Thursday, January 20, 2011

an idea of a schedule.

So here I am striving for increased productivity, making more healthful choices, getting my arse to the gym. And I'm *also* feeling like I don't have the time to commit myself to those lofty goals (they've felt lofty, anyhow).

My bus commute is, no joke, 3 hours every day. By which I mean that from the time I leave my home to the time my butt is in my seat at work, an hour-and-a-half has passed. And then that hour-and-a-half passes again when I head home. Three hours! To be honest, I don't mind the time. If I worked next door to my apartment, I don't suspect that I'd be compelled to make better use of those three hours than I do now. With this commute, I rack up about 2 miles of walking, and almost two hours of reading on the bus. Reading! I've started reading again. On my phone. For free (yay Google eBookstore!).

So that's pretty awesome. But put a three hour commute together with a mentally challenging job, and I have been writing off my free time as me time.

And while I *do* feel repose is healthy and necessary, I'm not sure I need quite so much of it. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if I adjust my schedule ever so slightly to include, say, exercise, the extra energy would get me doing more with those quiet moments.

So here I am wondering how the heck I'm going to fit more into my day, when someone suggests I simply sit down, write out my schedule and make it happen. They even throw out Google Calendar, which they may or may not have known is secret code for "Lindsay is about to make a date with her lover ... her lover named Google."

So here, quite simply rendered, is a sketch of my day, via Google:

It's bare, but I did that on purpose. See, I've finally come to know this thing about myself: The more I get wrapped up in the minutiae of a plan, the less likely I am to follow through. I don't know if it's that I expend all my energy on working out details (for something that would mostly likely be best served with a little trial and error), or if it's that I build up this huge idea that then looms over me like a guilt-cloud ready to burst. Whatever the reason, I need to change my approach.

So here is this simple calendar. The briefest outline.

Not to say I haven't thought how it might play out in fine detail. And not to say I'm not willing to share a theory, or a dream. ...

5am-7am: ymca (go!go!go!)
This'll have me probably waking up around 4:30. Jeezus. Maybe I'll make it 5:30 at the gym, so I can wake up at 5. But you know what? I worked in a bakery. I can do this.

Whichever way it lands, 5 or 5:30, the point is that I want to get my workout early in the day. It's always suited me. If I plan it for the evening, I'll invariably come up with a reason that I can skip it in favor of a walk (which I end up skipping in favor of television).

I want to start out with the basics at the gym: 30-45 minutes doing cardio, 30 minutes on weights, 20 minutes to shower, etc.

7am-8:30am: roanoke/christiansburg (write, notes & lists!)
I've been using both of my commutes to read and generally zone out. While I'm really grateful to be a reader again, in reviewing my day's schedule I realized that my morning commute would be a great time to start working my brain on ideas for my blog (which I want to write more and more), the day's tasks, the week's adventures, the year's big plans. I can go into the office energized by my own steam and hopefully find myself even more focused and ready for the day.

8:30am-6pm: work!
I love my job. It keeps my brain busy. It provides opportunities for me to challenge myself regularly. While I'd love to break this big block of amorphous time into pre- and post-lunch shifts, or to schedule some time to, say, write a blog entry, I know I can't predict my schedule from one day to the next.

Better to acknowledge the truth of it (a truth I like ... I work in news, and sometimes the most exciting thing to hear is "we're gonna have a late-breaking story you have to get in tomorrow's paper!").

What I'll aim to do is keep watch over my workload every day and tuck in personal productivity where it fits.

6pm-7pm: christiansburg/roanoke (read, relax)
I've never doubted the importance of solitude. I've always been comfortable spending time by myself, and in fact I think there's something in it that feeds my very soul. Where other people may find themselves nourished by the company of others, I find myself nourished by reflection.

I've been reading on these bus rides, like I said, and I completely lose track of time. It's one of the few times in the day that I step away from a clock. And without effort! It's something to be grateful for.

7pm-9:30pm (or 10): unassigned
Why unassigned? Because this is when I come home, am greeted by a happy, snarly-faced doggy and a husband who's likely just finished cooking dinner.

What I *will* aim for during this time every day is to stay away from the television as much as possible, to connect with my husband, and to keep feeding my brain and energy with healthful thoughts.

tasks: cook (healthful) dinner; learn something new!; prepare tomorrow's lunch; write blog entry
These things might fit in during the evening, or possibly sometime during my workday. They're things I know I want to get done but that need to be approached with some flexibility. (I think?)

* Cook (healthful) dinner. Why am I doing this if I mentioned earlier that my husband cooks dinner? I realized that the dinners he cooks, while delicious, often are too rich for me. At least for now, while the good-habits part of my brain is still warming back up. Once I get in full swing, I'll probably be more mentally prepared to account for his dishes, and to portion them appropriately.

* Learn something new! I want to keep challenging myself to learn more about healthful eating, baking with whole grains, how to maximize my morning oatmeal, what exercises are best to get me flexible, strong, lean. ... Obviously there's a lot I want to know, and I think committing to at least *seeking* one new piece of information every day is a great start to building my personal encyclopedia.

* Prepare tomorrow's lunch. Because I'm more likely to take a good lunch to work if I don't have to fiddle with it early in the morning. Duh.

*Write blog entry. I'm so glad to be back to this blog. If any of you has kept up with my blogs since I started writing them a long long time ago, you know I have these mood swings. Write write write!! And then nothing for months. Write! Nothing. Write write! Noooooothing. I want to use this platform to record my own thoughts on healthfulness while I'm still trying to hard to attain it. I also want to reach out to other people who might have some smart ideas about how I can continue on this very long path. So it's pretty well settled that I must commit to writing it.

Phew. That was a novel. All to come up with a little thing like a schedule ...

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