Friday, July 26, 2013

Miller Time Friday: We Need a Schedule, People!


Okay, not so much "we" as "me".

Before I went on vacation, I was realizing that i was not living up to my potential, working-from-home-wise. I had a bit of ennui about life - it was amazing how I could wile away a day and get some things accomplished, but not all that I wanted to get accomplished in any particular day.


The funny thing was that only a few short months ago I headed a massive organization with a huge budget.  I started each day in a meeting and then had back to back meetings until 6:00 p.m.  I would go home, eat with my family, and then work again for several hours.  I was BUSY.


But sometimes now I feel just as busy?

How come?

Well, I am doing stuff around the house I never got to before or didn't get to enough.

I am writing.

I am gardening.

I am watching the world around me.

I am puttering.

I am happy.

I am practising Dolce far niente, which is Italian for "the sweetness of doing nothing" - remember that term from Eat, Pray, Love?  I forgot about that till I I reread about the term in this wonderful post from the blog Be More with Less.  I stumbled upon this blog and find it very interesting and helpful!

But the thing is, I need to work again this fall, at least part-time.  50 is WAY too young to be retired and until I become a successful authoress like Henrietta Stackpole, I need some additional income :-).

So I decided a needed a plan.  A schedule.  Meetings.  Okay - the meetings are with myself, but they are very civilized:

Me: Wendy, it appears you have done a lovely job making risotta.  And good job with the writing this morning.

Me: Why thank you, not everyone loved it, like I thought they would.  Too many vegetables, I guess.

Me: And Good job reading that book on effective writing techniques.

Me: It was a bit of a tough go, but I really think I broke its back when we got into dangling participles...

Me: Well done!  Surely someone is drinking wine somewhere in the world...

and thus, the days can pass, like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of my life...



But not now.  Now I have a SCHEDULE.

I get up at 6:30 (or earlier).

I am limiting my internet time.

I have dedicated time for reading and writing.

I have dedicated time for exercising.

I have dedicated time for meditating (OM)

I have dedicated time for cleaning/running errands.

I think that this will help when I do go back to doing some kind of work.  Or I tell myself it will.

Maybe I had to completely eschew a schedule as part of my decompression from my former life?  Now I crave a schedule.  It is fun to be accomplishing things again in an orderly fashion.  Maybe I am a creature of habit, a product of all of those years when I had somewhere to be at a certain time.

But I still leave a little time for fun.  And watching the world go by.  And I am still certain it is happy hour somewhere...I have embraced Dolce far niente and I am not going back to the old ways.  There are too many flowers to smell, books to read, cups of coffee with friends to be drunk.

Anyone else back on a schedule?  Anyone else with good advice on these transitions?

And thinking of planning, summer is the perfect time to host an outdoor cocktail party.  To aid your planning of such an event, am sharing a link to Martha Stewart's Cocktail Party Planner.

It's all there folks, including patterns for making your own drink parasols!  Really, could we ask for anything more?  This has inspired me to host my own cocktail party.  I just need to pencil that in....

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

33 comments:

  1. I'll pencil your party into my planner, if I may. Your organizational skills make me feel like a sloth. Great going!!

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    1. Jennifer - come for sure! no great organizational skills here until this week, BUT, thanks to having a schedule, I have actually gotten my walks in, my yoga done, my meditation and writing, so it is all good! Of course that was preceded by 6 months of being all willy-nilly....

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  2. We love a schedule, even when we go on holiday, we partition the hours of the days, it makes me feel safe to start the day with my list and tick it as the day progresses, even if it says things like re roll socks in sock drawer. That said I do envy easy laid back people who just drift in and out of each day.

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    1. You know, I don't think I knew this about you! I am back to making lists and trying to get things done. I have gotten more accomplished this week then the whole past month! Quite shocking!! Today it is pouring rain, so it will be groceries and writing time!

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  3. I wouldn't say I have a schedule by hour, more like day of the week. Mondays and Thursdays I work in the office, Tuesdays I make appointments if needed and run errands. Wednesday is my play day...whatever I want to do. Friday is a toss up but more and more I am having to work, which is actually a good thing. I eat breakfast every morning at 6:30AM and walk the dogs at 7:30AM with running, weights, and now The Squat Challenge (this is Emily's doing...my ass hurts) thrown in afterwards. If I do not exercise first thing it will not get done. I am usually done with my day by 3 so I can lounge, read, nap, rest up before preparing dinner. I accept that I am basically a slug come the afternoon.

