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Getting it done - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Getting it done [Jan. 9th, 2007|03:19 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Today's accomplishments:

Aerobics
Weight training (lower body)
Meditation
Reading
Writing
Full day's work
(And tonight's plan:
Laundry
Taking down the Christmas tree
Quilting)

How do I do it? That seems to be the question on at least a few people's minds. So here for your edification is Gini's Guide to Getting Shit Done:

1. Plan ahead. This seems so obvious, but it's remarkable how few people do it. If you go into your day thinking, "oh, and I'll get a workout in at some point," it's all but guaranteed that you won't. You need to schedule it in. For instance, I know that in order to put in 30 minutes of aerobics, half an hour of lifting, half an hour of yoga, time for meditation, and time to get ready for work, I need to get up at least two and a half hours before I need to be walking out the door for the bus. If I need to be walking out the door at 7:45, I need to be on the NordicTrack at 5:15, which means getting up at 5 to get dressed and have a few minutes for waking up. Unless I know that, I'm not going to set the alarm for the right time. Which, by the way, leads us to....

2. Morning is your friend. Until just a few years ago, any antemeridian time that began with a number lower than 7 was obscene, and even 7 was a bit on the risque side (unless of course I was meeting them at the end of a long evening, in which case they were familiar friends). I simply did not get up early. Erin and I went through a brief but hellish time when she had to be at the skating rink every Saturday morning by 5am, but that was not a long-lived adventure. No, I was the sort of person who would get up and fix breakfast for my then-hubby and then climb back into bed after he had departed for work (no wonder he resented me). Once I started working outside the home, morning was a time to play Beat the Clock, sleeping until the last...possible...minute...beforerushingouthedoorinafrenzy.

This is not conducive to getting anything extra done.

Mornings are great because there is nothing else to distract you. Friends don't call and suggest that you go to the movies. There's nothing good on television. You are relatively fresh and undistracted by after work household chores such as getting dinner and doing the dishes. In most places, even the kids don't have sporting events at that time of day. It's quiet (because all the sane people are asleep), so you don't get interrupted. If you really want to get a lot accomplished, get up early.

3. Slide things in where you can. I read while on the NordicTrack, and while on the bus to and from work. Both of those are times when I really couldn't be doing much else. And I've taken to eating at my desk and writing during my lunch hour, rather than going out. I may only get in 750-1000 words, but that's a couple more pages than I would have accomplished while wandering through the mall. This is closely related to...

4. Multitasking. When we had the Doctor Who marathon, I got a lot of quilting done. You can't always do two things at once, but look for places where you can.

5. The computer is your enemy. Television is your enemy. The computer and the TV are notorious time sinks. I'm not saying you should never veg out in front of one or the other, but be very aware that when you do so, you have effectively surrendered all those hours of your life to something completely unproductive.

I manage to salvage that at least in part by having handwork to do while watching something (back to multitasking), but if I'm between projects or don't plan ahead to have something I can pick up quickly, it's really easy to lose that time. And the computer is worse - you can spend endless hours just staring at the damned thing, because there's always somewhere else to visit. Which, again, can be fine, but if you reach the end of the evening with a vague sense of discontent or you are only returning to it because you are too tired to do anything else, go to bed! You need the sleep!

6. Your reach should exceed your grasp at least a little bit. My ideal day is damned hard to achieve. I know I'm not going to get there every day. So I know that not getting there is not a tragedy, it's just not a red-letter, gold-star sort of day. And that's okay. What's the point in setting goals if you know you will always achieve them? Those aren't goals; they are a self-aggrandizing checklist. I don't beat myself up if I come up a checkmark short, because I know that it's really hard to get it all. But I feel extra good when I do.

7. Every day is a choice. Every morning when that damned alarm clock goes off, I have to choose again. I have to choose to get up in the dark, alone, and stagger around a cold house getting stuff done. People say that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. This is a lie. I have been at this for three years now, and it's still hard. I still backslide, go through periods when I just can't make it up before 6:30, miss workouts, screw up.

But the next day, I get to choose again. It's hard, making the right choice, but it's also a relief to know that making the wrong choice is not permanent, either.

8. Don't go crazy. Everyone needs a day off, or even a week off now and then. Real life will come along and trip you up. It's okay. Be good to yourself, give yourself permission to play, give yourself permission to say, "Screw this, I wanna go to the movies and stay out late and sleep in tomorrow," now and then. Don't drive your family crazy, either, by being so holier-than-though that you become inflexible and impossible to live with. People are always more important.

9. You can't "cheat" because you're only playing against yourself. Don't forget that your goals are your goals. If you rebel against them, that's weird. Make sure they fit you, the you you really want to be, not someone else's idea of you.

10. If this seems stupid, you can just ignore it. This is just my take on how I get through getting a lot accomplished in life, my own philosophy. You may read this and think, "Damn, that woman is cuh-razy!" And maybe I am. You wouldn't be the first one to think so.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: preitas
2007-01-09 08:37 pm (UTC)
I love love love the mornings :) I use them to make dinner (I'm a crock pot fiend as even though we are in Ohio now we still work on California time), do dishes, clean cat boxes, make lunches & clean the kitchen & living room up from the night before :)

My husband is the kidn that will sleep till the last possible second. I now have found an alarm that he can't even sleep through. Quakcing ducks! :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 08:48 pm (UTC)
I can't be household efficient in the morning - it messes up my everything-else efficient. I'd have to get up at 4am!
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[User Picture]From: 28bytes
2007-01-09 08:45 pm (UTC)
"f you reach the evening with a vague sense of discontent or you are only returning to it because you are too tired to do anything else, go to bed!"

