Quarter Hour

    As a young lawyer, I was required to keep time sheets. I had to account for every quarter hour. Long calls were billed at an eighth of an hour. Short calls were batched. My big cases billed out in the fifty, sixty-hour week, and the little stuff might have been another eight or ten. I knew exactly where my time went. And who would be billed for it. And how fast I spent it on things for which I would be made to account.

    Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

    Once, as a writer, feeling as if my work just diddled on like a plumbing problem, I tried to get a sense of the time spent, keeping track on yellow paper to mimic the time sheets of my lawyer years. Two weeks of data gathering generates a lot of information.


    It’s pretty interesting, where all those quarter hours go. I know a writer who tried this exercise and reported that she never did another piece of laundry again.


    So far, I’ve spent three: coffee, magazine, and here. And it’s only the first hour of the waking day.

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    © 2019 by Sam Madden