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    1. Hi BB - I am finding doing the exercise first thing in the morning is the way to go, as later in the day it is too hot! In my old life, I had to do it in the evening, as I couldn't get it all in before leaving for work at 7:30. The squat challenge scares me - and Emily seemed like such a nice girl.. I have always hated squats - could that be part of the reason why I have no ass??

      you also live in a place that is warm, year-round - are most people laying low in the late afternoon or is that just me reading Gone with the Wind one too many times?

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  4. Good idea on the schedule! I agree about the exercising, first thing in the morning is a must, or at least before 10. After that I'm too tired. Speaking of tired I find that if I don't sleep enough I can't get my lists done no matter what. Today I was up at 4:30 after being kept awake half the night by a "sleeplessover", 11 year old girls sure are chatty. Then a certain MrBP was up by 4:30 and making a racket, I'm quite irritated... I'd better go do some Classical Distress!!

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    1. Well I kicked the snorer out at some point and then things went swimmingly, though I have overslept and am a little behind schedule-wise this a.m.! The sleepover thing is fun for them, less so for us!!! Good luck on the classical distress - I am back into yoga and feel like my body is the equivalent of a wooden block!!

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  5. Oh god I am terrible at schedules, although very disciplined about getting up and yoga. I get up early, work, come home, process children then go to yoga or Pilates. Then repeat. It's a bit monotonous, but it's the only way no to descend into chaos. Perhaps with more of a schedule I'd achieve more, but at this stage I don't really want to do more.....
    Work takes up far too much time. Without it I'd be far more productive.

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    1. Ruth - I hear you - work is a time sucker... :-)

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    2. Without work, I would reach my true potential!! But seriously, work is just so wrong. Nietzsche had it right. 4 hours a day is ample time for work. The rest of the day is much better spend in contemplation and self reflection!

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  6. TIME OUT Well, I'm back on a schedule in a big way the last four and playing catch-up this morning. I am a bit like BBs weekdays, in that I make lists either on paper or Todoist and include a category for fun, or accomplishment that only matters to me. Use these checkboxes as "rewards," incentive once I have ploughed through the dread and dull items. And sometimes while it grits my teeth to have things time slotted outside the office, I do love the sense of accomplishment that comes from the tick marks.

    Cocktail par-tay, I'll be right over.

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    1. Me too, for the cocktails!!

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    2. There is something about a tick mark. And a cocktail...

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  7. I retired fairly early as well - I was a high school teacher, so for 30 years my life was strictly scheduled and run by bells. One of the things I enjoyed the most in the early days of 'funemployment' was not paying any attention to time, being completely schedule-less, and revelling in the freedom of being outside to enjoy a beautiful sunny morning or afternoon 'playing in the garden' as one of my friends calls it. I really avoided anything that was a regular commitment - i.e. every Tuesday at 10 sort of thing. I signed up for lots of volunteer work, but all of the short-term variety. My philosophy instead was to try to do something fun, something useful, and something healthy every day, and that worked well for the first few years. Just recently, having accomplished a lot of the things I wanted to do when I first retired, I have once again started to feel the need for more structure and organization (and also for the same reasons you describe, Wendy) so have joined a gym which I now attend on a regular weekly schedule. I still like the idea that I am free to take advantage of any last minute opportunities which come up, though, and I do!

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    1. Lily - I hear you! I felt the exact same way! I think the key is to schedule, but not worry if you break the schedule! You only have to face yourself in the boardroom or classroom, so it is so much easier!

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  8. I am also quite regimented, fueled by lists and happy when things get ticked. Your schedule looks very good and balanced. I imagine when you hit the big time and publishers are asking for a book or two a year, it will be writing 8 to 5. So enjoy it while you can. BTW, I downloaded the shortlist for the Women's Fiction Prize this year to read on vacation and let me say it is a very solid line-up if you are looking for things to read (AM Homes, Hilary Mantel, Maria Semple and Zadie Smith). Curious to see how May We Be Forgiven can win over Life After Life and Bring Up the Bodies but I quite liked it actually.

