A Lesson in Time Management

Goal Displacement is one of my mildly neurotic problems with getting things done. The classic example of Goal Displacement is a writer who has to sharpen all his pencils perfectly before he can start writing. And today I encountered a classic example that should serve as an object lesson for everyone.

Today I was listening to an audio tape on Time Management. I was doing multiple things at once while listening to the tape, surfing the web, sorting mail, paying some bills, etc. So I felt like I was getting a lot done, I was multitasking even while taking a lesson on improving my time management. But the lecturer insisted that my activity was not actually productive, I was mistaking activity for progress, and I must learn to focus on what things are most important in my life, which the lecturer insisted is learning his time management methods. And then the lecturer posed a few questions that I must stop and ponder, and write down the answers, so I thought I’d take it seriously, pause, and write down my answers.

So I grabbed my favorite fountain pen, and started writing. But something was wrong, the pen was clogged up. Of course I could have picked up some other pen or pencil, but this was my favorite pen, and if it gets clogged up, it gets worse if it dries out, so I needed to fix it right away. I pulled out a tissue and squeezed the nib, there were little dots of ink on the tissue, so there was some ink left in the pen. But I couldn’t get the ink to flow. I went to the bathroom and ran the nib under hot water, ink was definitely coming out, it’s writing a little better but still not working right. OK, I guess I’ll have to put in a new ink cartridge, but where the hell did I put them? I bought a little 3-pack of ink refills when I bought this pen, but they were packed away when I moved a few months ago and I haven’t seen them since. I had to search through a few boxes of junk to locate them. I inserted a new ink cartridge, it took a bit of work, another rinse under hot water, a couple minutes scribbling on waste paper, but now the ink is flowing. Ah, there is nothing like the feel of writing with a good fountain pen, even if they are tempermental sometimes.

After spending 15 minutes trying to get my pen to write, I completely forgot what I was supposed to write. I even took another 15 minutes to write this little story, and I still haven’t gotten back to the lecture. I think I was supposed to write down some things I did this week that I thought were urgent but really were not important.

One thought on “A Lesson in Time Management”

  1. The pen is a great companion that probably gets left behind a lot more now (by many people) with the advent of computers. As I read this I wondered if you had ever made your own ink. Just thought it might be like a gift from you to your ‘companion’ … or rather, your comPENion.
    [Yes, I do grind my own inks occasionally. I grind Japanese ink sticks on an inkstone, for painting with a brush. But it is very tedious, ink from a bottle is easier. –Charles]

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