Scheduling: How to Fit It All In
Disclaimer: This post is not about stopping and smelling the roses and taking advantage of experiencing the little things out of every day. You should want to take advantage of the little things every day! But, for most people, every day is not about that. It is about productivity, chores, and goals. If you are goal oriented, then that is what is going to make you happy anyways, and no matter what, my vote is for you to do the things that make you happy! So this is about making the most of every day, with efficiency and productivity.
Back in college my favorite days used to be registration day, and syllabus day. Both involved me planning my life, and I loved it. Back in the good old days! My schedules have always been jam-packed. I just do it to myself. I guess I have a phobia of relaxing, I don’t know. In college I was full time, (with classes 6 hours a week for 3 credits… #artschool). Worked 3 jobs, cleaned the apartment every two weeks, worked out every day, and had a boyfriend. It was crazy. With every new place my schedule would change, with a long adjustment period to find what order worked to keep a sustained amount of energy to get it all done in the day. Now, I go to my day job at 8:00am, come home for lunch for 45 minutes where I do all the chores, then back to work until 5:30pm. I have to make sure I eat all the time because then I work out at 6:00 until 6:45. (I am lucky enough to have someone else cooking me dinner :)) Then doing the dishes, other chores as necessary, then paint for an hour or so and get ready for bed. I do it all. Take care of the house, paint, have a day job, and workout. I know most people don’t have the ability to always be on top of their game getting stuff done all the time… I am productive, but there is definitely a downside to doing so much all the time! Every time I sit on the couch to relax my mind is going, what could I be doing while I watch tv. For my brain, just having the tv on means relaxing, but that's not true if I am also writing a blog, putting away the laundry, and writing my to-do list for tomorrow.
This daily schedule took a while to perfect. At first, I tried waking up at 5:30 am to work out in the mornings. I don’t think I actually did work out once in the morning though, just thought I would. Then I tried painting right when I got home and working out at 8 pm. That messed up my sleep since I was working out so close to going to bed. So here are my tips for making a jam-packed and super efficient schedule!
1. Write it out.
Write down all of the things you want to do. All of them. So for me, there is a house category with all the chores, hang out with friends, hang out with my boyfriend, eat, make food, work, all the art business related things I need to do regularly, workout, long-term project, and goals, etc. Then you can start to organize where things make sense in your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule.
2. Schedule the daily things.
So eating (I always have to schedule that or I forget), going to work, working out, sleeping, getting ready for bed, daily art stuff like social media, etc. Put those in a general order on your everyday schedule. And schedule everything! I have to pencil in downtime, sleeping, eating, etc. just so I remember to do all those normal things. Remember to leave room for the weekly/every other day stuff.
3. Be flexible.
Move these tasks around until you can really picture yourself getting it all in every day. What does it feel like to wake up at 5:30 am and work out in the morning? If you are a morning person then probably great, but for me, it was not good. When do you have the most energy? What tasks do you need the most energy for? When do you have the house to yourself so you can get some stuff done without distractions? These are all factors that affect the order of your daily activities.
4. Schedule the weekly stuff.
So is mostly chores for me. Sundays we go to the store, clean the house every other week, do the laundry, take out the trash in all the other rooms, etc. Sometimes, though it is administrative art stuff too, like writing a blog, or updating the website. These can go into your free spots in your daily schedule. You might also have to rearrange some things during this stage. For me, I need a lot of energy to go around and clean the entire house. That's a mid-day activity.
5. Work toward your goals.
So now that we have the base, we can fill in the cracks with long-term projects and goals. A great example is when I have to prep a new canvas. I have about 11 steps in that process that have to be spaced out between an hour and a half to a day. So I do one Sunday night, steps 2-5 Monday, steps 6-8 Tuesday, step 9 Wednesday, steps 10-11 Thursday and step 12 Friday (if I need an extra one). Then paint a lot on the weekends. Break down your goals into smaller parts. Maybe you only have an extra hour every day. So only schedule an hours worth of stuff here and there.
6. But what if you hate it?
Break it up more. And be strategic when you schedule it. The tasks get a lot easier if you have to do something you hate that takes 5 hours but only do half an hour a day. My next blog will be about how to get the energy to stop procrastinating and actually get things you hate to do done!
7. Doing it with or without a deadline.
If you have a deadline and are breaking up the tasks because it is a longer project, make sure you give yourself at least 3 days between when you schedule yourself to be finished and when it is actually due. Even though we are scheduling down to the wire to make our lives function with peak efficiency, shit happens. One day you might not be able to do it. Give yourself that wiggle room, and if you finish early, then you're done early! It’s a win-win. Without a deadline, make one for yourself. Just make sure it is reasonable! Try breaking down the tasks first, then setting the deadline to reach the goal so that you stick with it in your mind.
8. Take time to unwind.
My "getting ready for bed" category includes yoga, meditation, and reading. This is an hour and a half affair before I have to be asleep by 11:15 to get 7.5 hours of sleep. I need to somehow get my mind to calm down from the whirlwind of the day before I try to sleep, or I am just not sleeping. Know these things about yourself too, like if you need some downtime before you sleep, or right when you wake up.
9. Leave room for spontaneous (or not) experiences.
This is why I clean the house every two weeks. If I skip a week that I am supposed to clean because I am out living life, then no big deal! Same with my blogs, I am actually writing this first draft in January, and then I have it all prepped with pictures and tags waiting for June when I will tweak it and post it. I have it scheduled to write a blog every two weeks, but if I miss one, it's fine! I still have 9 ready to go. Let yourself be able to have those vacations without needing to work or stress about something you have to get done.
10. Speaking of vacations, get it all done before you leave.
I think right before vacations are the most stressful times in my life. I really try to think of everything and get it all done before I leave. I love being able to come home to a house where everything is clean, there is no laundry (except what we are bringing home) no dishes, no trash, we can just put everything in the laundry and sit and watch tv and readjust to being back.
Sound doable? Maybe not? Think I am a freak? Well, to each their own. I have been doing this for years and I am used to it, but it is a hard adjustment for someone who isn't. If my boyfriend has to stay late for work for a couple hours he is so cranky when he gets home its crazy! Just saying.
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