Thursday, May 19, 2016


There’s a line in The Golden Spiders, by Rex Stout, that I really like:

Archie Goodwin is badgering Nero Wolfe to do some work:

“You’ve always said it’s not enough to earn your money—you have to feel like you’ve earned your money. So let’s earn our money.”

[Note: This post is not about making money. Sorry. You really don't want to get advice from me on making money. Trust me on this.]

A couple of months ago I had a day when I did several things, and accomplished a lot, for me. By the end of that day I had the satisfaction time well spent. I felt—emotionally—as if I’d accomplished a lot. Some of that satisfaction came from knowing I’d finished something: a task, one large part of a task, or even a small step.

I won’t tell you what all I did—I do hate to see your eyes glaze over. But I say proudly, I wiped out, completely, my Today List. And it wasn't a short list either.

Sometime back a blog post by Writer/Teacher Louise De Salvo entitled “Little by Little” explored what it means to make progress on a project when you have a debilitating disease or condition. Louise De Salvo never knows ahead of time how much energy she will have the next day—maybe none. Maybe only a short time to do a little writing. If it’s 10 minutes, then she uses those 10 minutes. If it’s an hour, then she writes for an hour. And the work gets done, “little by little.”

I found her blog post inspiring. Too often I sigh and ignore the little bits of time that could be used to move a project forward.

Do I really have to wait for two hours of free time? Isn’t there something I can do in whatever time slot I have available?

Nancy Zieman, host of a long-running quilting/sewing TV show, Sewing with Nancy, believes that's possible. She published a book called 10-20-30 Minutes to Quilt. There’s another inspiration. For each quilt she lists the steps: what can be done in 10 minutes (choose fabrics, perhaps), 20 minutes (cut fabrics), and in 30 minutes (assemble quilt blocks).

My job: Look at my Today List and estimate how many minutes each task will take.

Besides tasks, I like to build in time to rest between, say, starting laundry and vacuuming the hall and bedrooms. This isn’t lying down for a nap kind of rest; this is doing something sitting down—writing checks, knitting a few rows of an afghan, looking through a music book for pieces I can learn. Then back on my feet for the next activity.


The true issue at hand, I believe, is perspective. Remember the old glass half-full vs. the glass half-empty? Time perceived as "too little to do much with" is still the same amount of time perceived as "just enough time to do one step of that task."

One of the most positive people I know is my family doctor. We discussed time one day--I think the subject was time to read--and she said two minutes might be all the time she had but she'd use those two minutes to skim an article.

Perspective--what you see from where you stand--has a lot to do with perception.

If you're standing in your own way, you won't see anything but your own reflection. If you get out of your own way, you might see something new--or something old in a new way--or something old that can be morphed into something new.

Perspective influences perception, which leads to possibilities.

There you go--three words that begin with P. Juggle them and see what you come up with.

And have a Perceptive week, developed by looking from where you stand, into a future of possibilities.


  1. Replies
    1. Me, too!!
      BTW you taught me a lot about perception. You were writing about perceived pain, I think it was. So thanks!

    2. Me, too!!
      BTW you taught me a lot about perception. You were writing about perceived pain, I think it was. So thanks!

  2. Nice post, Judith. I remember when I retired, I said I would give housework 15 minutes a day--half-joking--but I still do that 1st think in the morning, and some days that's all there is.