If my friend Laura were still with us, and she could’ve spent her birthday today following someone around just to get material for her next comedic essay, she might’ve picked me. How might she describe this mess of a thing I laughingly called a schedule today? I wish she were here to write it, but I’m going to try and tell it like I think she might have told it.
Before I launch into all that, because I’m as likely as not to forget it if I don’t ask now even though I did put it in the title: would y’all sign my petition? I want to change the name of “work out” to “work in” because, if I manage to get any exercise on any given day, it’s just because I worked it in. And usually that results in my schedule not really working out.
As with many a splendored thing, this new schedule I’ve put together for 2014 looks great on paper. My first priority is writing, and I have rededicated myself to one project in particular (some of y’all who know me are thinking, She means re-rededicated). It seems like everybody and her brother has a “strategic plan” these days, so I came up with one of those to help me accomplish my 2014 goals. You should know I have certain personal challenges which are relevant to this discussion: I am not a morning person and even when I wake up early, I cannot be sure I am a fully functioning human until about 10:00 a.m.; I do not multi-task, and I tell myself that multi-tasking is the work of the devil so I can feel better about not doing it; I am a slave to lists, so much so that if I veer from the day’s list, I will make another list just so I can catalog and check off the things I actually did do – some people call that a diary, but, whatever. I’m also one of those people who gets more things done the more things I have to do.
So. Because of that last thing I mentioned up there, I thought concocting a daily schedule with “extra” things To Do built into it would be a great help to me! Let that simmer for a minute… . When I say “extra things to do” though, I don’t mean the kinds of things someone else actually would need me to finish or follow through on! I’m talking about minor things that don’t matter to anyone else but me. So, in addition to working on what I lovingly refer to as “that damn novel,” I also came up with 26 two-week long projects to do in 2014 (I call them “Fortnight Projects” because I was an English major, thank you). On paper, I devote exactly 1 1/2 hours of my weekday mornings to these extra projects.
Some of them are fun – like the one I’m on now – it’s the reclamation of a 40 year old embroidery project I started when I was about 12. “Fun” can be a bad thing, however, because then one may work longer than the hour and a half allotted for pursuing that task, and that throws one’s Master Schedule, that is on paper, out of whack. Then, too, some of these extra items consist of unfinished/”needs fixing” things around the house – the type of thing that sucks all the peace out of one’s soul. “Sucks” is the key word in that last sentence. “Sucks” can be bad because it’s hard doing stuff one doesn’t like to do just because one should do it, and one knows it’s going to be hard, or one would’ve done it before now. Like updating the Holiday Cards address “list’ that isn’t a list at all, but just a Frankensteined mess of papers, printed from a circa 2000 Palm Pilot, plus copies of addresses sent in a dozen different emails, plus handwritten scribbles on the backs of grocery lists and receipts dictated to me over the phone by my mother or someone who actually had the address I was looking for, plus torn off return address labels – you get the drift. When it comes to a “sucks” project, it may take one longer to complete it than one thought it would take. Like, “fortnight” won’t cut it if one spends the first 10 days of that particular Fortnight procrastinating starting the Project! Don’t ask me how I know that. That “Clean out the garage” Fortnight Project may already be doomed.
So here’s how today went down: I wake up at dawn. This isn’t like me. Now I’m thinking, I didn’t fall asleep until 2:00! Why am I awake? I should go back to sleep. But I don’t feel sleepy. How much sleep is too little? I should Google it. I grab my iPad which is on the bedside table and Google it. Ten minutes later, I’m watching a video of some know-it-all “sleep doctor” who is basically telling night owls like me we shouldn’t be night owls, and giving us tips on how to stop being ourselves. What does he know? I should go back to sleep though. But think how much more I could get done if I got up now! At this point, I have forgotten completely that, no matter what time I get out of bed, I am not a fully functioning human being until 10:00 a.m. I stay in bed, wide awake worrying about something called my “basal sleep to sleep debt ratio” until 7:40 a.m. I get up, feed the dog, let the dog out, check Zite, make some coffee, keep reading Zite… more coffee…
8:20 a.m. – The alarm on my phone goes off! Hah! I’m sure I’ve already done whatever I was supposed to do at 8:20 a.m. But now I’m thinking, I feel a little sleepy. Some other stuff happens, I think.
