Assign It a Day and Time

I knew we had a problem when I saw it was 1 a.m.

Prior to looking at the clock, but after I woke up, I assumed it was time to get up because so much light was coming through our bedroom window.

But glancing at the clock, I discovered it was not time for either me or the sun to rise and shine at 1 a.m.

This was early spring of 2021. Unbeknownst to us, a nearby business had installed a very, very bright light in their parking lot earlier in the day. And by night, it was shining directly into our bedroom window.

So for a couple months, Jeff and I talked about getting blackout curtains for our bedroom window to block the dreaded light. And talked about it more. And talked about it even more.

Until the trees finally grew new baby leaves, and the parking lot light was a little diffused. And then the leaves grew bigger and bigger, blocking the light more and more. Eventually the light was no longer a pressing problem, thanks to all our trees.

We stopped thinking about buying blackout curtains.

But the problem didn’t go away; it was only masked. The problem has now returned. 

The trees have lost all their leaves. I wake up all through the night and wonder: Is it already morning?

We started talking again about getting blackout curtains.

But this time we did something different. On Tuesday morning we set a time to look together online for some curtains (5:30 p.m.), and a day (Thursday afternoon) to go look at curtains in person.

The days and times were only arbitrary, of course. But they were important.

Because when something can be done anytime, it sometimes doesn’t get done at all.

The artificial deadline worked. Jeff and I sat together on the couch at 5:30 last Tuesday night to search the internet for blackout curtains. It took awhile to discover what was available, what we liked, and what we wanted to spend. But by 6:30 p.m., we had ordered the curtains and all the accompanying hardware.

In less than an hour, we accomplished what we’d delayed doing for almost a whole year.

The lesson learned: for things without an obvious deadline, still assign a day and time to get them done, especially things I keep procrastinating.

Granted, I’ve tried this trick in the past with varying levels of success.

But just because something doesn’t work every time doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep trying it some of the time.

So I’ll keep trying it.

What time management hacks do you have? Share in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “Assign It a Day and Time

  1. Lesley

    I agree, if I set a definite time to do something I am much more likely to get it done than if I just think I’ll do it at some point. I definitely work better if I have a deadline!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa! Loved your post and the reminder to assign a time! Maybe that is why I never finish: no self-imposed deadlines. Thank you. AND like you, I hate light when I sleep. I’ve not heard of the shades (though some people wear eye masks), but yours is a great solution. We also sleep w/ low-grade white noise, and it feels jarring not to have it, say, in a hotel. I also quickly browsed the links, and saw a FINISH photo (not photo finish! :)), and read Lois’s post. Loved it and commented there. Thank you always for broadening community, whether via blogging or One-Wording. You’re amazing, and I so appreciate you!


  3. Trudy

    Thank you, Lisa. I hope you two can sleep better and longer. 🙂 Also, I do love your word of the year and am looking forward to following what you learn this year. Love and blessings to you!

  4. Tammy L Kennington

    Hi Lisa,
    I can imagine how difficult it must have been to sleep with that light glaring in your bedroom window and hope you both enjoy much needed rest.
    My time management tip is to record the three most important tasks to complete for the next day before going to bed. It provides focus going forward.

  5. Barbara Harper

    This is a great idea. So many things get put off to “some time when I can deal with it.” And when I finally do, it doesn’t take nearly as long as I had thought it would.

    One of my favorite tips, read in some now-forgotten source, is the OHIO principle: Only Handle It Once. Instead of laying my jacket across a chair or my bed when I come in, go ahead and hang it up. Instead of looking through the mail and then setting it on the counter, go ahead and put the bills where they go (and the junk mail where it goes). It relieves messes or stacks to deal with later if I do whatever I need to with an item before moving on. We can’t do that with everything. Some things need some thought before we take action. Some things I need to show my husband first and discuss. But where I can apply this, it really helps.

  6. Anita Ojeda

    I use my phone calendar and set multiple alarms. I’ve been known to set alarms for cleaning the bathroom (meh, do they REALLY need cleaning every week 😉 ?) to cancel subscriptions or make doctor’s appointments. Basically, I set alarms for all those things I don’t like doing ;).

  7. Michele Morin

    I set artificial deadlines for myself with my writing–so MUCH so that I’ve really had to back off and be kinder to myself this fall and winter. That explains my absence from this weekly gathering. I miss linking up here and hope to work it back into my schedule eventually.
    I always appreciate your thoughtful writing.

  8. April

    This is so true about setting a time and putting it on your calendar. I am the biggest procrastinator/forgetter if I don’t do this. Thanks for hosting the link up. I hope your curtains worked!

  9. Lisa Blair

    Good advice, Lisa! Assigning a day and a time brings a concrete task to complete -which reminds me, I need to make an appointment to tidy up the garden outside my computer desk’s window.

  10. April J Harris

    This post really resonated with me, Lisa. How much mental space do we give to these niggly little tasks – and how much easier is it to just deal with them?! Your technique appeals to me as I am a big scheduler. Thank you for sharing with Hearth and Soul. I’ve featured this post at the February edition, which is now live. Hope to see you there! Have a lovely Sunday.

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