Compliments of Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr

Twenty-four hours is all any of us are granted in a day. 1440 “jewel encrusted minutes,” that we can either use wisely, or squander in an irresponsible fashion. Reclaiming our time occurs with concerted effort, as Turner explains in The Fringe Hours (and accompanying website) that includes work sheets – an hour by hour tracker for each day of the week, so that short falls in being good stewards (with our time) appear obvious. Electronics have usurped everyone’s free time on a grand scale, swallowing up hours in which we could be doing a host of things other than Internet surfing.

Cell phone addiction occurs when miniature devices, for the time we stare at them, control our minds – reminding us at periodic intervals with a “ding” that signals we have something new in our e-box, an addiction fueled by the same slot reward system that gamblers crave at machines. Forcing ourselves to engage in “periodic checking,” setting up specific times to view e-messages (instead of continuously scrolling in search of cyber gold) provides structure and discipline to our day, as does turning off the TV and DVD/video games.

The Pomodoro technique suggests uninterrupted concentration for twenty five minutes (with no distractions) is more beneficial than a back and forth with myriad different activities in a much longer time frame: e.g., no Internet surfing, no snack, no getting up and looking at anything else. In an age when our attention span has shrunk to the size of a pea, try typing an agenda of all the things you wish to accomplish at the start of each day – gathering our “to do” list from inside of our heads and into a plan. Checking off items in an orderly manner provides a feeling of accomplishment, which can occur via e-calendar (like Outlook), a handwritten “bullet journal,” or from a typed bulleted list (my personal favorite). The overwhelmed feeling from trying to tackle everything all at once melts when we methodically proceed through our agenda, one step at a time.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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