Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kansas And The Two Minute Timer

I made like Dorothy this week and went to Kansas. I'd have preferred ruby slippers as a means of transport, but I was stuck in sardine class on a couple of puddle jumpers each way.

I try to work on the legs of my flights because I find it makes the time go faster. Usually it's edits to manuscripts in paper form because that way I don't have to wait for the all clear to turn on my electronic devices. Because I've figure out that from the time you get onboard to the all clear for your electronic devices, there's a lot you can accomplish.

I actually learned from brewing my afternoon cup of tea that you can get amazing things done in just two minutes. While my teacup with water is heating up in the microwave, I can completely unload the dishes from the dishwasher. By the time the microwave goes off, ping, I've got the dishes empty, and the "dishes bowl" filled with pre-scrub water for the ones waiting to be loaded. Then I take the teacup out, put the teabag in, cover the teacup and put the microwave timer on for two minutes ('cause I don't like tea that's too strong or bitter and 2 minutes is the perfect brew time). While those second two minutes are ticking, I can reload the dishes, wipe down the counters, and get a load of laundry started.

Part of why I get so much done in 2 minutes is that I started noticing how much I could get done in 2 minutes, and have turned it into a little afternoon game with myself--on your mark, get set, go!

So that's where my awareness of what you can get done in two little minutes came from and why I can't stand waiting, like, thirty or forty minutes for a plane to take off and and for permission to turn on my computer. All those wasted two minutes! I could have, like, cleaned my whole house!

Or, at least, revised a chapter.

So I do the paper and pen(cil) thing when I travel, only I invariably get the question from the person sitting next to me: "Oh, you're a teacher?"

And then the whole conversation thing starts.

And you get zero editing or writing done if you're talking or listening.

Now, sometimes people are fascinating. The woman on my leg from Phoenix to Kansas City was a great example. If I hadn't already written Swear to Howdy I would have been taking notes. What a character. I got very little editing done, but the time flew by, so that was okay.

The way back was a different story. Oh, I got very little editing done, that's the same, but now my neighbor was a woman with baby. A squirmy bruiser-boy baby. The mother, in contrast, was down to skin and bones. (I know that look. No rest for mama.) So I wound up helping her with her squirmy boy. I had the window seat. He loved the lights. He wasn't so sure about me, but he was willing to risk standing on my lap for the view of lights.

Two minutes (not to mention 3 hours)  is a very long time when you're on your own on a plane with a 14 month old bruiser of a boy and you're desperate to get him to quit squalling because everyone around you is giving you the Can't-You-Keep-Him-Quiet? glare. So, yeah. I wasn't going to be one of those. And so my work went undone.

But I was talking about Kansas, wasn't I?

I did eventually arrive, and was put in a very nice new hotel on the campus of Kansas University. It's the first hotel I've been in where the windows have thick, solid wood shutters in front of the windows, and a white-noise machine available alongside hermetically sealed packets of earplugs on the nightstand.

The earplugs had notes stapled to them which read:

We hope you enjoy the vibrant nightlife that is ever present so near the KU campus. Unfortunately, this fun is often accompanied by late-night noise. Please make use of the complimentary ear plugs if you feel necessary. Have a good night sleep!

Which is all to say that it's the traveling that saps you. I love the actual work I'm asked to do, and I love meeting the students and teachers. If only I could just click my Converse and appear.

And then, you know, click them again and disappear!

Think of how much more I could get done!

Anyway, glad to be home, thanks for checking in, and next week I'll give a Sammy's been a while and I know some of you are anxious to hear the latest.

Meanwhile, have a good week!


Gabrielle said...

That would be my mom,she very much a multi-tasker I can totally picture her doing that,she never stops going sometimes I'm like mom sit down relax you've been doing stuff all day.

Jessica said...

Since I figured out no one can waste my time but me, I've gotten good at being "productive" no matter where I am. I nearly always have a book with me, or a pen and paper. Even if not, I can pray, think, do knee rehab exercises, or just observe my surroundings. In traffic, I sing and seat-dance, or park somewhere and wait for it to clear (I can't do audio-books; I end up tuning out while paying attention to the road).

However, I'm not very productive on planes. For some reason, just sitting there waiting makes me sleepy, and I end up dozing until takeoff, and then for half the time in the air. So I usually solve all the puzzles in the airline magazine until I get the all-clear. When I flew as a student, I never got as much homework done in-flight as I wanted. Now, I can never read more than a page or two in my book. Thankfully, I don't fly often, anyway. Maybe I'd become a better flyer if I did.

Kylie said...

I do the same with the microwave. But if I only have like 30 seconds on it, I run lapse in my kitchen and try to see how many I can get down in the little bit of time. I find it much easier to do stuff in small bits of time if I give myself a goal. I also always try to take my history notebook with me so that I can highlight my notes while sitting in the car if my mom has to run errands. This makes it so the I have more time to do other stuff at home.

I can't wait for the Sammy update next week! So excited!

Oh and speaking of clicking your converse together and going home, I got a red pair on Wednesday for my birthday, so maybe they will work better for clicking my feet together.


Leslie said...

My mom grew up in Lawrence, so I got very excited when I saw the Jayhawk as your image.

I love sitting next to babies on the plane. (Well, it only happened once, but it was fun.) Not very productive, but you feel so useful when you can help entertain them.

I procrastinate cleaning my room because of all the work it takes, but when I turn on my music I can get everything put away within two songs. That's like 5 minutes. No hardship there. You can get a lot done in those little intervals.

I wonder what work I can get done in these next 2 minutes...

Ryan said...

I stepped out of a train on August 11th. I haven't stepped onto any sort of modern transportation since thin. No planes, no trains, no automobiles, no buses, no taxis... I've even been avoiding elevators and walking up four flights of stairs. =)

Then I walked and walked and walked--over 1,000 miles from Le Puy-en-Valey (in France) to Finisterre (in Spain). I reached Finisterre today--also known as the "end of the world" because hundreds of years ago, people thought that this point was the last land to the west.

And now, it's time to go home. Tomorrow, I'll be stepping on modern transportation for the first time in over two months. First a bus to Santiago. Then a train to Madrid. Then a taxi/bus/subway (not sure which) to the airport in Madrid. Then a flight to Philly. Then a flight to... not sure where, yet. Las Vegas? St. Louis? Indianapolis? Then a flight to Phoenix. Then a flight to San Luis Obispo.

And without a doubt, I know the entire time, I'll just be thinking, "I'd rather be walking." =) I'm still awaiting the invention of the teleporter. It'll be awesome once that gets perfected!

But I'd take glass slippers too. Anything that makes travel easier =)

-- Ryan

Unknown said...

I use the timer thingy a lot to=)
only i have to stay in the kitchen 'cause if i leave i just HAVE to do one more thing then by the time im back, whatever was in there is cold=)

Yusa said...

A clicked on next blog just to see what it was and it was a binch of blogs about death and cemeteries and funeral services.... weird.