My mentor and guide, Meggin McIntosh, taught a class about “Pockets”. 

These equates to pockets of time that we devise to organize our lives: appointments, family and job responsibilities, schedules – our days, hours, and minutes of productivity. 

While I always find time for running, I often do not allot time for other items I enjoy like reading, writing, practicing the piano or guitar, chatting with family and friends, and cooking. 

Why do the “have-to-dos” such as cleaning, shopping for groceries, and other menial tasks take priority over the “want-to-dos”? That’s where pockets arise.

First, I hope that each of you received or purchased a 2022 a planner. Something never needed in my pre-retirement life, this is now an essential. 

It keeps me on track as it clearly indicates my schedule, openings, and when I have over-booked – at least when I remember to scribble in my various appointments. Typically I only fill in the monthly calendar, but I now realize that I must move to the individual dates. This way not only do I find more space, but also lines for noting the times. No more multiple Zoom calls marked at 9am; no more meetings where the time sequence disallows necessary breaks.

Meggin leads a writing class every Friday from 9-11am. When I started attending I wrote in “Write on Site” without actually indicating the time. 

I discovered that instead of establishing this pocket of writing time as valuable and important, I easily filled the two hours with riffraff and musings. 

Fun and ntertaining? Maybe. But often the time slipped by with no fruitful production. My current planner has a clearly marked “rendezvous with keyboard and Meggin” slot. 

Knowing that I own this pocket of time, empowers me not only to get on the Zoom call, but also I have increased my writing time overall.

Bugaboos to pockets exist: pickpockets; hole-in-a-pocket; tiny pockets, pouches and compartments, and things pocketed for later. 

I feel certain that you have encountered each of these, regardless of your pursuits. The worst fiend is the ol’ pickpocket. A sly and wily individual, s/he sneaks in and snags precious moments that had been dedicated to another activity. 

Email stands as one such thief – you know just what I mean. Sifting through the worthless junk that arrives unsolicited in your box each day. 

Often too many of them plug the system so that you cannot just “highlight all” and hit delete, but are forced to scroll through the maze. 

After all, something vital might be socked away in the drivel. While cleaning up, clicking here and there may lead to additional problems. One internet site escorts me to another, moving from definition of “diphtheria” from a book I’d read to Ancestry.com 

My great-aunt died from this disease and so off I wandered. Pocket some minutes to Unsubscribe “Junk”.

At other times a tiny pocket allotment, though created with excellent intentions, proves simply too brief and so another hour, meeting, or gathering is tacked on. I have learned that what should take 10 minutes necessitates at least 25; 1 hour pushes 2. 

My planner must reflect that and if something by miracle ends early - Bravo! The tiny pocket remaining (pocket change) allows me to complete another task.

Beware, too, of pockets with pouches and compartments. If you shove this job here and that one there it may feel like separate and win but in reality, this usually develops excess confusion. A dash of this and dab of that often indicate a warning that disconnection will prevail and the grand scheme will disintegrate. This makes me think about committees that sound wonderful as a load is eased on individuals but it then becomes a tangle of discordant opinions and need for more chatter and clatter. This is not always the case because occasionally divide does mean conquer, but you must have willing participants or coordinating ideas coupled with compromise to reach conclusions. 

What about pocketing for later? Just exactly when will later show up? Will it be on time and focused on success? 

Maybe, but usually later pockets later, a point in time that does not exist. A few years ago I practiced “If I can do it in two minutes, do it now!” I have extended that mantra to five minutes and little by little I am wading through piles while preserving peace of mind.

Maybe the most credible pocket is your pocket- watch. Designed to orient and design your day, it is instrumental for success.

I use the timer on my watch to help me accomplish necessary actions – 5 minutes, 10, 30 minutes or 45. My pocket works! And also prevents me from becoming lost in time. It is, as you might conclude, a pocket protector.

Cunningham can be reached at ginilc25@gmail.com.