My Life on an Egg Timer

Let me start with an admission: I'm a workaholic.

Anyone who knows me knows that much about me.

If you're not a workaholic, then you don't know what down time can be like for us. My paycheck says that I'm a community college professor, and my hours during the school year are pretty regimented. That's not a bad thing. I always know where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing on a minute by minute basis, and I can fit in my passions -- writing and now promotion -- between those times.

The confusing part comes with the free time of summer when I want to do things, but I don't have a structure. I'd sit around looking at the computer wondering what to do. I was popping into blogs, sitting there for 3 hours and getting almost nothing done.

Then I got the suggestion for the egg timer in my last post and that really has changed my summer. Thank you, Sunny. This really focused what I was doing.

With the structure of the timer, I'm getting things done. With a half hour yesterday, I wrote and edited a poem. The next half hour got me onto a blog site and another half hour got me into another and moving. The moments were regimented and perfect. I was moving. I knew what I had to be doing when I was doing it. Two hours for fiction and an hour for magazine submission. Everything moved well. Two hours for reading even, and I didn't feel guilty for any of the stuff that I enjoy. As long as it was egg-timed, Puritan guilt was no longer a problem.

I'm not kidding about this.

The problem is that all workaholics are obsessives too. I'm featuring at a poetry reading this afternoon (I'll report on that tomorrow or the next day), and they've given me 14 minutes, which is both oddly specific and oddly comforting to me. The egg timer will control this for me. The egg timer will let me know exactly how long I have.

I've egg-timed the writing of to-do lists, also a relief for me. I egg timed lunch and dinner. I egg timed playing with my dog. I think I might be going a little overboard.

Tonight, I'm planning to egg-time my dreams. One half hour for the dream where the penguin tells me that he is my father and at the same time the reincarnation of my sister who I never knew I had. Twenty minutes for the dream where I'm teaching to my class but I have to teach political science and I don't know the first thing about political science and why is everyone looking at me like that and what should I say and does it make sense that I'm up here and maybe I should just tell everyone to drop right now.

And since I've been good and done the surreal dream and the social nightmare dream, I will schedule an egged-timed half hour dream about the hike I took with my dog in the woods where there was just an inch of snow on the ground. The pine trees were dark with moisture and the forest was empty of people. I'm going to dream that tonight in a half hour, but I think I'll put my wife there so she can enjoy an egg-timed half hour too.