New Routines

18 07 2010

Establishing a new routine from scratch

I am a planner and I love having a routine. It makes me feel safe and I’m much more productive when I have a set time to do things. My day may not always work out according to plan-in fact, it seldom does-but I have to have the reassurance of thinking ahead of what I’m doing on any particular day. That doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous, I just tend to schedule the times when I can be spontaneous-I hope you enjoy the irony that is the soundtrack of my life.

Several months ago, I read Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, which was a really helpful book, by the way. Writing down every chunk of one’s time was a tip she put forward and I found it interesting that there were several chunks of time that were left specifically vague. These would be times put aside in a busy schedule to just hang out with the family, go see a movie, do whatever. Other times were more specific. A work day was broken down into various phases: writing here for a few hours, answering emails for an hour, a lunch break, meetings for an hour, reading ahead for an hour, etc.

The problem now, however, with this move now finally behind us is that I find myself trying to establish a routine all over again in a vacuum of much to do. I’m purposely not giving myself “time to adjust” as one might call it and there’s a reason for that. If I did, I fear that I’d settle into a do-nothing routine and a month or two might roll by without my realizing it. Nope, I’m dead-set on being proactive and getting things rolling, but it’s a process of figuring out which tasks need doing when and when the best time is to be leisurely.

Things to plan include:

  • Time to exercise
  • Time to work on the never-ending dissertation
  • Time to hunt for jobs
  • Time to dig up work for my baby freelancing business
  • Time to write
  • Time to hang out with the family, watch movies
  • Time to shop and cook
  • Time to just chill, listen to music, play computer games
  • Time for reading
  • Time to sleep (which is a touchy one, because I never know which nights I’ll sleep like a baby and which I’ll have insomnia)
  • Time to every purpose under heaven. You get the idea.

One of the best suggestions that Julie Morgenstern makes is to follow your own body’s cues. I write my best in the early morning, as that’s the time I’m most active both mentally and physically. So that’s when I’ll likely do most of my writing. Workouts come after that, then lunch and some job hunting followed by reading and then the evening plans. It sounds comfy, but there are always kinks to be worked out.

The only thing right now is that I’m not sure how it will all fit into the harmony of the household at large. But this time, unlike I did in State College, I’m making a conscious decision that my schedule isn’t going to be subject to everyone else’s to the degree that it was, such that anytime anything out of the usual occurred (which is pretty much every day), it was always my plans that took it on the chin.

I do realize that my schedule is always going to be more “nebulous.” My work when I’m writing is fairly invisible and occurs at strange times. I envy people who have a set place and time they have to be to work every day, because that just seems much more straightforward and easy to appreciate and respect.

Side note, I had a great idea for a short-story (horror, zombie fiction, yay! fun!) and a new idea that adapts an old idea that I had a while back about a novel. I’d like to invest some real time into both of these in the next month or two.

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2 08 2010
Keeping Busy « Pew Pew Crash Crash

[…] When I laid out my completely too organized for a guy without a “real” job schedule in one of my first posts on this blog, it really boils down to not losing time. I always worry about wasting time and I […]

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