Friday, October 7, 2011

And My Day Disappears

8:00 AM. Shiny new day. Happy times! I'm ready to tackle my to-do list.

Time
Photo by alancleaver

2:00 PM. What?? What happened? How did six hours pass? Did I get anything done? Please tell me something got checked off my to-do list.

5:00 PM. Seriously? Five? Now? I don't believe it. Tiny gremlins snuck in and changed all the clocks. It's the only explanation. Or maybe I got sucked into some weird sci-fi time loophole? Hmm...not ruling that one out.

10:00 PM. Not only did I not complete my to-do list, but I also failed at my plan for the evening. I was supposed to relax tonight. Relax and read. But did that happen? No. Where did the day go??

***
I had too many days this summer that went down exactly like this. Did I actually accomplish anything? Yes. But I felt frazzled and behind, like I'd been swept into a time tornado and didn't have the strength to break free.

However, I decided to fight back and reclaim my day. I'm still working on it, but so far, I'm accomplishing more and relaxing again--win, win!

Here are the steps I'm taking to take back my day:

1. Analyze current schedule to determine what works and what doesn't

When I reviewed how I typically spent each day, I quickly realized I had let social media take over my mornings--yet I couldn't fit one of my favorite activities in--reading writer blogs. It frustrated me that I was spending hours each day ineffectively.

My solution? Split my social media marathon into two sessions; one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This freed up a large chunk of my most valuable work time, the morning.

2. Set daily goals and write down the actual time it takes to complete them

I always set daily goals, and I usually meet them, even if I have to work on them later in the day. But I knew I'd let my priorities slip.

My solution? Next to each goal, write the actual start and end time. This helps me be more realistic about how long it takes me to write and schedule a blog post or whatever task I'm working on. It also dissipates my anxiety of feeling like I didn't accomplish anything. I can look at my daily planner and clearly see that I spent 3 hours plotting, writing, or networking.

3. Build relaxation and fun into the day

Sometimes I get so caught up in "achieving" I miss out on the essentials in life. I struggle with this aspect the most.

My solution? Remind myself that relaxing, exercising, and reading are not optional. They are essential parts of my day. Your essentials may differ from mine, but we all have activities our souls crave. No one is going to force me to relax, exercise, or read, and I am not being a hero by shoving my needs to the side. I'm hurting myself. No thank you!

Does your day ever disappear from you? What do you do to reclaim it? Share your tips! I love to hear them!

Have a wonderful weekend!

26 comments:

  1. Yes, sometimes this happens - especially if I take a nap! :)

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  2. YES! Which is why I need to bookmark this post!

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  3. Some days, I just dance as fast as I can

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  4. I've been feeling like you lately and I'm not a happy chappy. The whole day disappears and it feels like I've done nothing. I think I'm going to try some of your tips. Thank you!

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  5. Well, Jill, you've struck a chord here! I'll bet we're all feeling like that, if we have a life with multiple responsibilities. Shh, pay no attention to the dust bunnies lurking under the bed...

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  6. It's amazing how much time we waste. We need shut down every once in a while, but most of us waste an huge block of time each day/week/year. Good luck. Ohhh, it's after 7 a.m., so I've got to go. ;-)

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  7. Oh I've so been there. To-Do lists are my salvation. I have a new one each week, and will sometimes break it down to the day. Then, I stick to it! It works :)

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  8. Yay! I'm glad someone told it like it really is! Jill, days do have a way of getting away from us, and if we're not careful, the flurry of activity can overwhelm and paralyze us. One tip: everyone knows I LOVE sticky notes! (That's what I want for Christmas! A whole, BIG box of 'em.) I place them around my computer and as I accomplish one task, I go on to the next, removing them gradually one by one. I feel like I've come a long way by the end of the day. :)

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  9. Even when I work reeeally hard, at the end of the day I like to reflect not just on what did I check off my list (major listkeeper), but also what moments in my day brought me joy. If a day seems "lost" to getting stuff done, if I can point to something that brought me happiness, made me feel connected, then it was a good day after all.

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  10. Yep, I have days like that! I loved your comment about not being a hero by sacrificing essentials.

