I’m a firm believer that if you find a strategy that works for you, KEEP DOING IT.
Then, if possible, see how you can utilise that winning strategy in other ways.
It’s January 9, 2019, and I thought I’d share a little experiment I’m doing to see if I can manage my time more productively.
Clearly, filling in charts works for me. 2019 is the third year I’ve been tracking my spending using my handy-dandy “No Spend Days” chart that I’ve blogged about before.
This year, I thought I’d use the same ‘colouring in’ type of chart to map other areas of my life that I want to improve in. At the end of every day, I’ll log onto the cloud and add that day’s totals to the chart. At the end of the week, I get to colour-in every square that has a full week’s worth of completed tasks.
I know… it sounds stupid and babyish, but the visual reward seems to work for me. So last week I began to fill in the chart every night. It only takes 2 seconds.
After a few days of doing this, I added an important modification.
What if I have a really busy day and some of the tasks simply can’t get done? That’s hugely de-motivating for the rest of the week. No way to earn success by colouring-in. 🙁
So I added the yellow to mark the squares where I only missed by one day.
I think this is important. I can just see myself writing off the entire week because I didn’t get home from work till 8PM on a Monday night, for example, and I couldn’t do anything in the garden or walk the dogs. This chart is meant to get me doing things, not giving me the excuse to sign off altogether! So I get a second chance with the yellow.
Theoretically, I could award myself a kaleidoscope of colours, but I want to hold myself accountable, so I figure one day’s grace in each task should be enough.
Here are the tasks broken down with a bit more detail:
- Write every day. This is linked with column number 2. These posts take a long time to write and so if I’m going to hit my target I’ll have to be far more disciplined with when I try and contact my muses. Only writing when I ‘feel like it’ isn’t a good strategy.
- Post 3 times a week. This is hard to do with the full-time job. Those pesky students demand that their teacher actually engages with them and teaches them stuff. Outrageous! Hence the need for column number 1.
- Walk dogs. My long commute has meant that some days I get home and feel too tired to take the dogs out. Poppy, Jeff and Scout deserve better. I knew that this was going to be a goal of mine in 2019, so I bought a dedicated dog walking bag from America. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s very sturdy. I figure it’ll probably see out these puppers so it’s a good investment. Everything I need is in it – I just have to grab it and go. If I can remove any barriers to getting tasks done, then it’s worth it.
- No junk food. It may be hard for some of you to imagine, but although Frogdancer Jones may write like a skinny girl, she’s actually the tubbiest she’s ever been. To be honest, it’s probably wine that’s the main culprit here but I’m not ready to deal with ditching the shiraz just yet. Junk food is next. This is easy to cut out in the holidays, but I’m wondering how I’ll go during term time… Blogless Brock has a desk just across from mine and he has what he calls “The Milk Bar”, which is a set of large glass jars full of different lollies. He hands them out to anyone in need of a quick ‘pick me up’. Unfortunately, he hates green snakes while I LOVE them. This is going to be a big test of my character once school starts again.
- Clean. I hate housework. I could never understand why until I read an article that explained why Virgos love order but hate cleaning. It’s because we love to do a job properly right at the start, so that it never has to be re-done. Cleaning definitely doesn’t fit that bill! I keep my house very tidy, but if I have a spare hour free, I’m going to elect to spend it reading a book rather than getting out the Spray and Wipe and giving the kitchen benches a good going over just for the sake of it. So I get the boys to do it in lieu of paying me board, or I invite people over for dinner. THEN I’ll clean like crazy! So I need to do a little something every day to get myself into the habit.
- Garden. This one is easier for me to do, but I was still noticing that my front yard was looking a bit raggedy. I decided that if I take care of one task a day, (watering the veggies doesn’t count!), then the overall job of maintaining the look of The Best House in Melbourne will be much easier.
- Read a book. I don’t mean a whole book! I didn’t make my Goodreads goal of reading 80 books last year – I fell short by 7 – but I would have easily hit that target if I wasn’t reading so many blogs, tweets and FB entries. I have to remind myself to chip away at that goal. To be honest, this one is probably the easiest one of all for me. I’m addicted to reading.
Anyway, there it is. I’m interested to see if using the chart will give me the motivation to kick some goals with these goals.
Let’s see if the old saying is true – “If it gets measured, it gets managed!”