LIFE DOCTOR

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Indy Lifestyle Online
TAKE A piece of paper. Find four different coloured pens. Write down: relationships, work, home, health. On a second sheet draw a box for each day of the week horizontally and weeks vertically. Create a key. Fill everything in. Make it look really beautiful. Stick it to your fridge. Forget instantly.

Late summer is the perfect time for inertia. I'm sick of a society that assumes winners are always dynamic. Where procrastination, like Sunday and no-label trainers, has been sacrificed to capitalism and self-help books. We'll be sorry when procrastination no longer exists - wait, I need a biscuit break.

OK, I'm back. We live in a world where time management is automatically good. Where "truths" chastise us into believing that 20 per cent of our time achieves 80 per cent of our output and so we need to "effectivise". Yeuch. Yet research has shown that the "pile not file" people aren't necessarily non-achievers. That time-wasting can be good for creativity, reducing stress and keeping us open to new ideas.

Managing time, however, can turn you into a rigid, no-fun maniac. One book advised me to "assess how much time a relationship will require before leaping into it". Should I take my timesheet to parties? It's all going too far. Remember the sorry result of cutting down sleep to achieve more: Margaret Thatcher.

Time management is a wonderful way to avoid the real issues in your life. "You can use time management to be very unproductive," agrees Dr Jacqueline Atkinson, senior lecturer in the department of public health at Glasgow University and author of Better Time Management. "A lot of time management advice is very dictatorial. It doesn't allow for different personalities. Time management professionals are in the business of selling you information."

Just say no. Don't buy the hype. "Time management should help you to do what you want," says Dr Atkinson. "But if you're happy procrastinating and it's not holding up your life then that's fine too."

Time management addicts are like yo-yo dieters. They will try anything. Neil Gunton from New York wrote on the internet: "I have bought seven books on procrastination because I was sick of putting my life on hold."

Is he trying to be funny? Amazingly, no. He is building up to saying that Dr Neil Fiore's book (presumably book number eight), The Now Habit, is the only one for him. But if it worked, why is he wasting his time writing free internet book reviews?

Linda Sapadin, author of It's About Time: The Six Styles of Procrastination and how to Overcome Them, has wasted time working out that we time-wasters come in the following varieties: worrier, perfectionist, dreamer, defier, crisis-maker, over-doer.

I think I fall into all six categories but what I say is that if you take away the "L" away from Linda Sapadin, you find the anti-time management slogan "And, I said: Nap!". What a wonderful waste of five minutes that was.

The Life Doctor Time-Wasting System

Three days on this strategy and we guarantee you will be cured of nagging dynamism forever! Take a loaf of bread, your favourite spread, good cheese, quality tea bags and a TV.

1. Don't get up.

2. If you have to get up, make no decisions.

3. Wear a dressing gown, and, if cold, fluffy socks.

4. Make a cup of tea.

5. Spend some time thinking about how great tea is.

6. Look out the window.

7. Catch your reflection in glass surfaces.

8. Go back to bed.

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