Stop trying to do everything!

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…and in the process, maybe get more done!

So it’s Friday, and I’m amusing myself writing out my to do list for the weekend. All week my time belongs to work, sleeping and eating, with few precious hours to devote to anything more diverse; even few hours when I’m not too tired to do what has to be done (studying!) let alone what I’d like to be doing! So here comes these two fabulous days where all those not-working hours are suddenly mine to do with as I please – what should I fill them with? Well, studying – I have a pile of catching up to do from the week’s too-tired evenings after all! But then: oooh, everything else! Crafts and cooking and shopping and exercising and reading and writing and reviewing and viewing and…

Hmm, yeah: I’m sure we can all see why more often than not I finish a weekend with a disappointed sense of non-productivity. Simply put: I try to squeeze in everything, and as a result accomplish very little.

Inspired by a couple of other blog entries I’ve read recently (and always good to know I’m not alone!), my new plan is to stop planning – well, stop planning so much, anyway! In fact, let’s narrow it down to just 2 things: something that has to be done, and something I *want* to do (‘cos I’m awful at allowing myself time to actually pursue enjoyment – and that’s a soul-sucking way to live, quite frankly!).

This weekend, then, my ‘has to be done’ is oodles of work on those assignments – that was always the plan, so it’s not such an awful prospect. Will be good to get them out of the way, to be honest. To that end, and to fight my paralysing perfectionism, approach will be very much quantity over quality: get as much as possible on paper and I’ll tidy it up later. Honest self, that’ll work for me!

Then the rest of the time is for fun!! I’m not going to count the stuff I seem to build into my days without too much effort: I can and will read regardless of scheduling, and likewise catching up on some of the week’s TV or even a movie – it’s passive, it’ll happen when I’m too tired to do anything else. An active pursuit, then – and I pick creativity! I’ve got a book on learning to draw from the library, and I’ve got the long-standing urge to pick this skill back up again. Hard to believe I once considered art college!! O_o If my creative pursuits veer into card-making this weekend, I’m cool with that, too!

Actually, this one-must/one-want to approach isn’t limited to weekends. Until my half-career as a part-time professional student is over, I’m not going to have the luxury of it being must = work then the evening to devote to myself. However, what I can do is split the day in two: the evenings become must = study plus a ‘want’ task. Daytimes I’ve actually been using this approach for years without being aware of it: yes, I have to be at work, but it’s easier if I throw some random fun into the day – usually hitting a pre-selected shop at lunchtime.

This type of segmentation of my time is a first step to fitting in everything I want to be doing in my time – but as with building any habit, trying to pick up everything at once is a route to overwhelm and failure. so let’s start with a split into two ‘periods’ (as per my school timetable!) and work up from there 🙂

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