Wasting Time

I had a lot I wanted to do today.

It’s my day off and Praxis Wednesday. This is my chance to do what I want all day, focus my time and energy on my projects.

I changed my plans this morning, though.

My boyfriend said he hadn’t slept at all last night and was trying to get off work early. He needed a ride. So I picked him up at work and then stayed at his house for a few hours. By the time I got home, I felt like I’d wasted some time that I could have used to write.

I want to finish my novel this year. To finish the first draft by July I need to write around or more than 500 words a day. I haven’t written any yet.

I want to read more, but I haven’t done any reading.

I have content to go through for Praxis this month. I read one article and watched one short video.

I wasted my time before the Praxis call, too. I was eating dinner, which I spent 30-40 minutes cooking when I got home, and instead of listening to the content, I browsed Facebook.

I still have time left in the day, sure, but I could have done more by now. I could have blown myself away by how productive I was. Instead I still haven’t done anything I planned to.

Mood, Productivity, and Sleep Schedules

I prefer to go to bed at midnight or later and get up around nine. Last night I went to bed at 7:30 pm and I got up today at 3 am.

I feel like a complete wreck. Sort of okay, but not quite right.

I went to bed earlier the two nights before to prepare as well as I could. Tuesday I didn’t have a choice but to stay up til about 11 because of my shift at work.

I closed and opened at work in the same few days. I could not keep a sleep schedule. That may not have helped me. I know I’m more of an afternoon/evening person. I agreed to work mornings at Panera, and to open today.

On top of feeling rather crazy this week (which I mention a bit here), I didn’t sleep well the last few days. I predicted that that would be the case yesterday, too.

Not getting enough sleep has made me more irritable, crabby, and unproductive. I’m worn out when I get home from work and I have my own work to do — Praxis, this blog, Over the Invisible Wall, everything I do before it comes to the blog.

If I can change my schedule, either by working different shifts at work or finding some freelance jobs, I can change this pattern.

Instead of feeling constantly tired and worn out, I can fit my body’s sleep preferences. I feel more energized when I sleep from 12 or 1 am to 8 or 9 am. I wake up faster and reach a point where I can be productive sooner. That means I can do more that day.

I’ve given myself a few lax days, not pushing myself to do a lot of work. I’ve been wearing myself out, and I need to stop.

I can change my patterns and be healthier and more productive. If you can identify your sleep and work preferences, so can you.

Productivity, Recap, and Accountability

This is partially part of the series Recap, but only loosely so. It will not have the structured Notes then Response sections. Instead, it will harken unto my previous post on productivity and what I learned and am implementing from two recorded Praxis Group Sessions with Amanda Grimmett.

[I do have one note. I avoid swearing, but in this case it was in the name of the workshop.]

Maximizing Your Output:

Have a plan for the day to have more focus and structure. At the end of the day write down what you did and what the next step is to decrease ramp-up time.

Have a list of priorities to return to when you get pulled in different directions so you know what to do when you get back.

Dedicate blocks of time to projects.

Ask bosses when they need a requested task done so you can prioritize it.

Getting Shit Done:

Dump, sort, work. List everything that needs done. Then sort tasks into categories and prioritize them. Then get to work.

Recommended online tools: Wunderlist, Trello, Asana, Monday, Swipe

Implementation:

notebook.JPG

I have a large notebook I bought at Walmart for $4 or $5 bucks. I write the date and day of the week, today’s time-specific obligations, and tomorrow’s time-specific obligations. Then I draw a line and write my to-do list. Everything after the to-do list is notes on what I’ve done, notes on live calls for Praxis, or sometimes notes on recorded Group Sessions as well.

to-do-list.jpg

Additionally, inspired by the GSD workshop, I reached out to my cohort, the participants who started Praxis at the same time as I did, to start an accountability group. We’ll push each other to meet our Praxis goals, both short term weekly goals and the long term whole bootcamp goals. We’ll also keep each other accountable to other goals we set for ourselves.

Recently I’ve had a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed at almost the same time every night and getting up at almost the same time.

I don’t always approach my work in an orderly fashion, doing a lot of task switching. Not in the middle of a task, unless I get stuck or otherwise need a break. Once I get into a groove, I can bust out most of my to-do list before I head to Walmart in the early afternoon. By switching tasks I can continue working without getting burnt out or bored by continuing to focus on one thing.

For example, I’ll work on blog posts for a while. Sometimes this is as simple as editing the notes and response I wrote for some content I consumed, as for Recap, or it’s more complicated, like My Birthday: A Reflection. Then I might switch to check in with the Over the Invisible Wall team to remind them of work that needs done so we stay on track and taking care of anything that they need me to do. Then I’ll switch to working on my Praxis deliverables or giving feedback on my cohorts’ deliverables.

“Productivity” (Poem)

This was written 2 August 2018.

Where has the time gone?

I ask, as though I don’t know.

It’s gone, been wasted,

I’ll never get that back,

y’know. Or do you?

How did you spend your time?

Do you wonder,

as I, where it’s gone?

Or are you better,

more disciplined,

more focused,

Productive?

No?

Then your problem

is the same as mine:

Spending time on fun

but also devoting

enough to what needs done.

Improving Productivity

First, this is simply what I am trying to increase my productivity and get more done, specifically for my writing.

Between working two jobs, writing for Over the Invisible Wall, and keeping this blog posting every day, I feel really busy. At the same time, I don’t think I’m spending enough time writing or generally working on my creative projects. A lot of my free time is whiled away on the internet, especially Discord. Chatting with my friends is great, but I want to direct more of my time to good use.

Recently, I was late for work for the second time in almost a year. I forgot when I worked and left home when I was supposed to be signed in. I have my schedule in my phone with calendar alerts so I can’t forget. But I still forgot. So I bought a large journal from Walmart for about $5 and I’ve been writing down when I work the current day, when I work tomorrow, and a to-do list. Anything I don’t finish goes to the next day’s list.

I also started getting up an hour and a half earlier every day. I was staying up late and getting up at about 10 am. I decided to change that so I’d have more time before I left for work to write or get other things done. Now I’m getting up closer to 8:30 and I hope to change that to 8 once I adjust better.

Even with this, I still feel unsatisfied with my creative output, but I’m only just establishing a habit of it. I’m forcing myself to write a poem every day. Some of them have been unsatisfactory because I didn’t have an idea for a poem but I wrote one anyway. At some point it will be better and I’ll get ideas when I go to write because I’m programming myself to be that way.

I’ve only just started, but I think this, making a list, checking things off, getting up earlier, etc. will help me be more productive and finish more in shorter amounts of time.