Keeping An Eye On The Clock.

Today feels like the first day of the next – unknown – phase of my life. The last few years have been a series of big life challenges after big life challenges. We started trying to downsize in early 2014 and eventually followed two different painful attempts to sell our too-big house. I kinda break those down into: House Sale Attempt #1 and House Sale Attempt #2 even though there were long pieces of renovation/repair in and around those two attempts that probably deserve their own bolded title.

Then, finally in the end of 2016 we got an offer on our house and moved into a 900 square foot apartment. That phase, the Apartment Months, was a different kind of challenging because it also involved looking for a new house so it seamlessly bled into Buying and Renovating a New House which bled into Moving Into New House which bled into the kid’s Year of the New Schools and New Routines which bled into Kim’s Layoff which happened 2 months before Kim’s Mom Loses Her License For Medical Reasons for 6 Months And Kim Starts Dividing Her Time Between Two States To Help Her. 

That brings us to today. Mom got her license back yesterday. 

Every single one of those phases involved portions of emotional chaos that I didn’t write about here. I look at each of those bolded titles – especially the most recent one – and I flash to all of the therapy sessions I had to use to cope with mental-health crisis that inevitably occurred with each of those. None of these things were easy for my fragile mental state and some were harder than others. I will say, the last six months were especially easier with the help of my brother and childhood friends who I felt could counsel me without judgement because they saw me through all of my terrible phases through my teen and college years where I was The Queen Of Shitty and they still loved me. So, with the help of geography and being back in my hometown so often, I figured they could handle me through some of my most recent emotional trauma. And they did. And saved me therapy dollars in the process.

If you listened to me emotionally vomit on you in the last six months? Thank you. And I’m sorry.

So today I feel like I woke up with just the regular amount of life chaos. Kids entering puberty and the emotional chaos that ensues. A dog with major behavioral issues. A home with a back yard in need of major repair. A book I need to write. A bookstore I want to open. (Anyone got any advise on that one?) Laundry. Dishes. Etc. 

But I realized this morning that – without a schedule of how to manage my limited time home in Huntsville, I could easily waste the time on the internet reading opinion pieces about sexual politics and climate change. I could read twitter feeds about the chances of us trying to wrangle control of maybe ONE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT in the next election. I could watch YouTube videos about recycling and personal accountability. And suddenly? My day would be gone.

I could also spend all day organizing the garage or the kitchen. There are tons of domestic things I’ve been putting off because I’m never home for more than 2-3 days at a time. I could clean floors and bathrooms and the day would be gone. I could meal plan or launder bedding. There are tons of ways I could start one domestic chore and still not be caught when it was time to get the kids.

I could spend all day trying to finish reading the book I’m really into right now. Or writing the one I’m dreaming about each night.

But the problem is, I don’t want to waste any day doing any ONE thing. I want to break up my day in such a way that I’m making progress on ALL the things in some capacity without feeling like I got super-absorbed in ONE thing all day and did nothing else. It’s been so long since I’ve had time to manage that I want to MANAGE IT WELL. 

So, I decided I would just keep an eye on the clock. I would try not to do any one type of activity for more than an hour. I want to be able to feel like I made incremental progress in all aspects of my life, but I don’t want to do time blocking or anything because I find that is hard to work with in my brain where in some minutes I’m in the mood to do laundry, and other minutes I’m in the mood to read. So I’m going to follow my moods for a bit this week since the kids are on Fall Break and I can progress through my day without too many afternoon or evening obligations. I’ll just try to make sure I don’t read or play on the internet or spend time organizing the garage – for more than an hour or so at a time.

We’ll see how that works for me. We’ll see if I make progress on the book. Or the book store. Or the garage. Or the laundry. If I make progress on all of it? Then I’m winning at life and I deserve some bonus bullet journaling supplies as a reward.

2 Comments

  • Roseann Wintringham

    Here’s some assvice. I am on medical leave and noticed I’ve been wasting whole days doing not much of anything. I found this: https://youtu.be/2BKuSlstIBM and while twee, the concepts have helped. I’ve blocked times off in my bullet journal to indicate what my focus is for that time and that has helped me tremendously.
    Other than that, I’m glad your life is settling back into its familiar rhythms and you’re back in one place for longer than 3 days at a time.

  • Lucy McConville

    Congratulations on your emancipation from being Mom’s chauffeur! I always kind of wondered if it wouldn’t have been the same, cost wise, if you just gave her the money you spent on gas driving back and forth all those months and let her Uber to work… But, in any case, it is over now and you get to take your life back! Woot! I think your plan sounds good. I would add making a concrete list for each day…not time blocking where you have to accomplish each listed item at a certain time, but just something to which you can refer and cross out when completed so you get a visual of your accomplishments, or things not accomplished. If day after day a certain category is not attempted or completed…might be a clue that is not a priority to you. Then you can either decide to put it on the back burner for a few months, or hire someone else to do it. My two cents from my own experience with similar situations.