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  11. I have far too many days like that. I think it's so important to schedule in a bit of downtime. We need to relax and fill up the creative well again. One of my evening tasks is to write out the following day's To Do list. That helps. Sometimes.

    Have a great weekend!

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  12. Sadly, it does!

    This reminds me a lot of when I'm dieting. I log everything that goes into my mouth and how much exercise I'm getting--it sure reveals a lot.

    Doing a time log of what I do all day I'm certain would help me discover my waistful times and what's wonderful about it is that you find yourself adjusting for the better as you keep track.

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  13. Great tips, Jill. This is an area I'm working on. Writing down what I accomplish is serving as inspiration. I don't want to end a day and stare at a blank page. I want to have a nice word count to record.

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  14. I've got those tiny gremlins too and they're called fruit flies! :D

    Yes, my day slips by quickly. If I don't stop and take a look around once in awhile (okay I'll stop quoting Ferris)...

    As always, poignant post, worthy of thought and focus.
    ~ Wendy

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  15. Laura: Ha! Sometimes a nap is the most necessary thing on our list!

    Katie: So glad I'm NOT alone!

    CJ: What a phrase! "Dance as fast as I can." I'm writing that one down. Thanks, CJ!

    Jessica B: "Not a happy chappy." Love that line too! :) I haven't always been this ridiculously busy. I want free time again. Grr...

    Kathy: If you don't talk about my dust bunnies, I won't mention yours... :)

    Kerry: Oh yeah. And sometimes I need to waste an hour or two just piddling, but when it feels like a chore, it's time to fix the schedule.

    Joanne: So true. When I carefully schedule my week and day, I get so much more done. Great tip!

    Cynthia: Sticky notes! Another life saver!

    Olivia: Great advice. Just stopping to reflect on the good makes the day better.

    Jessica P: Yeah, I get these weird ideas in my head that skipping a workout to work wins me brownie points or something. It only earns me brownie thighs!

    Shirley: The night before planning helps a lot. I think it also makes me sleep better because I'm not worried I'll forget something.

    Eileen: Yes! It's just like dieting. I find it liberating, though. I love seeing that I really did finish something!

    Keli: Yay! Don't you love to watch your word count grow? And I've found that tracking my progress helps me set realistic goals for myself. Not too light, not too heavy.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  16. Wendy: Bueller? Anyone? Ha! We have fruit flies too and they are driving me batty! Uggh!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  17. Oh, wow, I don't know how many times I've had a day exactly like that! I'll have to try some of your tricks. :)

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  18. Man, I can so relate. Where do the days go?

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  19. Yes. The days go by fast! I think in the autumn and winter it seems faster because of the limited sunlight.

    Have a great weekend.

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  20. I feel that way all the time. It's like everything fights for priority over writing. I like how you schedule your writing time in a planner. I'm sure it helps you keep track of your goals.

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  21. I think one of the most important things on your list is noting how much time things actually take. I frequently underestimate the time for tasks. Good point!

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  22. This happens to me all the time, so I love this post. It's amazing how much time I can while away doing nothing. Love the list!

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  23. Master Time Management. It's on my to-do list. :)

    Great post, Jill!

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  24. Ruth: Welcome! I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

    Erica: I know. It's October. Already. How did that happen??

    Loree: Too true. The days are getting much too short around here. I miss having sunlight at 8:00pm!

    Brandi: Sometimes I have to force myself to turn off the Internet and turn on Word, but it's in the planner, you know? :)

    Elizabeth: Guilty! I routinely underestimate how long tasks take. By jotting the "real" time it took, I'm saving my sanity!

    Stacy: And yet, don't you feel like you haven't had a break? Nothing can be tiring!

    Jennifer: It's on mine too. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  25. Some days just get full of things that are all important. Besides the regular things, other items are added and you need to do them all. So as soon as I can, I find a half day in the afternoon or a Saturday and I just take it off. I need those times to regroup. I think all artsy people need that down time.

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  26. Am anxious to finish my new office so I can schedule my time. Even if I have to plot it out on index cards, the only way to get everything done.

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