How Many Hours ARE There in a Day, Anyway?

In all my planning and re-prioritzing and scheduling/routine-mapping, I’ve learned something quite surprising about myself.
I’ve been reworking a lot of things, for a lot of reasons.
We (I) have been feeling driven,
like a hamster in a wheel,
like I hit the ground running every morning,
only to fall farther behind each day…
only to see, at the end of the day, all the things I didn’t check off my to-do list.
I’ve been running our home on a routine that just doesn’t fit all the changes that we’ve made since I crafted that routine for us. A routine that was made to accomplish goals I either don’t have any more, or never really had to begin with, but felt (self-inflicted) pressure that I ought to have.
True to my own way, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about routines, schedules, priorities, planning, and the like. Not to allow others to dictate my goals, or to try to emulate someone else’s routine or schedule, but to get my mind into that gear, and to get ideas that maybe I haven’t thought of, and to learn from others’ mistakes. In my reading, I found this post:
Time Management Without A Schedule
In it was a profoundly simple concept that really should have been my beginning point in my endeavors to create a routine plan for myself. It is this:
(are you ready?)

Each day should only have 24 hours of accomplishments planned!!!

This is new thinking for me.
I really never thought about looking at the time I have and figuring out what I can do in it. I always looked at what needed to be done, what I wanted to get done, and tried to move at a speed that would accomplish as much of that as possible. I never, never, got to the end of my list.
Every single day was a failure, that ended one of two ways:
with me staying up late until my eyes were crossing and my back and feet were aching, trying to cross off as much as I could from my list, knowing that whatever was left undone would be added to tomorrow’s list.
guiltily and ashamedly quitting for the night, things undone, trying not to think about how far behind my tomorrow had just become, and, consequently my week and even my month, since all that is exponential…

So, me-fashion, I sat me down to work out a similar plan, limiting myself to 24 hours. I started out with a plan like the one one the site linked above, filling in the blanks with the way I already spent my days, sure I was going to find a lot of frittered-away, wasted time that could be put to more productive use. Here’s the link if you’d like to use it too, or see what it is I’m talking about :0)
Guess what happened.
I filled in all the little cells on the table, of things that I do (or attempt, rather), and the time I intend to spend on them. Then I added up the hours in each column (day). They were supposed to add up to 24 (hours). Mine all added up to 30 or more. Some as high as 36!
After I re-did my math several times, sure that I’d forgotten how to add double digits after teaching first grade math, I realized that I really am attempting too much!
Oh, how I laughed. It was somehow relieving, to know that the reason I was always behind wasn’t because I just move to slow, or don’t focus enough, or whatever. I just really plan too much!
Now I’m working on the gritty (and honestly, sometimes frustrating and discouraging) part. Paring away those plans/goals/priorities, weaning myself down to only expecting 24 hours in each day.
My husband graciously agreed to babysit for a few hours so that I could work on this uninterrupted (after smiling at my shocking discovery that I try to squeeze 30+ hours into 24, and telling me that he’s been trying to tell me that for a while now).
So I’ve been sitting here at Starbucks with a few documents open on my netbook, with tables and formulas and highlighted cells, and a sketchbook and some markers beside me, figuring out just what is it all that I do, and what to trim here and there, to get it to all fit onto the table.
After 2 hours, I’ve got several days out of my week down to 24 hours. I still have some over 24.

and now… I have more that I want to say, but time is up and I’m going to follow through on my decision to just hit “publish” rather than try to perfect each post..

Posted on April 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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