Beat the clock. - Part 1

13 May, 2011, by Seema Bhatnagar

You must have experienced many a times, that your mind is always thinking on something or other and there is always an inner chatter going on about tasks that needs to be completed or may be the mails which you need to respond, meeting to attend or may be about visiting a doctor coming weekend. Sometimes, when you are sitting in a meeting, your mind starts wandering and start its own story and keep you completely occupied in that, you simply forget that you are attending a meeting.

A typical day at work demands one to handle phone calls, attend meetings, answer mails, completing tasks at hand, handling some unexpected urgency etc. After all this, at home front also, one needs to spend time with family, cook meals and other errands which demands time. With all this to handle, there is hardly any time left to relax, in fact, sometimes it feels as if a day of 24 hours is very short, why can't it be a bit longer.

Realty Check

Let’s visit one day of life of Mr. Smart to understand if you also share the same experience

Mr. Smart, gets up on Monday morning, feeling fresh and happy, after attending weekend party at his friend's place last night. Feeling fresh and renewed he reaches to work with full enthusiasm, thinking, that today I would complete all my pending tasks and would leave home timely in the evening to spend quality time with my family. But, on reaching office Mr. Smart, realizes that God has different plans for him and finds that his mailbox has few mission critical mails to be answered immediately, followed by a meeting with boss. By the time he completes answering mission critical mails, he discovers that it is almost a lunch time and he has just answered 2 mails when he has a pile of tasks to be completed. Feeling compelled by the situation, he decided to stay back in the evening to complete all his pending tasks. He starts thinking about what to do and what not to do, as he finds all the tasks are important and want to close all of them as soon as possible. Eventually, he finds himself in complete chaos.
Oops..his plan of spending evening with family is crushed to pieces by divinity. Well said, Man proposes, God disposes...indeed. This loop continues forever and Mr. Smart never gets sight of his To Do list completed and always finds himself juggling between work and home.

Such experiences are common for most of us, doesn't matter working in which part of the globe or working in which industry.

Personally speaking, I too had similar experiences, working with constant pressure and in a race to beat the clock. Sometimes, it was resolving just one project issue and one long meeting which used to eat up my whole day, forget about reading or answering some important mails. All this means putting in extra hour everyday in the hope of completing all pending tasks. It used to feel, as if I have no control over things and I am not able to focus on tasks.


So what are the different problems faced by people, who are constantly juggling between work and home responsibilities. The next obvious question which comes to mind is what can be done about it, since everybody has to work to earn a livelihood?

I am sure, you will have many more such questions, like, can there be a better way to handle work related problems? How can I improve my productivity? Is there a scope of bringing change in my lifestyle? Can I live a stress free life?
Let's explore a concept and understand the root cause of all these problems.

Memory Buckets

Our mind is a greatest power we have in our hand. It works like a radar and keeps detecting all the actions, tasks, incomplete tasks which needs to be completed. Even when you try to stop yourself from thinking, your mind starts thinking on its own. This is due to the fact that our mind is wired in such a manner that it has a tendency to bring logical endings to tasks or thoughts. This idea is beautifully presented in a book Getting Things Done by David Allen.
Our mind has a temporary memory area like RAM (Random Access Memory, like, computer has) which keeps collecting the tasks and information which it has to act upon. Like all others things, it has its own capacity and when it reaches beyond its capacity we experience chaos and stress in our life. When the temporary memory of mind is working to its full capacity.
Yes, even computers works with the concepts of buckets, similar to our mind. Remember, memory bucket is only for collecting information which is required for a shorter period, for storing information which would be needed in long-term, there is separate area assigned in our brain. So, for gathering information, our mind make use of memory buckets, which gets cleared up when tasks or information has reached to its logical ending.

Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action. – David Kekich

Without taking into account any health problem, probably, the single most reason of stressful and chaotic life is our lack of control over things and our preparation about taking meaningful actions. In Beat the clock. Series, Part II, we will explore how we can plan better about organizing meaningful actions, what are the best practices and techniques to organize actions and how you can adopt these practices in daily life to improve your productivity and how you can enjoy a stress free life.

Read Part II here

Seema Bhatnagar
, Blogger, Writer, Life Coach and Founder of Abundance Thinkers, site for personal growth and development. Empowering people in achieving and living the best of personal potential.

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