Establishing a routine
One of the things I looked forward to the most about leaving my 8-5 job was having the freedom to do whatever I wanted during the day. Due to a very limited public transit schedule, I was on a very punctual (and not at all convenient) time table, lacking free time to do much but pre-scheduled outings with friends and work on the business and blog. I’d given up attempts to exercise because I couldn’t find the time in my schedule.
When I was still working and dreaming of entrepreneurship I listed all kinds of activities as part of my “ideal day”. Do yoga, eat healthy meals, meetings where I’d collaborate with other creatives, couple-time with Ryan, time spent in the garden, business work, and lots of design work and playing at the Design Center. I think I even did a Dream Report several weeks ago where I talked about motivation and what my normal day was like.
Three months in, I’m still struggling to find a routine that works for me. I know it’s a partial trial-and-error process, but I’m getting frustrated with days that fly by and I still haven’t written a blog post, done laundry, or exercised. Where does the time go? How am I spending it?
I will admit that I think the initial joy of not being “at work” caused the rebel in me to flare up just a bit. Knowing I could do whatever I want led to sleeping a little later than I’d intended, getting distracted by Twitter and Pinterest, and other internet tools that I MEANT to use productively. But lately it’s more that I’m stuck in a routine of NOT having a routine. Sleeping in later than I want, getting sucked in by blogs or catching up on my own, tackling design work, eating breakfast at 11 and lunch at 3, working on marketing ideas or other projects that don’t “show” right away, then realizing it’s almost 5 and I haven’t had the slightest thought about dinner for when Ryan gets home and the apartment is a disaster from starting a project at 2:45 before realizing I was ravenous. After dinner and feeling crappy when Ryan starts cleaning after HIS long day at work, I’m an insomniac until 2 or 3 am. I can’t seem to catch up or get ahead.
Luckily I do think that this is something that can be remedied pretty easily, at least with a plan of action. Part of my floundering is because there isn’t a plan in place. Not saying I’ll always stick to the plan exactly, but I’ll either be able to recognize when I’m steering off course, or know that I’m altering the plan for a particular reason.
This is something I’ll be tackling in the next week. Identifying my priorities, satisfying my need for some structure, even setting specific time benchmarks (such as “If it is 9:30 and I haven’t had breakfast, I’ll eat it now.”). I know from working with Michelle, my life coach, last year that it helps me to set timers to focus on a given task. I think sometimes realizing just how MUCH I have to do to accomplish all I want is so overwhelming that I sit and do nothing or I distract myself (with something like Pinterest). Setting a timer that means I’ll only focus on this for fifteen minutes, then I can move on if I need to, keeps me from feeling that panicky “It’ll never all get done” and drifting off to Twitter.
As far as my sleeping habits go, well, I just either need to embrace the night owl (even as a kid I’d stay up into the wee hours and don’t get me started on my college years!) and make those hours productive, or force myself into a slightly more reasonable sleep schedule. I’m never going to be awake at 6 am and asleep at 9:30 but being up by 8 should not be a chore! And if a barista is getting up to go to work, I probably shouldn’t still be awake! (I could probably do a whole post on insomnia).
Entrepreneurs, do you keep a pretty regular schedule? Are you a night owl? Do you use a timer or other “trick” to keep on task during the day? Would love to hear! Wish me luck! I’ll report back next week on how my routine is going ; )