maggies dream report: week sixteen

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Establishing a Routine (following up!)

Last week I reported on my struggles with establishing a routine – thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments! I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone. It seems to be a common problem, but not one that can’t be overcome.

Sadly (yet, somehow, realistically) I can’t report that my week was magically perfect after airing my frustration. I still didn’t fit in exercise. But I did wrap up a client project, answered questions about another, lined up another client consultation, worked on an upholstery project, and managed to fill up my evenings next week with events and outings. I felt productive.

However, I did take note of how I was thinking about my time. I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that I have on my plate – even though they are things I WANT to do. But on Sunday night I found myself mentally committing to way more tasks for the next day than would be physically possible. Finishing the chairs, finishing a client’s floor plan, emailing like 20 people, working out, doing laundry, hanging pictures, running errands, cooking a new recipe for dinner (which ended up taking four hours in itself), blogging (I like to write several posts at once and pre-schedule them). I’d think of “just one more thing” and think “I could do that tomorrow” but was setting myself up for failure by just wanting to do too many things in one day.

Since noticing that, the last few days I’ve been committing myself to accomplishing just one large task each day. Sure, I can do more (and need to if I want to keep this business ticking) but waking up in the morning knowing that “finishing these chairs” is my task for the day helps eliminate the wandering indecisiveness and overwhelm. When I finish that task, there are others waiting to be done.

I might eventually land on a schedule of, say, three must-complete items per day and a fall-back list for when those are complete. But this week, I’m sticking with one. It’s a learning process, and adjustment.

I guess my main message for the week is that it’s ok to have a learning curve, to realize that something isn’t working and take steps to adjust. And it’s ok for a realization to not magically create a better habit or action. It still takes time to build habits. I used to be one of those “all or nothing” types, but I’m learning as I get older that those plans have never worked for me. One change at a time.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jill

    I’m super bad with keeping a schedule (besides my kids schedules)… but I am in much of the same position – I’m only one person with a lot to do! Both professionally and as the head of the household (I’m snagging that title from my husband!).

    What I have found that works is dedicating my available time more broadly. Like MWF mornings are for blog care (most pressing) – writing posts, following up with email, organizing IT list, etc Then Tuesday and Thursday mornings are for working out. My afternoons are for extra projects that I am working on – or more behind the scenes stuff like e-books, idea building and brainstorming. Lastly evenings ‘bat clean up’, as in… whatever didn’t get finished. And if all is finished (or under control) I get to take the night off!

    I find these assigned time blocks to organize my thoughts more and give me freedom to work on what I am in the mood for within that area. Does that make sense?

    Just my two cents on what I have found that works with balancing a household, two (very busy) kids schedules and my own professional life!

  2. Maggie – I’ve been following your weekly report here on MML since the very first one and I am so excited to see how far you’ve come. I’m glad you are starting small by focusing on one large task at a time. Baby steps are the key. Yes, one day you’ll be able to focus on three big items, as you said, but for now one is good. Keep on keepin’ on. You’ll get there!

  3. Rose

    Reading all your posts reminds me so much of when I was starting out. I went through all these feelings, too. I just want to say that one thing at a time always works. I started just like you doing one big task a day, then with time I started doing three and now I’m up to five tasks a day. Granted, I’ve been freelancing for six years now, but, I just want to give you hope that it gets better. What you are going through and feeling is normal and with time everything balances out and you will find your routine. Lots of good luck!!!

  4. just a suggestion


    Just a suggestion. take advantage of these posts by marketing yourself and your new business. Include links to your site be sure to mention in each post where we can find you. I am just to the point of googling to find your site, and then I realize I don’t care anymore(or too lazy, I guess). But I care enough to let you know I am impressed with your potential and hope your succeed in this venture. Help yourself be seen!

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