Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time, Time, Time…

See what’s become of me

Several weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with things going on and things needing to be done I was stressed beyond belief. But I muddled through it all, as we all do. Then I went on vacation, letting all of that stress go. One of my goals upon my return was to not allow myself to get so crazed – to plan less and plan for more downtime.

I have been successful. Maybe a little too successful. In the few weeks since my return from vacation, I have allowed myself more downtime then I have in a long time. I have some things planned, but not many. I’ve been very choosey in what I do plan. In fact, the only thing I have “planned” for this weekend is a pedicure. This turns out to be a good thing. I have been neglecting so many things in favor of downtime that now I am behind in many areas. I have been catching up with many things but I’m not forcing the issue. If only a small part of something big gets completed, then that’s good enough.

One of the things I have been working on is to not be on the computer so much, especially at night during the week. The computer is my downfall; it’s what keeps me from going to bed at a decent hour, which results in my inability to get up in the morning, which makes me forgo my exercise routine and makes me late for just about everything. And because I have been ignoring the computer, I have been ignoring all of the blogs and posts and just about everything Filofax. That is to say, I’ve been reading everything but haven’t been commenting on anything. I figured I’d get to it when I had the chance. But as it turns out, the only chance I got all week was today (Saturday), and by now there’s so much to go through that I have to spend a good chunk of the day going through it all, commenting on all the things I’ve been meaning to comment on. When I have something to say in response to what someone else has written, I email it to myself, flagging it as something that needs a follow up, something that needs to be done. Today, I had a few that were posted so many days ago that I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say or why I had them flagged to begin with. This is not good. I feel like I’m neglecting my Filofax community, and we can’t let that happen! I very much like being a part of this community and I don’t want my involvement to wane too much or get too far behind.

So the question is: Do I respond to items the day they appear, even though I’m breaking my own rule to not turn the computer on at night, or do I leave everything for the weekend to sort through? It seems the lesser of the two evils is to respond the day that something appears, or as close to it as possible. If I don’t, there’s really no need for me to flag something for follow up – by the time I get to it, I won’t remember what I wanted to say and will just end up deleting it from my to-do list. Plus, there would be those times when my weekends are too busy to spend the time going through that to-do list. I just have to remember to keep my evening computer time to a minimum so as not to disrupt my other tasks (like going to bed early and so on).

The other side of my promise to myself is working well. My lesser planned weekends have allowed me to feel more like I had an actual weekend. When I was bouncing from one thing to the next, I never felt rested or relaxed. My weekends were pointless in that regard. I might as well have been working that entire time for the lack of rest I was getting. And when Monday did roll around, I had felt like I never left work. The weekends seem just a little bit longer now that I have more time. Now, when I go back to work on Mondays, I feel like I really enjoyed my time, like I had time. I feel more grounded and less stressed. And that makes for a happier, more productive me, both at home and at work.

This is one of those cases where my planner is both a help and a hindrance. When someone wants to schedule something and I see an empty space, I feel the need to fill it, or at least to accept when someone asks something of me during a time that is not marked for something else. I have an issue with saying no. I want to do things, I have the time to do things, but in the end, doing too many things stresses me out. And it’s time I put myself above doing those things, above the fear that I’ll miss out on something if I don’t accept those plans.

I have planned to not plan anything during a few weekends. I have actually marked those weekends in my planner, putting a slash mark through the days (Don’t plan anything!). It’s a big red flag to me to keep the weekend for myself as much as possible. Some things we cannot avoid, so it’s all depending on what I can truly get away with not doing.

Imagine! My planner can actually be used to plan to ignore plans as well as to make plans.

Who knew?

5 comments:

  1. I know where you are coming from... when I worked I found that working on the computer at work and then at home would take up so much of my day. At work I couldn't access my home email, so I would come home to a mountain of email!!

    Another killer for me is the number of different email addresses I have, each one is for a different part of my complicated life. I have my own personal email account, but then I have others for other aspects of life (Philofaxy, Amateur Radio, RSGB licensing, and others!) Of course each one has email coming in to it..

    Having many interests leads you in to website overload with trying to keep up to date on everything, I have had to drop some now, because I just don't have the time to keep fully up to date with them.

    Twitter... another big time swallower.. .I no longer attempt to keep up to date with all the tweets since I last looked in!! I go back a couple of hours may be. Or selectively look at the people that interest me most, the Philofaxy list is a great help on that score.

    One other improvement since I stopped work is I'm now getting more deep sleep, which I think helps me do more during the day, I'm not half a sleep during the day, so I'm achieving more. I keep my pocket Filofax at the side of the bed to jot down things to remember to do just before I go to sleep and I find that helps too. I've recorded it, now I can forget it and have a good nights sleep.

    It's good to review your activities from time to time and then improve on things. Have a bonne weekend

    Steve

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  2. Steve, I too have several email accounts, but with Gmail, I have everything sent to one address. I can then reply from one account using different user IDs. I find this helps - now I only check one email account.

    My Google reader, well about 90% of the things I subscribe to get ignored or dumped from time to time. But I like keeping the subscriptions just in case I want to look at it one day when I have the time. I always look at the Philofaxy stuff though. Same with Twitter. Now that I have lists going I can look at the items I want to look at and check out the rest when/if I have time. There's so much out there that it's overwhelming half the time. But sorting through it had made it easier.

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  3. I have all of my email set up as IMAP accounts via Gmail with one exception which is a shared POP account, these all come in to Thunderbird (email client) on which ever machine/operating system I'm using, I use Mac, Windows and Linux on a daily basis! So I've got the multiple accounts more or less under control!

    For reading news and RSS feeds I've been using Protopage.com for several years now. It is very flexible and you can set it so that once you have read a story or blog post then that entry disappears, so it's very easy to use.

    Protopage is free to use and you can access it from any machine on the internet... so I have all my book marks, rss feeds, Google Calendar, blog feeds all set up in this. Different tabs for different topics. So I have a Filofax tab and this has all my links and blogs in that tab. I have a radio tab, a weather tab etc etc.

    Once set up it's very powerful because you can access all your links where ever you are, even if you aren't on your own machine. So I rarely bookmark things in the browser these days, it all goes in to Protopage http://www.protopage.com/

    Give it a try.
    Steve

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  4. That Protopage sounds interesting - it seems to do much of the same that Google does but I'll take at look at it as well. Thanks!

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  5. The main difference is you can vary the size of things in the windows on each page. You can go for a fixed number of columns or free positioning. I used to use Google as well. But it seemed quite restrictive at times, not looked at it in ages.

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