Beat the Clock

I made a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mistake this summer. I took on a part-time, online writing job. And it involves…CLOCKS. Lots and lots of clocks.  I should have known better, but I did it anyway, in a misguided effort to earn some extra coffee money.

Clocks and I have never really gotten along. When I was about seven, some well-meaning person gifted me one with a bunny face and a little gold piece on top that hammered the brass ears in a frenzy when the alarm went off. But the creepy thing was that the bunny’s eyes winked if you dared to change position in the bed. If you moved, the eyes moved.  I wish I could show you a photo, but my cousin Terry the Terror threw it across my bedroom at his sister. She ducked, Evil Bunny hit the wall, and…no, it didn’t break. It kept on ticking, louder than ever. And the eyes still worked, of course. But the clock disappeared around the time I went to college. I don’t know where it went, but I’m pretty sure it is somewhere out there, ticking away.

So the deal with this job, which ends around October, is that I must complete each project within 48 hours. Problem: there are many, many separate projects, all streaming in at random times. And there is a countdown clock in the online system that lets me know precisely how many hours, minutes and seconds I have left for each one. The numbers change faster than the National Debt Clock in New York City. You’d think this extreme display of urgency would help prevent writer’s block, but I have discovered that it tends to have the opposite effect.

Do you remember that kids’ game “What Time is it, Mr. Fox?” It’s a lot like Red Light, Green Light, or Mother May I, where the players try to sneak up on the person with her back turned who’s It. If Mr. Fox says it’s twelve o ‘clock midnight, you have to run for your life. I always got eaten. And then there were those old reruns (and a later remake) of that TV game show Beat the Clock. Extremely stressful for an impressionable future writer-with-deadlines. Oh, and let’s not forget the fun of standardized, timed tests like the SAT (also the national real estate exam, which I took not long ago). Panic City.

Clearly I must get over this overly-disturbing clock phobia–STAT–and truly appreciate the need for speed. I am a professional writer, after all, with deadlines and the aforementioned need for caffeine. I will not let myself be defeated by any timepiece, whether in the form of a diabolical bunny clock, a Nancy Drew wristwatch, an iPhone or SurfacePro. So if y’all will excuse me, I hear a ticking in the distance, and it isn’t Captain Hook’s crocodile that swallowed a clock.  Will I succeed in improving my sad time management skills? Time will tell. In the meantime, beat this, Clock!


Readers, who has time management tips to share–or are you as hopeless as Lisa?

14 thoughts on “Beat the Clock

  1. LOL, Lisa! I love these images and the whole post. I can just imagine that clock with the wandering eyes.

    I despise deadlines – the clocks of my life. I hate having them hang over me so much that I’ve developed an almost pathological need to beat them. I turned in a recent draft three months early.

    I wish I could offer help – if I were in your shoes, I think I’d be hysterical with anxiety. But then, I can’t eat when I’m that anxious, so I’d finally lose that 20 pounds I keep trying to lose. Hmm… do you know if that company is looking?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They’ll be looking if I don’t do a better job beating the clock, El! At least you react in a positive direction. I’m getting better, tho. Really.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yep. The worst part of my job as an attorney was when the senior partner would saunter into my office, toss a file on the desk and say, “Oh sorry, but I forgot about this till just now. The opposition brief is due tomorrow.” [I’d smile gamely, then scream at the walls after he’d gone, and get to work. And no, I never missed a deadline in the 20 years I worked as a lawyer.]

    Okay, time to get back to those edits which are due by the end of the month…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Leslie, I’m trying to imagine you screaming at the walls! I will give that a try (or maybe throw my laptop at the wall, a la Terry the Terror), and then get back to work. Unless the laptop is dead, of course. RIP.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Lisa! Deadlines can be motivating — but unreasonable deadlines can be just demoralizing. Hugs! BTW, my mom collects clocks (has about 100 in her house). The first time my husband tried to sleep there, he said it was like trying to sleep inside a ticking time bomb!

    Liked by 1 person

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