Comments 45

Time management ideas: changing hats for 50 mins

Blog tales for the Over 50s with positive ageing, dating & relationships

Are you time-poor? Trying to cram too many different projects into one day, like me?

Dashing from school drop-off to supermarket to work to post office in lunch hour to work to dentist to home to sport to home to dance class to home to personal emails to social media to relax to bed?

A To-Do list which keeps on growing

#timeflies #busymom #timepoor #timemanagement #todolistthatneverends

That makes me feel crazy…

But what about all the time we spend staring at our computer or phone screens? A friend posted the other day that he deals with 100-1000 emails A DAY; that would feel like a pressure band round my skull.

And have you seen the work of Eric Pickersgill?


#ericpickersgill #removed #socialmedia

He photoshops out all the smartphones; you MUST check it out HERE. I don’t want to turn into a vacuous, staring monster, but I feel like I do sometimes.

These are the subjects I regularly have to juggle when I’m in front of my computer at home, which I’m sure are similar to yours:

  • Personal emails
  • Work-related emails
  • WordPress blog reading & commenting
  • My own blog posts
  • Answering blog comments
  • Social media for blog
  • Social media for my friends
  • Generalized internet activity (news/YouTube worm holes/Netflix etc)


Today, I decided to try a different approach for only 50 minutes at a time. I set a timer, pretending to wear one specific hat, to deal with one specific topic, e.g. Mum’s care arrangements in the UK. When the timer dinged, I swapped hats and cycled up to the Hardware to buy a replacement light bulb for the kitchen which has been on that goddamn To Do list for at least 6 months.

Now I’m doing 50 mins of creative blogging.

When the timer goes, I’ll drop this, & start preparing dinner for the ever-ravenous teenager, in my tall white chef’s hat.

Then it’s going to be another block of writing, but for my overdue online romance homework.

I can’t wait to see how much I achieve (hopefully), and more importantly, how I feel at the end of the day.

What do you think? Any other tips or suggestions?

With gratitude,  G x 


  1. That’s a great idea. Try it for a few days to see how it goes and if it does, keep it up! I try for a couple of hours of no electronics time each day. It works sometimes, usually only if I’m driving or my phone has to charge. 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a coincidence – this came up in conversation just yesterday – a friend is considering a time-use journal – every 15 minutes, she will record what it is she’s doing – for a week. She said she’s excited to try it, and also scared – because she’s afraid to learn how much time is unproductive.

    She was inspired by a podcast wherein the author reminded us of the number of hours a week, less those hours spent sleeping, commuting, working at the job, etc., still usually means 40 – 60 hours of extra time to spend any way we want.

    And how do we spend it? Well, in my case, not in any way that I am happy to reveal. Games on the computer, time on the couch with the cats, naps, more time reading blogs and FB, etc. What a waste, right?

    So, to answer your question, I think setting a timer is a good thing – for a couple of reasons – not only as a reminder to tackle some of the items on the “to do” list, but to give you a break from the computer. If you are like me, you are spending far too much time in the chair. You have eyestrain and an arm that’s half asleep from hovering, muscles in sustained contractions over the mouse. Your teeth are worn and the dentist asks if you grind your teeth in your sleep. Um, no, you don’t – you just play too many computer games.

    I’m curious – the OCD in me wonders why 50 minutes and not 60 or 30, or some other nicely proportioned slice of an hour?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great comment Maggie, and wow, that’s a coincidence indeed. I chose 50 mins (which I should have explained in blog post) because I read somewhere that our brains work best in 50minute focus sessions (apparently), and then we need a break. Sometimes in theatre meetings, we set the timer for 50 mins, then get up and run around the space to make a change! I should find the research shouldn’t I? I’ll add it to my To Do List… : )

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  3. Time is a concept that crowds even when we have little to do in the day, amazingly enough. I think your idea is brilliant. When I first began ill with ME/CFS, my doctor suggested setting a timer for 15 minute intervals – pacing she called it. Now that I’m a bit better I’ve fallen back into old traps of losing myself on the computer and let the day get a way from me. You’ve inspired me to reconsider that approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great: try it. As I’m saying in the comments, I did feel good yesterday, and am going to try again today. I am SO guilty of letting the whole day get away sometimes, and it’s not a good feeling; I really want to get the balance between being ‘on’ and being ‘off’. Good luck with trying something new, and you could report back : ) G

