Since the beginning of the calendar year, I’ve been meaning to tackle a daunting item on my to-do list: create work hours.
I have a loose schedule in place, but I want a firm one. I want to know what times were for which tasks: when do I write first drafts, when do I take photos, when do I process email?
Like so many people, lately I’ve been letting the urgent-seeming things (email) crowd out the important things (writing) and it’s exhausting me. I’ve also been a (willing) victim of technology creep, checking my phone too much and taking it places it doesn’t belong (like my nightstand).
I’ve been wanting to create structure, and build hard stops into my day, and Lent seemed like a wonderful time to do this–not for abstention, but for renewal. I used to have these two things, but they got away from me. I need them back.
Coincidentally, on the second day of Lent, I finally picked up the book I bought six weeks ago and have heard raves about: Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.
It was a serendipitous choice. The title says it all: this little book is about about building routines and regularity, about playing to your creative strengths and natural rhythms, about tapping into transitional moments and curating connections.
The book gave me the push I needed to make a plan for the next six weeks.
First, the hard stops: working backwards, I’m turning off my laptop at 9:00 p.m. I’m not taking my phone into my bedroom, and I’m definitely not using it as an alarm clock.
I’m stopping to read for a full hour during rest time. This feels so indulgent, and it is, but it’s also a huge source of renewal for me.
I’m writing first thing in the morning and I’m not checking my email before breakfast. (Quote that made me say ouch: “It’s better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing your potential for the illusion of professionalism.”)
I want to work hard, but I’m also building renewal into my days. For Lent, yes, but also because it’s just good practice, and I’m sorry I’ve put it off this long.
I highly recommend Manage Your Day to Day. It’s one I’ll definitely be reading again, and it’s just $4, or free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.
How do you do at managing your day-to-day? (And, if you’d like, are you doing anything differently for Lent?)
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quote via 99u