Inside the box

The WordPress poll asked, How long does it take you to write a post?

I don’t like to participate in surveys of this kind, but I do like to see the results. And unless I submitted my information, WordPress wouldn’t let me see anyone else’s.

I clicked 2 to 4 hours. So did 200 other bloggers. That puts us at not quite 15%

More than 4 hours, which I thought about clicking, garnered 55 votes, for 4%.

The majority, 455 people, or 33.9%, take 30 minutes to an hour.

Some people average 15 to 30 minutes, some less than 15. I choose to pretend they don’t exist.

It’s taken me nearly 30 minutes to get this far.

In my Saturday morning paralegal classes, I sat beside an organized person. She carried a homemade spreadsheet–the kind that spreads across a 6-foot-wide table–with everything in the syllabus plugged into cells. Readings, lectures, quizzes, tests, labs, reports, papers. Everything. Color-coded. And that wasn’t all. Everything she did was neat and tidy and perfect. Little boxes all over the place.

I carried the looseleaf notebook containing course materials (including a calendar listing all assignments) and a spiral notebook.

I envied that woman. I didn’t want her spreadsheet. I wanted to be a person who made such spreadsheets.

For our first major composition, we wrote a letter to an imaginary client. We discussed three statutes and three cases and explained how each applied, or did not apply, to the charges the client faced. In addition to including other information, we were supposed to be extremely clear, extremely polite, and extremely careful not to make any promises.

When letters were handed in, the instructor asked students to think how much time went into the production of that one four-page letter. Then she announced a break.

I turned to my organized classmate and said, “I wonder–when I calculate the time I spent working on the letter, does that count the time I spent playing solitaire while I was thinking what to say next?”

My classmate’s eyes got big and round, and she shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

Well, I didn’t really think so either.

We’d been warned that flippancy does not play well in a law office. It obviously didn’t pay well in the classroom either.

Sometimes I wish I were better at thinking inside the box.

8 thoughts on “Inside the box

  1. But how boring life would be without that flippancy! And from my limited experience, most law offices could stand to lighten up just a little. And, if that game of solitaire helped you clear your mind so you could continue, I definitely think it should count as time well spent. (Now is that a rationalization or what? But, hey, I love the occasional game of mind-clearing/numbing solitaire or Bejeweled Blitz.)


    1. You play Bejeweled? How do you get all that writing done? I’m going to have to erase the game from my history and may have to go into rehab. Once I start playing, it’s very hard to stop. I’m on the mind-numbing side of the equation.


  2. Judging from the magnitude of the fees charged for reading 50 word emails sent in moments of desperation by my friend to her razor-sharp divorce attorney, it does include the solitaire time!

    My first thought about that spreadsheet was terror. Probably something like yours. Then I realized that both she and I are good at organizing information. We just do it in very different ways. Mine is perhaps much like yours, strewn through several dozen pdf and Word files in a couple of ‘puter folders. Some scraps of paper. Half a dozen lists. Lots of half finished docs. Journal entries. A pile of books. But mostly it’s in my head, cooking away, forming into something useful and wonderful.

    I may spend time looking for fragments. She spends time making her spreadsheet. My brain can reorganize in a flash. Her printed, highlighted, color-colded paper document is granite. She has a lot invested in keeping her brain as rigid as paper. I can reorder, reimagine. She’s seemingly locked in.

    Seemingly. Anyway, even if hers works better for her, mine works better for me. The part of the spreadsheet I most admire is the coloring job. That sounds like fun. Maybe she should use it as wallpaper.

    Enjoy being Kathy, dear friend. Funny, loose, comical at times. Creative! Open to people. Would you really want to be any other way?


    1. It’s so good to hear from someone who files like I do. My favorites are sticky notes (stuck who knows where) and the backs of envelopes. And the little napkins at the coffee shop where my critique groups meet. We have to go with what works best for us.

      I don’t want to change radically. I’ve always worked out of my head and have so far survived (although I still don’t know my cell phone number). I’ve tried the rigid thing, and that didn’t work at all. But that spreadsheet was so beautiful…


    1. I suspect I spend 15 minutes writing and 2 to 3 hours deleting. Sometimes I take most of the day. But still just 15 minutes of writing.


  3. I make spreadsheets, and I am the most disorganised person in the world. Making a spreadsheet is just my attempt to make sense if the chaos in which I live. Since chaos encompasses several areas of one’s life, not just one, a spreadsheet can only scratch the surface. I make it, and the next day it needs updating. They are overrated…


    1. I’m glad to hear they’re overrated. I begin them but rarely finish. But before I can agree to your being the most disorganized person in the world, I must point out that you teach and you have children (who seem to be surviving) and you cook. And you blog. A person who does all four of those must have at least an iota of order in her make-up.


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