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  4. You describe a really practical approach that is undoubtedly more effective than attempting to get everything done through multitasking. Recently, I’ve been trying to identify my most important tasks for each day the night before, and then also prioritizing/scheduling them. I’ve delayed checking email, social media, or newsfeeds until after I’ve accomplished my top priorities. I don’t always stick to it, but when I do, it seems to be very effective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Multitasking drives me crazy, and feels so ‘thin’ somehow; I know I’m not doing anything well. Sometimes at night I make a priority list too, it’s a good idea, but I must admit I find it hard to resist the allure of the emails/blog feeds… Thank you for sharing your experience Donna, G

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know right? So much to juggle, plus our kids and their needs… I must say the 50 mins felt great yesterday, and I did get a lot done… will try again today and I think I’ll have to do a follow up post. Take care, G

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great idea. I suck at time management though I do get stuff done. What I do is nothing is really in order. It’s done haphazardly . I do it on the go. Like I know there’s functions coming up. Pressie are bought for. I’m a list person. I find ticking it all off as I go is a great way of getting things done. I don’t have trouble moving from one to the other. Plus this year with not working as much gives me more time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting Dewy- I’ve never really been good at time management either, it always seemed too ‘organized’ for me! But now there’s just too much going on, so I thought I’d try. And I LOVE my lists! So satisfying ticking them off : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes me too. I’m suppose to keep a goal book and work on it 10 minutes a day . Family, work, leisure . Anyhow never got around to it. I just do things as I think of them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can time manage exceptionally at work, it is part of what I do. I am highly skilled at prioritizing, it is one of my strengths…In my personal life, I have a different approach, I do what feels fun or good at the time. It sometimes mean I don’t do laundry for a month but heck I have enough clothes so who cares right!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s so cool Jad- I wish I could get a lesson from you! But of course it’s wonderful to let it all slide and be spontaneous at home- the challenge is when you work from home, and it all overlaps a bit. I like my 50 minute hat style, I’m gonna try again today : )

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Solid strategy to battle task overload. I try to combine tasks as well: take daughter to soccer or swimming or appointments, then use time to catch up on reading. Well, that is the plan, but my iPhone is so very tempting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I tend to judge tasks by the WIBBOW method … Would I Be Better Off Writing? … you could substitute the ‘writing’ for ‘gardening’, ‘meditating’ etc, but the principle’s the same.

    Just so you know, my success rate is currently hovering at around 65-70%, I’m blaming it on the weather! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. LIke it. I’ve used similar things myself. And whether I change tasks or go back to the previous one, the timer is very useful to interrupt, get one up, move around, have a drink of water, and then reassess, what’s the best use of my time and energy for this upcoming segment of time. Keeps the flexibility I like to have when possible, while also encouraging me to be attending to something that matters to me. And if I’m stuck, I’m likely to notice it sooner.
    It’s been a few days since this posted, I’m wondering how its gone for you after Day 1.


  10. I like the idea of allotting a certain amount of time each day to different tasks! Personally, I can get stuck into a state of total non-productivity when I have too many different things to do, because I can’t figure out which one to do first, and I can’t concentrate on any of them. I think I’m going to have to go get a timer…..

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  12. I love the timer method. I use it ro balance the mundane (kitty litter, laundry, dusting) with the exciting (art, blogging). Otherwise, I would only do the exciting. I do 30 minutes of mundane and 45 minutes of exciting. Since I have implemented this strategy, I am getting tons done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, that’s a great idea, thanks for commenting with that one! Yes, the artist in me just wants to go from 50 mins of writing to 50 mins of dancing to 50 mins of gardening etc. Mundane vs Exciting is a fabulous strategy- thanks for reading and engaging Eliza, with blessings, G

      Liked by 1 person

  13. agnieszkacoutinho says

    Hi! Thats a great post.

    I tried pomodoro (25min of working and 5min break/exercise/walk etc) – this works well for more difficult or boring tasks because 25min passes so quickly.

    I think I’d manage to do 50min x1 and then my concentration would be decreasing with each session. I’ve read somewhere that 40min is the max time we can focus on something and be productive although it depends, doesn’t it.? 🙂 And 40 min is almost the same as 50min anyway 😉

    I also tried batch processing so focusing on one task at a time and doing some extra e.g. instead of writing 1 blog post a day it is apparently better to write a few blog posts at once e.g. 1-2x a week. I rarely manage to turn these techniques into routines and habits, not sure why, but this is something I want to work on in 2018!:)

    Please have a look at my blog post – I love to write about personal growth, motivation, productivity – https://mindset4progress.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey that’s a helpful & informed comment, thanks so much for stopping by 😊
      Exercise combined with sedentary work is the way to go! I’m glad to hear you’re doing that 💪🏼😃
      I’ll definitely swing by & check out your blog thanks, when I’m at my laptop not phone. Nice to hear your perspective, cheers G


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