I once tried to microwave an entire package of marshmallows. I had used the microwave to heat things up, not to cook. I decided to make Rice Krispie squares when we were first married. The microwave seemed like it would "melt" the marshmallows faster than the double boiler method. You may all be fully aware of what happened. I had no clue what I was getting into. After a little while in the microwave the package of marshmallows expanded from their bowl to fill the entire device wall to wall, ceiling to floor. Marshmallow everywhere. I don't remember how long it took to clean the microwave out, but it was a challenge. I've never made them again come to think of it.
I tell this story because I ran across an entry in a journal about goals and time management from a talk I'd heard. It said to look at how you spend your time in regard to goals because a given task will expand to take the time you give it. Like the marshmallows, expanding to fill the given space -- the entire microwave.
This struck me because I've been analyzing my use of time lately. It feels like I'm jogging in peanut butter a lot. I am able, like all of us, to let the computer suck a lot of time out of me. Check emails, verify a file is in the right location, scan a picture place it, but not don't finish the whole project, check something else. Little errands for my mouse. They make me feel busy, productive. It soothes my need to get things done. Click, click, click. Ahhh. While what I do here is valuable, I have not set a time for it, thus it eats up extra time. More than I mean to give it.
None of this is bad per se. It's just that I know from my years on the planet that I tend to take more time for a given task than other people and more time than I meant to. While my mouse jockeying feels like productivity, it may only be making me feel busy. It would be good if I plodded my slow way along on other tasks besides just clicking. I suppose it makes me hark back to the idea of setting goals and time periods for myself to work on specific things, and not to let them spill over.