Needing a bit of a boost, I turned back to the chapters of the book. Chapter 5 is “Identify Your Essentials” – i.e., make a list of the most important things.
I followed the daily plan for this week: first, make a list of ALL the things in my day(s) and the stuff in my head that I’d like to be doing. Day 2 was then making a prioritised list of the top 4 or 5 – me being me, I managed to cram pretty much everything into broad categories:
- Healthfullness – feeling like I’m looking after myself as best I can, including sleep, exercise, and eating well
- Creativity – writing, cards, etc
- Geekery – learning / living up to my ‘potential’ / exploring all the things that fascinate me
- Organisation – feeling in control of my life, from menu planning to decluttering, and being on top of all those little chores
- Reading (yeah, just that one word! ;))
The following day was a comparison of the short list and reality. I was kind of pleased, actually, that my 52 Change ‘habits’ (however remiss I’ve been with them of late!) hit all of my identified priorities.
Day 4 suggested ‘getting out of something’ – delegating, or saying ‘no’. Lucky ducks who can delegate stuff, I say! However, there was one thing I could say ‘no’ to – albeit just to myself: playing silly ‘pooter games. It appeared nowhere on my list, and yet can eat chunks of the day. I need to work on this one, really, and it was quite the shock on the day I’d forbidden myself from my usual come-home-turn-the-pc-on routine to find myself feeling really lost on what to actually do!
The final day asked for a block of time scheduled for one of the ‘want to do but never make time for’ things. For me this was creativity. Alas, it also hit with a downswing in energy (darn snuffles!) so I got little more than a dabble with zentangle (blog post on that long overdue!).
That list of priorities, and paying attention to how I then spend my time, was incredibly valuable – fully recommended, and something I know I’ll want/need to repeat periodically. There are so many things I want to be doing, and yet I fritter time away on the most inane things. But the exercise also convinced me that this approach of building habits by the tiniest steps possible is the one that’ll help. Moreover, combined as it was with a period of really low energy made me look at my list afresh: it’s not always feasible for me to be doing seven different things, especially after work.
So, the approach since has been to prioritise the priorities: sleep, meditation as a foundation for everything; exercise ditto, although I’ve been struggling with that (to the point of debating my not-used-recently gym membership). It’s all a matter of figuring out what I can do in a day, and doing as much of it as I can without it being stressful or cue to a mini burnout. Getting some silly little chores taken care of – phoning for a pin reset, for instance – stops the list piling up and gives me back a sense of control.
I was almost surprised by how highly my ‘learning’ (aka geekery) goal shone through on this. I’ve been picking away at both a Microsoft Virtual Academy course (useful, if a little dry) and a much more fun CSS refresher. Both have lifted my spirits immensely, in different ways.
Creativity, on the other hand, has slipped almost entirely – isn’t that odd? I guess it’s easier for me to noodle with some more code than it is to engage the other side of my brain for writing or doodling! But it’s okay: it’s there, I’ll come back to it.
In the meantime, I know what’s important to me. Now, to remember those things, and steer myself more towards those at any given choice!