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Break Through!

There are strict recycling regulations in Japan. That has a positive side and then a weird side. Sometimes people just throw their junk away on the streets and in the parks. I found this clock during my morning walk. Break through your use of time by simply tracking it!

Confession time.  I broke off from a weekend event with my family to catch up 0n work, curriculum writing, Japanese study et cetera.  I knew that I was going to lose a day because we are going to spend the day in Sanrio-land (“Hello Kitty Land”–please pray for me!)

I checked into a mangakissa (a Japanese internet cafe with unlimited “free” non-alcoholic drinks, comics and private booths with internet access) for a six hour stint.  I proceeded to “waste” most of the six hours checking Facebook, creating a non-Samurai mind twitter account, and looking at a lot of grade B movies available on the Cinema Channel.

I probably needed a day of “doing nothing.”  However,  if you find time slipping away from you and you don’t even know where it’s going, I suggest that you start recording it.  Write down what you are doing and if you can, how long you are doing it for.  It’s interesting that even though you may never sit down and total the information, it makes you aware and helps you structure your time better.

For me, it works like a money journal, a simple little notebook I kept when I decided to become financially balanced.    The books I read suggested I keep a money journal, and every month figure out how much I spent in different categories.   After a while, instead of totalling up the information, I just kept the money journal and noticed that I was being more careful with my resources just because I had to write it down.  Why buy the third pint of Ben and Jerry’s in a week when I would have to write it down?  Now, I occassionally keep a money journal when I feel my spending gets out of control.

Time is an important non-renewable resource, so it is worth occassionlly keeping track of where it goes, especiallly when you feel that you are wasting it.   I began the summer experimenting with an app called, “Eternity” ($9.99!) that allows you to create different time categories and then keep track time of how much you are doing in each as part of my project to not let my summer time slip away.  I find that I am more productive during my creative, study time if I am more like a hummingbird, flitting from flower to flower (project to project) rather than working with huge blocks of time (thanks to AJATT and timeboxing for this).   It was simply taking too much time to use the time tracking app.

I recently just experimented with a simpler method for keeping track of time.   Using my notebook  (yes, my samurai mind notebook),  I simply wrote down what I was doing on the margins. A simple few words sufficed:  wordpress, iKnow, kanjikoohii.com, Facebook….   What I found was that doing this kept me focused on getting things done.  If I had to write it down it had to be at least fun or productive.  It became more of a game to see how productively I could use my time.

Another big advantage of this is that it helps me fight the distraction of social media.   I like social media but I get lost when I use it.  I enter into it and then I forget what I was going to do.  Keeping my notebook out with some goals and a list of what I’ve done keeps me on track.

It’s a simple tool but writing down what you are doing helps you answer the eternal question:  “Where does the samurai time go?”