Counting down …
We all have things we count down for.
Sometimes it is something grand like a fight and sometimes just the tick-tock of the clock till the end of the work day.
When I get anxious, I like to think of things in three-minute intervals, plus the sixty-second rest.
It’s a way of organizing my thoughts which otherwise race around in what my old Dharma teacher used to call a monkey mind.
If I set the clock, I can think of things in finite terms. I can count out each second, or count out other things such as the number of sit-ups I can do in three minutes or the number of words I can write, or the amazing amount of tasks that can be completed in between the buzzers.
Imagine, one can actually pretty much empty a sink full of dishes, or run down four flights of stairs, grab the mail from the mailbox and come back upstairs and find that the clock hasn’t even hit yellow yet.
At other times the clock provides order out of chaos. It quells the what-do-I-do-now panic of momentary indecision, or worse, the I-can’t-get-started rut can be kicked into gear to a set menu of things to achieve–even if that just means taking an interval or two to calm down.
I bring this up as person facing deadlines and the stress that accompanies that. Thinking of the clock and the ding of the round though is helping to soothe me. In breaking things down into the tiny snippets of time I am reminding myself that no matter how daunting something may seem, it is only ever made up of moments; moments that follow one upon another each carrying its own weight and import.
Much as when I train, I can set aside so many rounds for one thing followed by a set number of rounds for another.
In their totality the time winds up to be the same as what had been originally allotted, but somehow in breaking it down into smaller bits, one can see and touch the progress as so many things that have already been accomplished.
Great post! I guess this explains how I ended up writing over 40 pages on my writing retreat when I kept getting up and puttering around in between paragraphs. I’ll definitely be thinking about this today as I finish a project at work today. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks, Margaret! Sometimes breaking it down is the only way — and congrats on your amazing writing efforts!
Damn, I NEVER thought of it this way. Perfect! Perfect! I will never look at a tough task quite the same way. I can do ANYthing for 3 minutes. (Actually, it reminds me of Margaret’s trick for getting to the gym: all you have to do is put your gym clothes on. Then, you don’t actually have to go. Unless you end up thinking, “Well, I already have my gym clothes ON, I might as well head over there.” I love how both your ideas break things down into small, manageable chunks. Thanks again, both of you.
Lisa, The gym trick is great! Sort on the “if you build it he will come” model! The “he” in this case being activity!!!
And yes, you really can do anything for three minutes–by which time you’re ready for your next 3-minute roll!
Great thoughts for the start of a day, workout, project, anything! Baby steps! I may just start using my ring timer for stuff other than the heavy bag 🙂
Thanks, Abby! Baby steps works! And yes, there are LOTS of things to do with a ring timer — yesterday I used it to time situps and ended up doing 132 over 3 rounds.