Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How It's Going review & plan

SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
MORNING
suicides
MORNING
sunrises
MORNING
suicides
MORNING
sunrises
MORNING
suicides
MORNING
sunrises
MORNING
suicides
PLAY
WCR Rioters
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
PLAY
run
HOBBY
 
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
HOBBY
Review & Plan
HOBBY
 
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
WORK
Office
HOBBY
 
PASTIME
Choppers
PLAY
MOD Skate
PLAY
USA Speed
PLAY
WCR Circuit
PLAY
USA Speed
PASTIME
 
PASTIME
 
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches
EVENING
stretches

As it happens, B emailed just as I was putting the finishing touches on this latest chart for my life. "Chart for my life," by the way, comes from Joe, who is from London, so it is actually pronounced chaaht for mah loife. She wanted me to tell her a little bit about my systems, which was like... I'm trying to think of an example of a nerd being asked to talk about his nerdiness, and I'm only coming up with examples of myself; so nevermind. But that got me started & the below is basically what I told her, only with capitals and without swears.

But oh, the reason I don't usually talk about this. Is because I never want to tell people what to do. I'll tell you how I do, alla Poppy, but what you do with that is up to you. Partly because I am really deeply a constructivist, and partly because I really don't ...care, and I mean that in the nicest Buddhist detached sense. But like the worst thing in the world is when you mention that you do morning pages pretty religiously, and then people start confessing their morning pages fails to you. I don't know what to tell you, you either do them or you don't & everything else is just drama.

That said, the first principle is that the system is always evolving. Stuff changes all the time, so you can't have the expectation that you're going to set a schedule once and be done; like see, I've already made changes to my morning exercise schedule (more TK!) So you sort of have to commit at the outset that to continually work your system, which means actually setting aside x amount of time for this activity. And for me that's about an afternoon per week to set myself up for the week ahead, as highlighted.

Related to the first principle, you must not beat yourself up for not adhering perfectly to schedule. That's not what the schedule is for, the schedule is just a standard to keep in mind. With practice and as you learn more about what works for you, you can mold yourself reasonably close to standard. In the early stages, being way off standard often says more about setting your standards too high. That's a much worse problem than, say, procrastination. It probably causes procrastination, because your subconscious pretty much knows how much you can get done & rebels if you give yourself too much work.

I have developed, seriously over years, a time grid that works for me. I plan on a weekly basis, and each day is broken into the following periods: 6-9am, 9am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, 3pm-6pm, 6pm-9pm, 9pm-12pm. The hours are just guidelines, it's not about beginning and ending precisely at 6pm and 9pm; it's more about the general flow from one period to the next period. What's more important is that I only plan one activity, or I should say class of activity per period. The basic classes are, as you know, WORK (my job, and also housework), PLAY (skating), HOBBY (writing, and also the aforementioned systems work), and PASTIME (just having fun like going out or watching television). Now I will say, what this makes you good at is deprioritizing and jettisoning stuff that're going to trip you up; but it makes you sort of bad at being able to squeeze in little jobs in fifteen minutes here and there.

I actually draw out a master grid & if I'm lucky, it stays good for a whole season. Lots of times it's only good for two weeks. Every week I draw a weekly grid in my notebook, with whatever's different for this week, e.g., last week instead of Monday MOD Skate and Tuesday USA Speed, I had Derby Lite Park District and my niece's choral concert at the mall, and this week I'm a little bit sick and would have skipped Tuesday speed if it wasn't already cancelled and am skipping Wednesday strength circuit and taking the opportunity to watch Xmas movies with —gasp— non-derby friends. So you see what I'm saying about not adhering. But I'm wandering and not lost, because I still have my eye on that standard & can jump back on track at Thursday speed.

Going over my schedule week after week is very much returning to my center, and then well-armed into the whirlwind of the week. It's hard to answer whether it's a lot of work. I mean it's three hours a week, every week, working on my work plan. I mean, who has time for that?? But in a way, thinking about it like that makes it feel more like a time out. Then it seems like a luxury, as nice as a bath. Now that I'm thinking, I think this is why it's classified as HOBBY. Which is work that is play, something that is done as a means to an end that is an end in itself.

And actually HOBBY is also writing, and in a way reviewing and planning is also a kind of writing or, better, a kind of storytelling. It's telling myself, over and over, the story of my life. It keeps me on the same page with my life, I think that might be my definition of sanity—

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