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On making time and breaking habits.

For 5 or more years now, my kids have slept in while I enjoy 2 or more hours of quiet and blogging and planning and coffee before I face the world. This is how I like life…with a quiet buffer to start my day. But two years ago we got a damn dog who thinks if I’m up in the morning, I should be playing with/scratching him.

It’s not every morning that he pulls me into his world and out of mine, only the mornings that he wakes up with me. So I do this thing where I try to brew coffee and make my cup in the dark so I can then find places to hide away to work on my laptop without waking him up.

EXCEPT that we downsized into a house with no extra rooms so there’s only two options for escape: The hall bathroom or the hall closet where the water heater is.

So, if I’m really wanting to get a blog post written, or do something on the computer, you can find me either sitting next to a toilet or next to a giant bag of dog food.

This morning I’m in the water heater closet with the dog food.

I haven’t blogged much this week because settling back into “reality” after New York was trickier than I expected. The kids needed help getting back into their “normal” routines and out of the habits they build when being cared for by their older brother and their grandmother. Donnie also was sick and there’s other stuff going on that interrupted my sleep and basically it was just a week of chaotic mornings and so finally, this Sunday morning, I thought, I’m going to try to blog.

Which is why I’m currently sitting on a dog bed and leaning on a wrapping paper holder.

(This closet is the only “real” storage space we have in the house. It’s basically where everything that isn’t in the garage lives.)

And of course I use this coveted time in quiet while my dog is still sleeping to blog about how hard it is to find time to blog in the mornings with a dog who demands attention once he knows I’m awake.

I’m trying to set aside time for specific tasks and force myself to focus on those tasks without the constant distractions of my phone and the social media apps on it. I realized recently that even when I’m working on a website for my freelance work, or doing some writing, or even watching some TV, I seem to have this 15 minute limit to how long before I have to just check instagram or Twitter or something. I don’t spend but a minute on it, but it’s this weird tick I’ve developed that I noticed even when I was reading yesterday. I had been reading about 15 minutes when suddenly I pulled myself out of my book to check my phone.

So, I’m doing time blocking now. NOT FOR FUCKING PRODUCTIVITY. I have decided talk of productivity is now ranked as high as talk of diets and weightloss in terms of: TOPICS THAT MAKE ME FEEL THE RAGE OF 1,000 DYING SUNS. I don’t want to see articles about how to be more productive any more than I want to see articles about how to “avoid the holiday weightgain.”

BUT! I’m doing timeblocking as a way to break myself of that “tick” of constantly checking my phone. I’ve been leaving it charging in my bedroom when I’m cooking or…oh no…

I’ve been discovered.

Welp. He heard me in here and found me alongside the shipping boxes and the craft supplies. I sent him off with something he’s not allowed to chew on so I have a few more minutes of solitude.

(Also, I totally picked up my phone to take that picture. I AM TERRIBLE AT BREAKING BAD HABITS.)

Anyway…my point. I’m going to do timeblocking, not for productivity, but to retrain my brain to do things WITHOUT the compulsive phone checking before I become one of those people who even looks at it at dinner with my family which I thankfully don’t do…often.

I’m going to go bullet journal and go to the grocery store and I’m going to really try to be aware of how focused I am on each task and not reaching for my phone in 10-15 minute increments for no real reason.

3 thoughts on “On making time and breaking habits.”

  1. I need a nap that will only let me unlock my phone every hour! I do the same as you even when reading. I annoy myself!

  2. I picked up the book Power of Habit because my friend said that her son who chewed his nails for years stopped after reading the book and using the techniques. It was quite interesting and I ended up reading the whole thing (talks about habits of groups and cultures too.)
    Anyway…bottom line–you don’t “give up” a habit–it needs to be replaced. So you need to find something else that meets the same need in your brain and when you get the phone trigger…you do the new thing instead. I also agree that keeping your phone as far away from yourself as possible as often as possible is helpful 🙂

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