Wednesday, June 02, 2010

June Already

It’s gotta be better than May, right? We have oil spewing in the Gulf, hurricane season has started with predictions of a repeat of the 2005 season, and we’re supposed to go live with a new system at work by the end of the month. Positives: making tweaks to the schedule, Suzanne and Eric are getting married, I think I can make the deadline for the steampunk story.

Tweaking the schedule: it is good to follow my To Do list, but chores make a lousy reason to get up in the morning. Stepcase Lifehack asks Do you have a morning ritual? and I had to answer "not really as such."

And as hard as it is for me to get up most mornings, I think I need to heed their advice and find something I want to do. This ties into my To Do List actually.

Step One: Draft a short list of the things you do each morning and what you'd like to add. I already have this list as my Daily Chores on my To Do list.

  • Exercise
  • Writing hour
  • Website Hour
  • Make bed
  • Wash dishes
  • Empty inbox
  • Empty Gmail and LiveJournal Inboxes
  • Budget
  • Weekly chores
  • Get dressed
  • Pack breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Commute
Granted, if I don't finish this list before going to work, I can finish it through the day. But out of these items I can see what I'm not crossing off consistently or what I can add.

What I'm not hitting consistently list is much shorter:

  • Exercise
  • Writing hour
  • Website Hour
  • Empty inbox
  • Budget
Too often, I'm using the weekend to catch up on what I missed during the week and skipping exercise altogether.

I got rid of the inbox by adding a “budget” and a “needs filing” folder to my box of 42 folders. The plan is to empty those every day and not keep a basket full of paperwork I just keep on my desk.

Step Two: Figure out how much time it'll realistically take to do everything on your list. This is where I think I fall down badly. I have no clear time of how long things should take in the morning, and let's face it trying to wake up doesn't help remembering how to do things.

Julie Morgenstern recommends timing yourself doing routine tasks because you probably don't know how long it really takes. When I read that advice, I realized I had no idea how long anything took to do, so I timed myself over a few days and took averages. The results:

  • Make the bed = 1 minute
  • Washing dished = 30 minutes
  • Empty folders = 23 minutes
  • Weekly chores = 45 minutes
  • Budget = 30 minutes
  • Getting dressed = 26 minutes
  • Getting food = 11 minutes
  • Exercise = 15 minutes
  • Writing = 60 minutes
  • Website = 60 minutes
  • GRAND TOTAL = 301 minutes = 5 hours 1 minute
I get up around 3:00am and try to leave the house for 5:45am. So here I was trying to squeeze five hours of stuff into less than three hours, and then beating myself up for not doing everything. This hammered home how easily I can over extend myself.

Step Three: Adjust your wake time to accommodate your new ritual. This is the fun part. My first draft had me waking up at 2:30am. I’ve tried and it doesn’t happen, so 3am is the earliest and that means 8:30pm is the latest I can go to bed. That should be a big enough window to get everything done, right? If only I didn’t have to go to the paying job.

First thing to face: I can’t have a full hour of writing in the morning and clean house. But I can have thirty minutes.

June A.M. Schedule
  • 3:00 = Wake up, Make bed, Wash dishes for 15 minutes
  • 3:16 = Exercise
  • 3:31 = Writing for 30 minutes
  • 4:01 = Get dressed
  • 4:27 = Get food
  • 4:38 = Empty folders
  • 5:01 = Weekly chores
  • 5:46 = Leave for paying job

While at the paying job, I’ll clean out email inboxes, write and work on website projects as much as I am able. The evening schedule has to have more flexibility built into it because if I work late, getting anything finished is just a dream. I’m basing it on my usually and preferred habits.

June P.M. Schedule
  • 5:00 = Arrive home, Take medicine, eat supper
  • 5:45 = Wash dishes for 15 minutes
  • 6:00 = Budget
  • 6:30 = Finish writing hour, website hour, or special project
  • 8:15 = Set stuff out for tomorrow, Get ready for bed
  • 8:30 = Go to Bed

That only thing inflexible is the bedtime and that I need to do what I have listed. If I end up running late, I can borrow time from the one hour forty-five minutes section before starting the bedtime routine.

Step Four: Go through your list each morning for at least two mornings before making adjustments. So by Friday I should know if this works or not.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

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