The Case of the Stolen Time

I’m sure that if I look in the right place I’ll find a colony of gnomes that steal time and do arcane things with it. Possibly forbidden arcane things. They’ll have a massive stash of stolen time because I swear I’m getting maybe half what I should be if I’m lucky.

Yeah, it’s time to write the Thursday post and once again I’m sitting in front of the screen going “What? But I only wrote the last one a couple of days ago?”

I think there’s some kind of rule: the more you can appreciate time, the less of it you have. Certainly I remember those wonderful long summer days when I was a kid. Now they’re too damn short, and the alarm goes off too damn early in the morning to kick me out of bed for another riveting day torturing software to earn my keep, and maybe squeezing a bit of writing around the corners of the day. Then it’s home, feed the cats, try to convince the Bugger cat that no, the kitty door to the basement will not eat him and yes, he can go through it without being killded, and yes, his noms are down there waiting for him. Also trying to convince him that no, he will not be killded if he goes down there to do his business but he will be killded if he keeps doing it upstairs where there is no litter box. Clean up assorted kitty messes, although the real clean has to happen this weekend when I can take things outside to air out properly.

Then it’s dinner, catching up on email and the like, some mindless casual games to calm the brain down and take me out of ‘work’ mode, then it’s usually time for bed and the whole cycle kicks off again.

Those damn time-stealing gnomes are so going to get it when I find their little pointy-headed butts.

Yes, I am rambling, a bit.

Yes, I am talking – sort of – about that mythical thing called “time management”. Other people will tell you you have to organize yourself and plan things out and all that good stuff. Me, no. I’m not going to sell anyone that nonsense. It’s not organizing yourself that matters. It’s recognizing what the most important thing to do right now> is, and then doing it. At work this is both easy and insanely difficult. Easy, because the priotitization there is very simple. Insanely difficult because the volume is so much more than the ability of me and my fellow testers to complete that we’re going backwards. It’s a bit like trying to swim upstream against a current that’s twice as fast as you are. You end up going downstream at a slower rate than if you weren’t doing anything, until you get so tired you drown.

When I’m not doing the day job (which is always first priority), my priorities are roughly my husband, my health, the cats, writing, anything else. Health comes before husband when I’m not doing so well. The fluffy nuisances are kind of like fuzz-generating kids, and need to be loved and reassured about as often. Fortunately I don’t need to nag them to do homework.

All of which is why writing usually gets fitted into the gaps between everything else. And why I don’t anything else done. I simply don’t have the “me” to do it. Right now is a typical case: it’s 8:35pm as I write (since I’m typically at work at “oh god is that the time?” am, I usually write the post the night before and schedule it), and I’m dozing while I type. Yes, I can type in my sleep. I can write while sleeping. It’s a narcolepsy talent. About the only thing I can’t do is sleep when I’m sleeping. It’s rarely more than dozing – which is why I’m so utterly dependent on chemical assistance to approximate a normal life.

So, that’s how I prioritize – but not how I manage time because I don’t. I just try to do the most important thing that has to be done. And I’m still going to hunt down those bloody time-stealing gnomes.


  1. We need to track down the wizards from Diane Duane’s books who sold both advertising (day job) and moments of time. Stock a pantry full of Tuesday afternoon or early Saturday morning and tap into it when necessary, like the storm candles (or emergency chocolate).

    1. So, that’s a stock of Tuesday Weld afternoons and Saturday morning cartoons? Can I get Rocky and Bullwinkle for my Saturday mornings?

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