Don’t run if you hear me ticking


Everyone is nervous about terrorists, so if you see me in the garden center and hear a ticking noise  emanating from my pocket, not to worry.  It’s only my kitchen timer which I’m using to motivate myself to attack my overgrown garden. It’s so attention-deprived, it has morphed into a mini jungle.

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I have a tendency to plug in every pass-a-long plant given me by  friends  but dividing time was years ago.  Now I’m overwhelmed and the only thing that motivates me to address the eyesore is to set my timer for 20 minutes increments of focused weeding, hoeing (I’m a dedicated hoar because I don’t like touching worms), and trimming.

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That’s all that’s required. I tell myself, “Self, just spend 20 minutes trimming and weeding a small area – maybe three feet square.  If you stick to the schedule the garden should be back in shape by the  football season.”

If my calculations are correct – that amounts to 2.3 hours a week or 9.2 hours a month.  I could do it all at once, but this way is much easier and faced with nine hours of yard work, I would come up with a million excuses why I don’t have time.

After the time is up, I allow myself to do something more passive, like reading a good book in my comfy recliner or taking a nap..

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Today, I will begin on the small garden above.  Monkey grass has become my worst nightmare.  I put in a border 10 years ago which has taken over.  I’m covering it with black plastic for several weeks to kill it off, then replace it with colorful annuals.

The interesting thing is I never stop working after just 20 minutes.  Yesterday I did three sessions – I call them “Boogie Scoots” and these concentrated periods of focused attention seem to work for me.  Boogying even works for exercise.  I’ll set out for a short 20 minute power walk and before I know what’s happening, I’m across town and 45 minutes have lapsed.  I begin looking for a familiar car so I can hitch a ride home.

Try it.  Might work for you too.

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