Puttering around this summer

I find myself puttering around this summer. Not sure if I like it? It seemed a waste of time at first, yet, lately I am seeing its value. I have never thought of myself as a putterer. My father can spend endless hours out in his shed or garage puttering. We have a neighbour who loves to putter around his yard. He often stands in front of his shed just staring into it. Why? We have no idea.

What is puttering?

Merriam-Webster defines putter as to move or act aimlessly or idly or to work at random. How can that be productive? (It definitely describes our neighbour.) Cambridge English dictionary defines putter as to do things in a relaxed way, without rushing or trying very hard. Now this is more like it! No one has ever accused me of moving too fast‚Ķ ūüėČ

Procrastinator meets putterer

I am used to having a fairly full schedule. The busier I am, the more productive I am. As a procrastinator I work best with tight deadlines. Not very often am I stressed as I move from event to event. On occasion I feel pressure if my schedule is too tight to allow for administrative work. As a result, I step back to build in more downtime between future events to catch up.

In project management we talk about Parkinson’s Law. Essentially it says the work will fit the time allotted. In other words, if you have very little time, you will squeeze in the effort to complete the work. Conversely, if you have lots of time, the work you could do in a few hours, you will take days to complete. At first puttering seemed like too much of the second scenario. Without a deadline, I felt I was fulfilling Merriam-Webster’s definition. Acting aimlessly, idly, and at random. All of it. However, lately I feel like I am shifting closer to Cambridge’s definition.

Accomplishing something while puttering

During the past few weeks, I have accomplished more than I initially realized. Those little projects that were nice to do, not had to do, you know? The projects with no deadlines. Something I have wanted to do for the past year was review my passwords online. In a very relaxed, almost lazy way, I have started reviewing them and changing them to much stronger passwords. I have cleaned out files, both in my desk and online. My quiet time has allowed for some analysis. A new account with MERX has opened up the possibility of contracts outside my province.

My personal interests have also benefited from my puttering. As Chairperson of the Pasadena Heritage Society ‚Äď NL, I have been scanning historical documents for preservation. I have cleaned up our computer files to make more sense. We offered heritage events during our community‚Äôs recent Come Home Year celebrations.

Another passion of mine is researching my family tree. With some time to spare I have been conducting online research. Again, in a very relaxing, no pressure, fun way!

In an interesting twist, I deleted two games off my phone I was absolutely addicted to. What is that saying… idle hands makes room for devil’s work? Without any pressure or deadlines, it would be extremely easy for me to fall into mindlessly playing games all day. In the first week of them being removed I was shocked my screen time on my phone dropped by 46%!

What will September bring?

My calendar already has several events scheduled in September. I expect it to resume where June left off. Two proposals for fairly large contracts are out in the world awaiting review. If they come to fruition, I will be quite busy until December. Knowing myself as I do, I know I will be very happy to be working at a faster pace than I have been the past month.

In the meantime, I am embracing the puttering around time I have been given. Consequently, I have blocked out some days in my calendar until December to create this space again. Until then, I will continue enjoying puttering around this month. Enjoy the rest of the summer! ~ Carole

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