Time to manage

She walked to work feeling excited. She had woken up ten minutes earlier than usual and, to her surprise, didn’t feel tired at all. It’s going to be a good Thursday, she thought walking through the glass doors at her workplace. And if turns out lousy, the weekend’s not far away, her mind assured her.

Taking her place, she looked at the empty seats around her. It was 9 in the morning. She had about an hour before people trudged in.

Taking a deep breath, she fired Safari up. It opened all the tabs she had been working on before shutting down the previous evening. And the first one that looked back at her: Facebook. Instagram was just nearby.

She glanced at her phone. It was 9.05 am. Perfect. She had plenty of time to get some work done early—before the distractions walked in. Perhaps she could leave office early, too, and read that book she had been putting off for more than a while now.

Excited, she was about to turn back to her laptop when she noticed that the wallpaper on her phone seemed boring. Of course, she hadn’t changed it in over a two months. Well, how long could it take?

She flipped through the photos on her phone, and finding nothing worthy of a wallpaper, turned back to her laptop and opened a new tab: mobile wallpapers.

It took a while but she managed to find a perfect fit. Having set the new wallpaper, she was ready to go back to her work email. Facebook was still open, and so was Instagram. She flipped through her feed in record speed, just to catch the latest news from friends. Masha was getting married, Dave Jones had a baby boy (“Name him Davey!”), Trisha was pregnant again, and Joanna had got a new job in Paris. Wow, she wondered scrolling down. It was nice to see the gang succeed.

She kept scrolling until a video made her stop. “How to make the world’s best chocolate chip cookies—as told by Monica.” She smiled to herself. That’s a clever headline, her marketing brain whispered. Good tactic, recalling the beloved Friends character. The title worked on her too; she watched the ten-minute video even though she doesn’t bake. Sighing and craving chocolate, she scrolled further before pausing again. A social-worker friend had posted a video of a non-profit organisation that trained speech-impaired children. Feeling like she owed it to the kids, she played the video. It was short—just a minute and a half. At the end of it, she wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies and share with those kids.

She looked at the phone again. The wallpaper was fine, but would become dull in a month. Perhaps she should try themed wallpapers each month, something fun, she thought—it was 9.45 am.

Now she panicked. The stragglers straggled in one by one. “Hey Bob,” she waved as he passed. “Morning,” she nodded at Priya. And seeing the boss right behind Priya, she looked down in a hurry. She didn’t want him to see her cheery face, for he’d call attention to it at the end-of-quarter meeting later in the day.

She sighed (9.49 am). It was almost time to prepare herself for the tasks of the day. But she didn’t want to. Looking back at the browser, she saw her Instagram full of notifications. Then she remembered she had posted a photo the previous night, and hadn’t seen the responses yet. It was 9.51 am but she still had time. She clicked on the heart.

“Hey. What’s up?”

Her teammate stood behind her cradling a cup in his hand. It was 10.33 am—his coffee time. “Hey,” she replied, her eyes drooping. “I was just reading this article—about successful time management.”

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