But then I'd be throwing out the mini routine I'd been working so damn hard on. So I figured I'd keep an eye on the clock and just put the clean dishes away. Well...damn if that didn't take less than five minutes. Huh. Okay. I'll get the easy to rinse dishes in the dishwasher and leave the pots. I did that and still had time left. Turns out to do my dishes, start the dishwasher, clean the sink, and wipe down the counters took me thirteen minutes. I was going to give up having that done because I didn't think I had time. So if you're thinking to yourself..."I don't have time to spend doing this." You won't have time.
Maybe tell yourself, "I've got five minutes. Let's see how much I can knock out." instead. You might be surprised.
Today is going to be the start of our scheduling. I did this process a few months ago, but my routine and schedule has changed since then, so my calendar no longer applies. I need a revamp.
Our assignment for today is to see how much time we REALLY have. Take out your hourly calendar, your online calendar, or a scrap of paper you've got enough room on for your average week, and put the following things in there.
You have to sleep. It's important. Before you start scribbling it in, be honest and think about how many hours you need to feel rested. Is it 6? 8?
Now. When do you want to get up in the morning? Write your wakeup time FIRST.
Then, here's the kicker, and the part that was the hardest for me, start counting backwards and blocking off the hours until you get a full night's sleep blocked off. I need about 7 hours of sleep. I wake up at 5am. That means my bed time is 10pm. No joke. I go to bed at 10pm (or damn close to it) every night. Some night's I'm in bed watching some ASMR by 9 if I'm tired.
If you want to or HAVE to get up at a certain time, be realistic. You can't get 8 hours of sleep if you're hitting the sack at midnight and have to be at work by 8. Which brings us to the next thing to add to your calendar.
Unless you're a full-time author or a stay at home mom, most of us have evil day jobs or part time jobs. If you don't, this would be where you plug in volunteer work that has a set time block, or school schedules where you have to drive kiddos to class, and pick them up. This is where you need to put in anything that is non-negotiable, or a schedule you are not in a position to change.
Write in your work hours, but also your drive time. How long does it take you to commute? How long does it take you to get dressed? Hair done? Makeup on? Uniform ironed? If you have any of these items to do, put those on your calendar too. Remember how I talked about being honest? See why it's important? You can't magically teleport to the office, and if you can, I want to work where you do.
Yes, there should be three of these. Are you someone who "doesn't have time" to eat? Welp. We're fixing that now. These are the next things to go into your calendar. And not just a blip reminder to eat. No no no.
Are you eating out? Well, you have to drive there. Which takes time. I calculated it out, and because of traffic during meal times, it takes me longer to go grab McDonalds than it does to toss a pre-prepped stir fry onto the stove and make myself a smoothie to go with it. Which do you think I should be eating? But while I do that most days, or eat leftovers, I keep breakfast bars in the house to cram more work in my morning routine.
Considering our time will help us make more informed food choices. But for today, write down what you're going to do. Are you driving to grab fast food? Block out that time. 30 minutes? An hour? It's gone from the schedule.
Even if you don't use a calendar, I highly recommend writing out every hour in the day for your average week, and marking these things down. Seeing your schedule in a visual block form, makes you realize how precious the time is.
If you're like me and want the ability to edit and tweak the schedule, I highly recommend Google Calendar. If you've never used it before but are intrigued by the time blocking and alarms I use. I've got a video from a fave YouTuber below that will help you get a visual idea of what I'm talking about.
Have you put in your time blocks? Do you see the time you're working with? That's your time. That's what we're going to make the most of.
Now, maybe you've put in all your "Have To" items and realized, you don't have any spare time, or you've inadvertently double booked yourself, or not given yourself time to eat. It's time to change your "Have To" items. Maybe you really don't have time to volunteer. Maybe you need to delegate some of the meal prep, or buy items that come pre-prepped instead. Perhaps you've got a large block on the weekend without anything else going on and you can prepare your meals there to eat through the week and give yourself an extra 30 minutes a day.
This is a big assignment, and it takes some fiddling with to make sure you get everything in it's place.
Once you've finished time blocking, it's time to set alarms. Which items are you always forgetting? Are you chronically late to work? Set an alarm on your phone to go off 30 minutes before you have to leave to make sure you re-focus on getting ready. Do you forget to eat lunch? Set an alarm 15 minutes before you're due to leave or prepare your food, so you can wrap up what you're working on. If it's just a task you have to get done on a certain day, pick the time you usually do said task and set a reminder. I have a reminder set for taking out the trash and the recycling. I'd always forget otherwise.
Sit back and look at what you've accomplished today. And grab your journal. Don't think you're getting out of your three pages. Now that you've blocked out your time, write down what you've discovered. Do you have more time than you thought? Less? Did you realize you might have been cramming far too many items on your To Do lists? Or did you find time to read your favorite fiction books that you didn't even think about being a possibility?
Yesterday you wrote down why you wanted to get a schedule or routine in place. Perhaps you wanted to find time for specific items to get done. Which items in your life are at the top of your priority list? Look at the empty blocks in your schedule right now. Perhaps you can already see where you want them to fit in. Do you need to get up earlier to have the morning routine you dream about implementing? Do you realize an afternoon or evening routine might be a better fit for you? Write down your thoughts. You've got three pages to fill, so let your mind battle with itself on the page and see what you come up with.
I'm off to revamp my schedule and get my own morning pages in. I've got a busy day with a kiddo birthday to celebrate, but I'm getting my work done first. When you're done with the work, come back and tell me what you accomplished today. I'd love to hear about it.