And by “This” I mean this particular post, as well as any of the others that may follow it. And by “Crap” I mean it might not be remotely interesting or otherwise worth reading. (You’ve been warned.) But here’s the thing:
I need to be writing. It helps me and I enjoy it.
Therefore, I’m writing.
However, I have both nothing to say and too much to say. “Nothing” meaning I haven’t done anything exciting or even anything relevant to this blog. “Too much” in the sense that I have a head full of “stuff” that’s clawing to get out.
I decided I’ll just keep writing, anyway. Read on if you dare.
I have been “struggling.” For years, really but more acutely lately. Struggling to keep up with the writing habit I want to cultivate. Struggling to keep up with my training plan (though, I’ve been a little bit injured – I’ll perhaps get to that another day). Struggling to just keep my head above water with work, kids, house, etc. You know. Like everyone else. Only I have better getting progressively worse. Downward spiraling, if you will.
However, – big surprise to me – some things have actually improved lately, although only on a small-scale, everyday kind of level.
I’m learning to manage myself better with different systems of keeping track of thoughts and tasks. I’d started by writing my to-do list on a small sheet of paper that I could keep on my person throughout the day. The planner I was using – or rather, not using – wasn’t cutting it for me. I’d write stuff in it, but then fail to refer to it. It utilized a weekly view of seven columns, for appointments, across the two-page spread, with only one smaller area on the spread to record tasks. I simply couldn’t easily “see” what I needed to do one day versus another. So I came up with the note-in-pocket system, and that worked well until I realized that those didn’t leave me with a record of what had been accomplished for the day. For one, I’d also determined that I need to start focusing on what I have completed and paying less attention to those things that I haven’t yet completed. Those undone items are “louder” than my completed tasks, so I needed to give my completed task a larger voice. A list at the end of the day as evidence of missions accomplished has become necessity.
Furthermore, I found myself needing to answer questions like, “How long ago did I send that email to Jane? She hasn’t gotten back to me yet, and I don’t know how long it’s been.” Since note-in-pocket became note-in-trash at the end of each day, I had no idea when I’d done what. I tried to go back to using my planner, but it continued to frustrate me. Then, I recognized that it wasn’t the me, it was the planner! I did some research on the internet to find a planner with a format more suitable for me, and I bought a new one that I really love – one page per day with areas for appointments, a to-do list, “dinner,” and notes. Coming up with a better solution – one that fit me – has helped me tremendously with my productivity and keeping up with my responsibilities so that I don’t let others – or myself – down.
A couple of Saturday mornings ago, I invested some time in capturing as many of the things I need to do as possible and then assigning those to-dos to days and times that were fitting. It took me a few hours to get my arms around all of my notes and tasks and thoughts, but it was worth the time I put in that morning. I created a good jumping-off place for myself and minimized my anxiety. Because I felt like I’d finally slowed down and allowed myself some time to think everything through, I haven’t been worried that there are some “things” floating out there that I am forgetting. For the rest of that day, I got a crap-ton of stuff completed, which made me feel accomplished, capable, and happy. Since then, I have continued to feel more in control as I know I have everything out of my head and in a place where I can access it. Between setting myself up with a planner that works for me and practicing using it, I’m in much better shape now.
On the flip side of that, I apparently – in my new-found wisdom about what makes me tick (or not tick, depending upon how you look at it) – tried to go from zero to 60 in one weekend flat. Which found me lounging in bed the following day past 9:30 in the morning because I over-did it on Saturday. I NEVER sleep that far in, anymore! First thing, it makes me feel lazy when I sleep late. Then later, I hate myself for shorting myself on weekend time I can use to get things done AND to relax and enjoy. That day, I resigned myself to the fact that the extra rest was needed by my body and mind, and managed (with work) to forgive myself. I am trying to use that as a lesson and begin to structure my weeks so that Sunday is more of a Sabbath to take. I don’t think I can manage to get all my weekend responsibilities completed on Saturdays – not just yet, anyway. However, I intend to scale back my expectations for Sundays so that I can allow myself some restorative time, that I definitely need, without making me feel anxious or frenzied.
Back to Sundays in general. I find that on Sundays, I am stressed and I feel like every weekend allows me almost enough time to complete all the things I’d like to do. It doesn’t matter how much I get done. There’s always more to check off the list. (QUIET! You noisy, undone tasks!) This then keeps me from effectively falling asleep on Sunday nights, which turns into over-sleeping on Monday morning. Over-sleeping means I miss my Monday workout. Missing my Monday workout makes me not just cranky about the day’s workout being missed, but about how the week now seems “behind” from the outset – because I want to be all never-miss-a-Monday fitness girl, and instead I’m (almost) always-miss-a-Monday fitness girl. It’s kind of like When You Give a Pig a Pancake, but without all the whimsy and amusement.
Here’s what I’d like to know (if you haven’t stopped reading due to extreme ennui):
How do you feel on Sunday evenings? I know for a fact that lots of people dislike Sundays or have back-to-work anxiety. I’d just like to hear from others if my experience is similar to anyone else’s out there. Are you cranky? Rushed? Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you have any tips about how to make Sundays, and in particular Sunday nights, less stressful? I’d love to hear about it.
My hope is that I can be more productive during the week and load up my Saturdays (but without killing myself), and then give myself a little “pass” on Sunday to not feel like I have to conquer everything before the week begins. Perhaps then I will be able to go to sleep, get a good rest, and be up and at spinning on Monday morning, kicking my week off to a good start.