About Time

 

Union Terminal Time

Union Terminal, Cincinnati, Ohio

 

The time has come to brush up on my scheduling. I’m an inconsistent scheduler–resistant and yes, a bit lazy. I’ll set goals and forget what they were the next day. Two weeks in a row I’ll neatly and colorfully lay out my bullet journal, only to forget to consult it. Or I’ll consult it faithfully for a week and then…forget. I do have years’ and years’ worth of family calendars. They were critical when I had two children at home who had very different schedules and appointments. And I do still have a write-on calendar where I write down appointments.

For years now I’ve nagged my teenage son to use a planner, and he has resisted it since third grade with admirable stubbornness. Given that he hasn’t listened to me for 10 YEARS, I should probably give up. Let’s say I nagged him about using a planner for 15 minutes per week, which is probably on the low end…that’s 7,650 minutes spent nagging him to do something he did maybe 10% of the time (Figured at 51 weeks per year–a week off for Christmas). That’s 127.5 hours. About 5.3 days. Over 5 solid days of nagging, encouraging, agitating about something that he still doesn’t do. While I do admire his stubbornness, I also admire my tenacity. But I also identify with that stubbornness. I could lay a lot of the blame on our individual cases of ADHD. Except there are many, many ADHD-ers who have adapted to scheduling things. If I did I would feel like it was an excuse. I shudder to think about how much time I have misspent because I forgot appointments or commitments. (And also what I could have done with that extra 5.3 days–and let’s not even think about all the time I spent fussing at him about personal hygiene!

After much study over, say, the last three years, I’ve learned that the most successful, fulfilled people in the world have significant structure in their lives that includes mindful habits and personal discipline. I can be disciplined for a while–particularly when it comes to individual projects–but then I finish and get all squishy and lumpish until the next project arrives. Down time is important, but ramping up again is challenging.

I love to read blogs on sites like mindbodygreen.com and Tiny Buddha. They’re full of truly inspirational stories about how someone has conquered their bad habits when it comes to time management, eating disorders, marriages or relationships, self-care, self-doubt and self-blame, deepening their spirituality or their desire to be kind, thriftier, or healthier. The list is endless and varied, and I have learned so very much from them over the past few years. The pieces are often formulaic: How the author is/used to be, how their life was unhappy and unfulfilling, what happened to cause them to want something different, how they overcame their habit or situation, then the steps the reader can use, too, to get results. Oh, how I want to write one of those blogs someday about how I got my shit together and achieved major goals so I can teach other people how to do it, too! In fact, I’d love to do it right here on my own blog.

My major goal? Get the heck out of my own way and be more productive in my writing, and to have relaxed, meaningful down time. The blog I want to write for you is how I did it, so that if you have changes you want to make, I can help you. But everyone needs to start somewhere. I started here talking about scheduling, and that’s an important part of getting out of my own way. Except any schedule I make often falls apart when I get exhausted.

I think Mondays are going to be habit check-in days. The first baby step toward change I’m going to make is in my sleep habits. Lights out no later than midnight for 8+ possible hours of sleep. It should be a good anchor to hang other new habits on.

Rule of thumb for creating new habits is 21 days. I’m with FlyLady, who says it takes 28 days for those of us who aren’t “born organized.” That would definitely be me.

Is there a habit change you want to make? Join me and start today–or tomorrow, or whenever!

 

5 thoughts on “About Time”

  1. Priscilla says:

    It sounds like you’re being hard on yourself.:-(

    The first time I tried using an engagement calendar years ago, it didn’t work. I’ve learned since then to keep it out and open all the time. Makes it super easy to check-in. I have VERY few things on the kitchen counter, but my calendar is one of them.

    Let’s see, a habit change I’d like to make. Well, I’m trying to simplify my life so I can concentrate more on writing and less on fluff. (Fun fluff is okay, though. Fun stays.) I think it means I gotta quit saying “yes” out of habit to people and start thinking, Do I have time for that? before answering!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      You are so nice, Priscilla. I hear a lot that I’m too hard on myself. Sometimes I do dive deep into motivations rather than deal directly with the subject at hand. My boss can be kind of a bitch. 😉

      I immediately followed your example and opened my bullet journal and put it on the island in the kitchen.

      What a pertinent habit change. I’ve become fond of the phrase, “Let me check my schedule, and I’ll get back to you!”

  2. skyecaitlin says:

    Laura, when I read this I nearly fell off the chair: Your schedule, and your accomplishments in the home, on the blog and writing your books ( as well as taking pictures, walking the dogs and being with your family) is more than amazing. You should write a book at how you manage to do all!!!

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      You’re so sweet, Skye. Love it– What a great idea for a book. Pitch: Life of a Crazy, Middle-Age ADHD Writer Chick Who Really Should Sleep More

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