest in wanting to do everything else. My dedication to the culinary field, for instance, has made me lose the desire to study formal philosophy intensely, reducing me to partaking in mostly modern works. (Though I plan on reading the translated works of Aristotle.) While philosophy is immensely important, it's simply too great and intensive for me to dedicate significant amounts of time to.

My thinking and resulting actions may be better once I can afford to implement fully the advice offered in Getting Things Done, as right now I'm limited to only utilizing electronic lists. The documentation and storage procedures suggested in the book should be able to help me in the future by helping me identify patterns in my thinking and chosen values.

I certainly feel better after this round of thinking, but it's still an ongoing process. Enhancing my competence, ability to learn, and ability to know myself is what will cure my time budget maladies.

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