I need to put that on a Post-It Note on my monitor.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 08:45 pm (UTC)
Me, too, sometimes. I still fall into it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 08:48 pm (UTC)
Glad it was timely!
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[User Picture]From: geekjul
2007-01-09 08:48 pm (UTC)
Item #2 is my own personal demon. I struggle a great deal in the mornings.

If you don't mind me asking, if you are getting up at 5:00 AM, what time do you go to bed in the evening?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 08:49 pm (UTC)
Most nights around 10pm. Last night at 8:40. Then again, I'd accomplished so much yesterday that it felt justified!
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[User Picture]From: heathrow
2007-01-09 08:50 pm (UTC)
I try to incorporate many of these ideas into my day, but with 2 very wee ones (almost 3, 9 month old), it's hard. I'm sure that once we get the littler one down into a normal sleep schedule, life will seem much easier. :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 08:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, I would not have been able to do it when my kids were little. But they are only little for a short time, so enjoy them!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 09:00 pm (UTC)
I am not a TV watcher, but I do see people doing it.

And I will confess that there are the occasional sleep-til-11 Saturdays, but I always feel like I was cheated out of the weekend when I do that.
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[User Picture]From: czarina69
2007-01-09 09:04 pm (UTC)

Well-stated.

Except for the early-morning part, I'm completely with you.
I may get the early morning thing down, one of these days.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 09:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Well-stated.

The early morning thing is brutal, but helpful.
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From: authentichris
2007-01-09 09:15 pm (UTC)
I agree with the sentiment here; I would also advise to "prioritize and eliminate friction between you and the top priorities"
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-09 09:19 pm (UTC)
"prioritize and eliminate friction between you and the top priorities"

Except I don't know what that means - it's too abstract. I'm shooting for easily understood goals. Lay out your exercise clothes the night before, for example.
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From: ewtikins
2007-01-09 09:21 pm (UTC)
Possibly, having a routine that is the same or very similar most mornings might be helping out a bit too.

I know I do better with things like this when I can stick to a routine.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, routine definitely helps!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 12:45 am (UTC)
Developed over many hard years.

And even now there are things that I put off. No one is perfect.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:26 am (UTC)

Re: I must say "Thank You!"...

I'm glad this came along at the right time for you. I was about 40 when I finally started getting it together, so don't feel bad!
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[User Picture]From: owlswater
2007-01-09 10:09 pm (UTC)
Well written... I especially like #5, even if I frequently fall victim to those particular traps.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:31 am (UTC)
I think everyone falls into that trap at least once in a while.
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2007-01-09 10:32 pm (UTC)
ah yes, all the things I wish I was mature enough to implement. but then I'm 21, I still have time ;) *hits snooze*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:47 am (UTC)
I wish that at 21 I had been this disciplined. I would probably now be emperor of the known universe.

Probably why we don't have that kind of discipline at 21. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2007-01-10 12:07 am (UTC)
Since I start work at 6:30, I need to get to bed by 9 or 10 at the latest. since work is with little kids, I find I REALLY need a FULL night's sleep to function the way I want/need to and have the necessary patience. But the mornings I get to come home (between dropping them at preschool and returning to pick them up), I get three solid hours of accomplishment!! The evening is usually getting a supper on the table and then 'down' time so I can relax enough to sleep well.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:51 am (UTC)
With little kids, it's a whole different ball game. Your priorities are completely different. And they should be!
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[User Picture]From: smldada9801
2007-01-10 01:21 am (UTC)
I really identified with number 7. One of my new years resolutions is better choices.

I'm pleased with today. It's been a miserable, congested, curl up in a ball and wish the world away kind of day. Somehow, I decided that I was not too sick for the treadmill. Amazingly, 2.5 miles later, I still feel bad, but I feel better than I did all afternoon.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:52 am (UTC)
Good for you! Working out when you're sick is a real balancing act - it can make you feel better if you don't overdo it.
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[User Picture]From: shannabannanna
2007-01-10 01:42 am (UTC)
I always wanted to "eat better". I figured out the only way this is possible for me is to make weekly meal plans, and figure out the night before exactly what I will eat the next day - right down to my snacks. If left to figure it out when I'm feeling hungry or snacky, I will make bad choices.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 01:53 am (UTC)
This is very, very true. Good eating choices are going to be tackled next week - it's a balancing act.
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[User Picture]From: molkovia04
2007-01-10 09:50 am (UTC)
Thankyou for a great list! I may have to print it out and stick it on the wall next to my list of New Year's Resolutions.

Last week I was managing to work through my basic Kung Fu patterns before I had go to work but now I seem to have discovered the snooze button...! My main resolutions though (above all the more measurable ones) were not to beat myself up about things and to just keep going... one slip-up does not a failure/catastrophe make!

As you rightly say... every new day is about choices.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 10:39 am (UTC)
Glad it helps! I myself am running a bit late, having snoozed one time too many. It happens.
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[User Picture]From: naath
2007-01-10 10:26 am (UTC)
urgh, mornings.

I really Just Can't Do Mornings. Part of that is my tendancy to stay up 'till 4am playing bridge and flirting... but even when I don't do that I generally can't get to sleep untill about midnight, and I can't go with less than 8 hours sleep a night for very long, so I getting up at 8 is about my limit (which means I have to live close to work - especially as I cycle; one of the reasons I can't currently afford a house/flat).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-10 10:41 am (UTC)
I used to be like you. But hey, if playing bridge and flirting makes you happy, then that's great. No one is required to work with my agenda. I just wrote it because some people were wondering how I got so much done in a day.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2007-01-13 03:30 pm (UTC)
That was an awesome post! Do you mind if I repost it in readers_list?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-13 04:01 pm (UTC)
Not at all!

Are you guys home now?
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