A couple of my friends commented on my life timetable that I posted about earlier this week. I think, in a polite way, they were trying to tell me that I was quite mad and it was all very anal retentive (a term which I hate, by the way).
Well, I’ve been following it for a week now, and I couldn’t be happier. The timetable isn’t so much about having to do certain things at certain times. Its more about working out where my time goes, and allowing time for the important things.
The way I look at it, we have a finite amount of time, just as we have a finite amount of money. We don’t buy everything we want all the time, because we are conscious that we need our money to stretch to cover all our living expenses as well as saving for important things.
I look at time the same way. I want to be mindful of how I spend my time to ensure I have saved time for the important things and the necessary things.
It’s been working well.
This week, in addition to working full days, I have managed to fit in some form of exercise every day, meals were cooked, dishes were washed, housework and laundry was done. I also managed to completely empty my in-tray, paid all my bills, responded to various personal emails that were awaiting my attention, made good headway on sorting out my tax forms and getting some medical expenses reimbursed from my health insurance company… I could go on, but you get the picture. I’ve also been reading books, kept this blog up to date, been out to dinner, had drinks with colleagues and arranged a couple of social events for the coming weeks.
In short, I’ve managed to achieve everything I wanted to achieve – I’ve been enormously productive and efficient, and I’ve been able to maintain the balance in my life – I haven’t had to abandon or negelct something or someone I love just to get by.
The thing is, the timetable is flexible – but it shows how much time I actually NEED to maintain each area of my life. On Thursday, I ended up staying late at work and having a drink with a colleague. This cut into the time I had allocated for looking after some of my home paper work (that inbox I was telling you about) as well as writing the blog, and going to the pub quiz with some friends.
Because I knew that staying for a drink would cost me these activities, I simply switched them around on my timetable. I went into work half an hour later and caught up on the paperwork I mentioned. I didn’t feel the need to catch up on blogging, and it didn’t really matter that I was late to the quiz. We are all late from time to time.
So, no – I don’t think I’m being ‘anal retentive’. If I let the timetable rule my life that would be different. If I refused to eat lunch until the designated time, or have a drink with a colleague because that was the time I’d set aside for paperwork, then it would be a problem. Instead, because I have a greater grasp on what I need to do, I can make informed choices. If something comes along that disrupts my schedule, I can decide if its worth the disruption. And if it is, I can make a plan to restore the schedule in some other way.
Oh – and I lost two kilos as well! Making time for exercise seems to be working.