Posted by Steve Gulsvig on Jun 07, 2018

Is there any time of day that you dread? I had a friend who hated Sunday evenings. Not because Monday and the work week was inevitable, but because there was just a sadness that the weekend passed.

I can get through managing my time pretty well throughout the day. I can also admit that when I track the time I spend on various projects, there are obvious areas that I need to be more disciplined and focused on, rather than spending time on checking emails frequently or surfing the internet, researching, shopping, or just following rabbit trails. However, there is one time of day that I struggle with every work day. I call it my dead zone. It usually occurs around 5:00 PM. I try to shut down a lot of things I’m working on, but I feel guilty. I feel like there is still another quality hour of time that I should squeeze out of my work day. As I survey my office and my to-do lists, I feel caught in between not enough time to start something else and too much time to just waste on a knee-jerk option like going online again, consolidating my to-do lists, or other distractions.

I’ve decided to try and break this cycle. One thing I’ve discovered is that starting a project on my to-do list doesn’t mean that it has to be completed all at one time. Even if it took two, three, or more days to tackle something, it’s getting done. Another approach is to incorporate something enjoyable or something that could improve my health into that time slot. I love to play the piano, but rarely make time to do so. I need to exercise more, so taking a short walk seems reasonable. Both make sense as I write this. Yet somehow, as 5:00 PM approaches, I dread it. I freeze. I don’t do anything.

To some, this may sound ridiculous. Others might be able to relate. I’m determined to break through the dead zone and redeem that time by creating a new habit. My goal is to eventually look at the clock as it nears 5:00 PM and anticipate, not anguish, over the next hour.