In my last article, I quickly introduced the ground for the 4 techniques that are currently saving my brain to go berserk:
- Loose time management
- Time consciousness
- Regular physical activity
- Mindfulness meditation
The first point of this sequence of articles is about the easiest way I found to manage MY time.
And to not waste YOUR time, I am going to make it short and clear: I have a daily plan with some variations according to the day of the week. And this plan is just a guideline.
This plan is actually to remind me what would be useful to do at a particular time of the day. Of course there are some activities that cannot be let undone, like getting kids from school, but most activities can be swapped between each others and even missed out completely during the day. The point is to not stress about it, and to keep in mind what is important and what is not. This is what worked for me and it was crucial to get it to work! Get your balance right, don’t follow blindly a tight schedule if you struggle to do it, re-assess what is happening in reality and why you are not happy. Keep your priority right!
Getting kids from school is important, doing the washing-up in the evening is not an absolute priority. It could be skipped if there has been a late dinner with long then some long bed time stories, some children not wanting to go to bed, because then if it is already late and I want to get on with the ‘Wednesday suggested activity’ like writing in my blog and if there is a reasonable amount of dishes to clean, I can leave it for the following morning, or better I can start it and finish it later. Most sort of ‘house keeping’ websites would not tell you that at all… They would tell you to absolutely ‘Shine your sink’ before going to sleep, to be able to sleep well… Well, actually not for me, and maybe this is why I have struggled to find my balance up to now. What is important is to keep in mind that the world is not likely to stop tomorrow if you still have a few dirty plates and dishes in the sink. And anyway I realised that after working with that concept of ‘loose time plan’, I actually naturally get closer and closer to it and it is in fact very rare that I leave the washing-up for the morning. But I also rarely been able to shine my sink in the evening!
I have been trying to have a time schedule for a while, I tried many different ways and I have never been able to follow any. I recently realised that it was indeed because I thought that I had to follow those plans strictly. It was as sense of constant urgency. And the actual goal of it was to have things done and was not to be happy. This is the one idea that have changed my vision of time: time is not my enemy! Permaculture thinking helped me a lot with realising that! Of course there are situation where urgency kicks in, especially at work, and I remember well suffering from that constant feeling of being running after a rabbit on the edge of a cliff when dead lines after dead lines, emails after emails, issues and bugs, self-inflicted pressure, pressure inflicted by others in any ways, all of these things flushing my positivity down the sink with strong un-eco-friendly detergent… My rating could be hurt, my reputation could have been, and the cycle would go down and down. Using the same ‘loose time plan’ strategy can seems dangerous but I am sure I would have fell more happy at work if only I was not mind formatted at that time.
Back to the method I am practising: I did draft a first Weekly plan with a theme for each day:
Monday is money and papers,
Tuesday is Transition Town and Permaculture day,
Wednesday is blog day ( as you know already…),
etc… (don’t worry you will know everything…).
I then worked out what is a typical day, and what is the most logic sequence of actions during the day.
Then progressively I have been adding new suggestions for the day’s activity on a spreadsheet, then put formulas to check what is the ‘activity’ of the day (like ‘blog’ or ‘garden’…). I also changed some time frame to get it more accurate with my actual days as they turns when I follow suggestions from that spreadsheet!
So I have a daily schedule displayed on a spreadsheet, which is the same for every day of the week. I even display it during the week-end as well, although it says ‘school run’. To be honest during the week I barely look at it. My children like telling me what I should be doing. And interestingly they like having a similar plan. So I made them a daily plan as well, they love watching it because when you click it changes the time and if there is a new action/activity it displays it…
One tip is to separate things you have to do in small steps, as small as you can! I have an old car that is sitting in front of my house,that is meant to got to the scrap ward,I only need to call someone to pick-it up. But I want to take some parts from it… And therefore I have written a list of things to do like take the fuse off, take the speakers off, find that guy’s number who buy motors…
And I am ticking off all these steps one after other, even if I can only do one of these steps in a month, I still see progress! (I have ‘cars’ in my plan on Mondays…).
Now it’s late and my plan is suggesting ‘Zzzzzz’ so I will follow that suggestion. You can find on my other website a tutorial and the final libreoffice document for a time schedule here.