9:30 a.m. – The alarm on my phone goes off! Oh, no. What am I supposed to be doing now? Probably making a list of what I’m going to do next. I probably did that, I think, but that isn’t what that alarm was for (yesterday’s list confirms that!). Now I am pretty sleepy.
10:00 a.m. – The alarm on my phone goes off! Time to start the Fortnight Project! I have to try and get these rust stains out of this cotton fabric square without messing up the yarn. Hmmm. That’s going to have to soak for 2 hours, but that’s more time than I’m supposed to spend on the project. And what am I going to do while I’m waiting? I could go for my run. But first I should Google ways to incorporate this embroidery thing into a pillow sham or a bag or something else like that that I’m not very good at doing. …
11:30 a.m.- The alarm on my phone goes off! Time to quit the Fortnight Project! What a cute pillow idea … I should have gone for my run. I have some free time before I’m supposed to start on the damn novel, but I’m supposed to eat lunch and do a couple other things on a separate list (an off-the-books list). But it sure would be nice to get that run out of the way. At this point, I’m paralyzed by fear of screwing up the schedule. Ah, hell. I’m going to run. I’ll take Moose and get him some leash-training too! I have forgotten completely that I do not multi-task. I change clothes, put my contacts in, find my running sunglasses, find my running hat, change into warmer clothes, set a Genius playlist on my phone, change the playlist, change the playlist again, find the leash, find the other leash, set the Boss Timer on my phone, put my phone in the armband, put the leash on the dog, hit Start on the Boss Timer, lock the door, and we’re off. 13 minutes into the run (which consists of intervals of 3 minutes running to 1 minute walking, after a 5 minute warm up walk), I’m thinking, Moose, man, you’re great on the running part, but you’re killing me on the walking part! You run straight with me, staying at my side, not pulling the leash at all, but as soon as we walk, you’re weaving like a bike that’s about to fall because it’s going too slow! What is that – is that centrifugal force? I should Google that later. I decide to take Moose back to the house and finish the second half of the run alone. I get Moose squared away at home, hit the pavement again, and
12:25 p.m.- The alarm on my phone goes off! Ugh! I knew I should’ve run earlier! Now I’m going to be late starting the day’s real work! I’m supposed to be at my desk writing right now! I finish my run and am starving, but I have forgotten completely that I have my embroidery piece covered with a solution of salt and lime juice – just on the stains – and it needs to be rinsed. Dammit! The stains didn’t come out! I work on it some more after I feed Moose his lunch. I work on it some more before I even think about fixing my lunch. Ugh! The time! Well, I’ll just have a quick lunch, shower later, and work overtime.
Which I did do, more or less, and the alarm on my phone went off 3 more times – 2 just to remind me to stand up at my desk and stretch (which I did not do), and one to remind me to take medicine I don’t even take anymore. I should delete that alarm. I didn’t touch anything on the off-the-books list, and I still haven’t had a shower (or dinner!), but I’m a night owl, so I still have time for some of those things, Mr. know-it-all Sleep Doctor!
Seriously, the damn novel is the thing, and, somehow that word count goes up every day!! Please, lord, let me get this first draft completed so I can begin straightaway taking some of those lousy words right back out of the thing (it’s called ‘revision!’). Then I’ll have time to finish some of these half-done Fortnight Projects that I have a feeling will still be lying around on a list somewhere come December. Also, don’t wake me up too early tomorrow – the Master Schedule gets whack when I get too ambitious before I’m a fully functioning human…
[I actually spent the afternoon writing a serious and very unpleasant scene. I wrote this silliness as an attempt to shake that off, and because it’s Laura’s birthday, and because she really knew how to make folks laugh at days like this one. I would have loved to have seen the look on her face as I explained this new schedule to her! She would have laughed her Laura laugh at me – and I would have laughed with her. She is so missed by so many. Happy Birthday, dear girl.]