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    1. I am back into Life After Life - got sidetracked by a bunch of other books and for some reason, it didn't grab me quite as much as the others by her, but it might have been the mood I was in! I am still working my way through Hilary's first book - got to dig that out. I started it when I was still working 80 hours a week and realized I haven't finished it! Thanks for the recommendations!

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  9. WMM, I hear you on the "just as busy as when I had a 14 hr. a day job," how does that happen? Where does the time go? I also want to get back to working and responsibility, shaping the young minds of the world through my "brilliant" academic work may not suffice ;-) Oddly enough, the less I do, the more tired I am!

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    1. AB - I think you hit the nail on the head - I think we need a bit of structure and purpose to be productive. For me, the pendulum was so far into "overwork" that when it swung back, it swung too far. Now I think it is slowly righting itself!

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  10. Good luck with you next venture WMM. I find that it is hard to ever stop working when you work from home. It is really never part time. Pattern for parasols,you say- off to find them!

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    1. Oh let me know if you make them - I am too lazy - I always buy the parasols!

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  11. Boy, can I relate to this!! I 'retired' almost 4 years ago. I'd have thought all those projects I wanted to get to around the house would be finished by now. Truth is, they are never ending! I had to do the same thing. I could waste the day away in no time. It is just the last several months that I had that wake up moment that told me to get ORGANIZED! And we are FINALLY getting our kitchen re-done! That's been on the burner for several years. PS Thank you for all the Paris/France info. We had a fabulous trip! Those 2 weeks are still living in me.

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    1. Oh Suzy! Please email me offline - sydforry@hotmail.com - would love to hear all about it!

      Funny - I just don't know how I used to get it all done! Of course, a lot of things we didn't get done.

      I have to say, apart from the marked lack of stress and the ability to finally have the time to write, my greatest joy has been reading! I am a reading fool now! All I really read for the last 8 years in particular were briefing notes, reports and emails. This is such a treat!

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  12. Oh, i can so relate... I had this time off the last few months and it has been great but i could not get anything done, never knew where the time went. I am back to work next week and although i dread not having time to just drift thru the day it will be good for me and i know i will het much more done. I just crave structure.

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    1. HI AJC - I know what you mean - the structure gives us the backbone for the rest of our lives doesn't it? I am so happy that you have found this great new place to work - so exciting!!!

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  13. WMM, thinking again about my writer friend, she is the most organized person I know. We used to be roommates in university. She was the one with the list of items to do that would get checked off as they were completed. Me, not so much. I am more of a pressure-prompted person (I used to call myself a procrastinator, but assessments call me the former, and I am not going to argue with those, since it sounds better). That means I work best with a deadline in mind. I 'percolate' the project in my mind until it's time to put it down on paper (computer) and then go at it.

    So I think it's best to find out what kind of personality you are and work with that, and not beat yourself up if you are not the 'checklist' type.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Rose - I think you are absolutely right - for me, having some kind of a schedule forces me to do things. For others, it is a lodestone around their neck! I think we all have to find the best way to get things done that works for us!

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  14. I don't have a particular schedule any more after years of to -the-minute life. And like you, I am enjoying it NO END! I always make lists, though, and manage to accomplish quite a lot. I wish I were a morning exerciser but too much morning stiffness. My 4x6 index card goes with me wherever with a column for market, one for short things ( like making appts, calls), house tasks, and a whole side for longer projects/ideas. I roll it over to a new card every week

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    1. Hey Lane - I am just now getting to the lists - for a long time I even shied away from list-making. But then I was worried i was going to wake up at 90 without having written my opus! I like the index card thing - did that start out as a medical thing?

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    2. Yes, in the old days of many patients in hospital, we would have a card for each one in our lab coats. Now it's all on computer and easier to keep track of.

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  15. I tried this approach pre-baby and it didn't work for me at all. I think if I had set an alarm on my phone, that might've helped. Otherwise, the time windows still get mangled when I get into the thick of a task. Have a good weekend, Wendy :)

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    1. Hey Gigi - I hear you - mine is set up in my computer and rudely reminds me that I have things to do!!!

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Kindness is a virtue...