Friday, September 9, 2011

What I'm Doing with What I Learned

Earlier this week I recapped my experience being on my own for a couple weeks.  I had some expectations going into it, and I sort of surprised myself.  Looking back, I'm mostly disappointed I didn't make more out of my quiet time (see my note about TV watching), but since I was still doing something I enjoyed and feel passionate about I'm trying to appreciate what I did do with my time.

This week, I've tried to carry some things over in order to try to maintain the momentum that I had last week.  I developed some micro-actions and so far I'm pretty satisfied with my progress.

1. I take 15 minutes to myself when I get home.

When I get home from work, I am sometimes overwhelmed with a list of things I want to accomplish with my evening.  Sometimes just the act of walking in the door reveals a list I hadn't even imagined (the smell of soiled litter boxes, the garbage bins overflowing, the living room in disarray, a stream of dirty laundry littering the bedroom floor/bed/bathroom).  My only thought is on relaxing.  I make myself lie down and set the timer for 15 minutes so I can just relax.  Sometimes I may nap.  Sometimes I listen to Jeff talk about his day.  Sometimes I read.  Sometimes I stare at the ceiling and think about my day and what I want to do next.  Whatever I'm doing, I'm reclined and taking time to transition from my work life to my home life.  Last night, Jeff wanted to have dinner ready when I got home, but I stuck to my 15 minute plan (and I felt a million times better for it).  I felt a little guilty about it, but the boys have plenty of snacks available to tide them over until I'm ready for dinner, too.

Making a conscious decision to take time to slow down and be present after a busy or stressful day has been the biggest benefit to me overall.  I feel much more focused and balanced in the evening.

2. I do my house chores immediately after dinner.

Right after dinner before all the food has dried onto plates and kitchen surfaces is the best time to clean up.  It only takes a few minutes and I can usually get one or both the boys to help me with the process (making it even quicker).  Usually right after dinner everyone breaks to do their own thing, so it's the perfect time for me to be on task and without too many distractions to pick up the house, take out the garbage, and clean the cat boxes.  Since Jeff is still getting used to his new job and schedule, he isn't able to help out as much around the house, but it hasn't been too much of a burden on me with my after dinner clean up plan.  I actually work a little more efficiently when he is out of my way!

It only takes me 15, 20 minutes at most, and soon I can relax in an orderly home rather than fuming about the long list of to-dos that I'm overwhelmed with.

3. When I'm done with everything, I do what I want to do with my time, rather than what I think I should do.  And enjoy every moment of it.

Aside from work and chores, I always have a ready supply of projects I have committed to either to myself or to others.  Because I am not feeling overwhelmed by what *needs* to be done, I appreciate my commitments a lot more.  I'm finding more enjoyment in my projects, even though they may be considered "work."  I work on what I feel motivated to work on rather than what I think I *should* do.  Otherwise, I have noticed I will develop resentment for a project and find that I'm not able to give it the attention it needs or deserves.  Sometimes this means I'm not making the progress I would like to on some things, but if I'm not enjoying the time I'm spending doing it then it's not worth my time.

Maintaining passion for how I spend my time is a priority in and of itself rather than the specific project it drives.  Even if that means "wasting time" on the couch watching a talent competition on television with my love.  Plus it gives my cats good lap time opportunities, and there's nothing bad about that.

I realize there are going to be days where I can't spend 15 minutes relaxing.  I may not be able to get to the chores right away after dinner.  Some nights I'll have to do something out of obligation rather than desire.  My hope is that I keep the real priorities in mind and maintain a balanced life overall.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I really like your idea of taking the 15 minutes to yourself to unwind for the day. I might implement that into my own schedule! :)