Beginning September 16 and up until November 30, I'll be working two extra hours per work day. I signed up for it for two reasons. First, the extra cash would be good for Christmas. Second, I really have nothing better to do past midnight and I can't sleep until around 2 or 3am anyway, so might as well make money.

I'm trying to imagine what my schedule would be like for most of the -ber months in the light of these changes. I still have some side jobs writing and editing, and while I've sort of gotten the groove of balancing those with my current schedule, I think I'm going to have to schedule things a little tighter. Two hours, after all, are two hours.

Before I started teaching English, I'd never thought of time in parcels. In fact, I'd never wanted to. In my first job (six months at a dotcom, handling talk show websites), I only thought of time in terms of when the shows would start. In my second job as a newspaper supplements writer for The Philippine STAR (see how I still *have* to write "star" in all-caps?), I only worried about making deadlines and being on time for interviews.

When I worked in the BPO industry as a marketing writer, I was introduced to the idea of man-hours, but it didn't quite catch on because I left before I could take on a big project. At that time, the idea of knowing how long a writing job would take was bizarre.

Blame it on my creative writing background, where some stories can float around you for years, never to be captured on paper.

Now that, barring no shows or technical problems, I know exactly what I'll be doing for the most part of the work day, and I can plan ahead what to do during my precious breaks, I'm also starting to think in parcels of time. I need 8 hours to sleep to be in top condition; 45 minutes max(times 2) to take shower; 1 hour in the gym, plus 30 minutes for the quick shower; 1 focused hour daily to edit SMS comments; 1.5 hours (on Sundays and Tuesdays) to write my column; 30 minutes to finish a complete meal; and 7 minutes to walk from the jeepney stop to my building.

On the other side of the coin, that now means I don't need any single second of pointless chit-chat--which is *not* the same as exchanging pleasantries or Plurking (!) with friends and colleagues to continue feeling human. I should also stop "half-watching" television shows, especially those late night Law & Order reruns (though, boo to RPN 9 for showing mostly home TV shopping shows now). More importantly, this also means I should stop eating junk because I really don't have time to be sluggish the day after.

The beauty of this all is that I get to splurge on weekends, and while my days are scheduled tightly, I get to go on long breaks, without the baggage of pending career-making/breaking tasks, once in a while.

It's Saturday, and I have a long list of tasks to accomplish, but for today, it still kind of feels like I've got all the time in the world.

Before 10pm, when the supermarket closes, that is.