While there was a time, not all that long ago, when I often found myself bored or wishing minutes away, I now find myself longing for more hours in a day. How can I possibly complete my many daily tasks? And where can I dedicate time to nurturing myself? I recently started a bullet journal and this has helped me greatly. Keeping my tasks and notes organized all in one place saves me time and energy (more on this later). But despite having a method for organizing and keeping myself accountable, I’m realizing that I might still need to create a more structured schedule to keep on track. The problem is that I’ve never been one who enjoys a lot of structure. My whimsical personality would rather just blow where the wind takes me. But there is also a perfectionist in me that gets anxious when tasks are left incomplete. Like with most things, I must find a balance.
In researching routines and success I stumbled several times on the habits of Benjamin Franklin. Apparently he created a structured routine for himself and writes about in detail in his autobiography.
While it looks pretty simple, it is described by many as rigorous. I think it’s daunting to compartmentalize our time like this. The idea of waking up at 5am so we can then spend three hours working on self-reflection, study, and daily planning seems difficult, or in my case, impossible. Though, I would love a two-hour lunch break, or to spend the evenings in conversation. Unfortunately, with a busy practice and two small children, that too is impossible? Heck, even sleep is a luxury I’ve only recently begun to once again enjoy. But even Franklin admitted that the habits of his lifestyle didn’t always make this schedule possible. Still, I think that creating a basic structure for going about my day will ultimately make me a better and more productive person! The hardest task will be executing it. Maybe that’s what people mean by rigorous.
Now, where to start? Well, my “simple” schedule is as follows: 3 days a week at my office; 4 days home with my family. Both are mentally full-time jobs and often spill into each other. Therefore, I must be creative. Sleep is the best place to start – going to bed and waking up earlier for me is a must. Next I’ll need to dedicate some me-time in the morning. This will be meditation, quiet or moving. I’d like to follow this with a question similar to Franklin’s, “What good will I do today?” The bullet journal will come in handy for this. By this point the kids will most likely be awake and armed with their demands. I’ll need to create a schedule for their morning too. Kids seem to thrive on schedules. Mid-day will always be changing depending on the tasks for the day, and to maintain some freedom, but again the evening can have structure, making sure everyone is in bed by a certain time, including myself. Finally, finding some time for yoga and reflection, and again asking Franklin’s question: “What good have I done today?”
So, once again I have created a new task for myself. It seems the further I go on this journey, the more efforts I discover must be made. I think that’s the reality of living. Life is always changing. We are always changing. My hope is that by creating certain constants, there will be more time for, as Franklin puts it, “other diversions.” The only big question remains, where will I find the time to create this schedule?? And when will I have the guts to execute it?
I’ll be posting the rest of my new schedule soon and letting you know how it works out!
Do you have a schedule that works best for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!