Wednesday, March 6, 2013

a perfect day

Pencil tips
photo by Dvortygirl
When thinking about how to better manage your time, it's critical that you know how you'd actually like to spend your time in the first place. We all have obligations, but we may have some control over how we go about checking things off our to-do lists.

Try this: 
Think about your typical day. Make it a work day, whatever that means to you (a day you go to the office, a day you have the kids, a day you set aside to write, a day you have class). How would you most like to "tackle" your agenda on that day; and what self-care activities would bookend your to-dos?

On a typical work day, I'm in the office for about 8 hours. During that time, I meet students, attend meetings, facilitate workshops, manage a team, create communication pieces, plan events, and of course follow through on "other duties as assigned." When I'm not in the office, I want to spend my energies focusing on my home and family. My ideal day (within the constraints of my somewhat traditional 9 to 5 career) looks like this:

5:30am Yoga and meditation
6:15am Prep for the day
6:30am Wake, feed and play with my son
7:30am Commute
8:00am Student appointments
9:00am Catch up on email; define my action plan for the day
10:00am Work and planning meetings with supervisor, team or colleagues
12:00pm Eat, write, blog, check-in at home
1:00pm Open office hours for impromptu student meetings
3:00pm Wrap-up, return calls, prep for the day ahead
4:00pm Commute
4:30pm Catch up with husband and son, attend to housework as necessary
6:00pm Dinner
7:00pm Evening routine with son (read, clean toys, bathe, prep for bed)
8:00pm Downtime with husband (read, watch television, knit etc.)
10:00pm Bathe and prep for bed
11:00pm Sleep

That's my perfect work-day, again within the constraints of a 9-5 job. It doesn't always happen. Some days, I'm called upon to respond to the unexpected needs of my supervisor, team or students; some nights my toddler fights going to bed. But knowing how, in an ideal world, my day should look, provides a certain amount of structure and routine. I also think it reflects my values - it shows that at the core I'm a wife, a mom and an educator. I don't make time for friends on a typical day. Yes, my friends are important but at this stage in my life I really have to calendar them in, because meeting folks for an impromptu drink after work isn't realistic. But things might be different for you, given your needs, values and responsibilities. And that's okay. It's not about what's right or wrong- but rather how you simply want to define your daily life.