March 26, 2013

Boredom Breakthrough

Not all that long ago, I blogged about being bored with my day-to-day life. While that boredom still lingers, I have found something that is making me ridiculously happy with even the most mundane aspects of my day. It's kind of funny actually:

ROUTINE

Wait. What? Sounds kind of backwards, right? Not really when you consider that much of my boredom stems from lack of productivity. Up until recently, I found I was doing a lot of nothing and accomplishing very little of anything. I'd make countless rounds of the social media circuit*—the blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram (lately), sometimes Pinterest, repeat—think about writing (often that's as far as it went), read, read, read (which is great, but I can't do it all the time), spend too much time watching mediocre TV, and just generally frittering away my day. Life is too short to waste time like that.

Yeah. My days were about as exciting and fulfilling as this.
This past Christmas, I received a day timer.  I've always loved a good day timer, but I haven't been diligent about using one since university. Who knew that something so simple could be the answer to this problem of idleness? Okay, probably everyone, but that's not the point. For the past couple of weeks I've been scheduling my day as best I can, just for the sheer joy of crossing items off my list. Anybody who is an avid list-maker (like me) knows how satisfying this is. The issue before was not a lack of things to do, but one of allowing the silly and not so important things to crowd out the important. Embracing routine of all things has single-handedly pulled me from the funk** that I've found myself in for weeks, even months now.

With the help of my day-timer, I'm finding time for all of this fun stuff:
•  Writing → my 300 words a day for Jess and much more (I'm closing in on a finished first draft)
•  Reading → beta-reading for a friend (awesome story, BTW), a current release, and a classic (concurrently)
•  Querying → I'm using 'fun' loosely here.
•  Drumming → I've managed to learn and play from memory the mass band scores I need to know.
•  Social Media → in moderation (right now my favourites are Tumblr and Instagram)
•  other things as they crop up (appointments, social engagements, housework...)

It's amazing how much more I get out of my day now, which is good because suddenly I feel really busy. There's nothing quite like climbing into bed at night and feeling like you've accomplished something, like you're that much closer to being on top of things.We all have stuff we want out of life, but none of them can happen when we sit around letting life pass us by.

How about you? Do you find scheduling your life helps? How do you feel about routine?


* This has reached new heights of ridiculous. Fat must be trimmed.
** Sorry, Erin.

25 comments:

  1. I know what you mean--I love being able to cross things off a list. I'm a scheduler, too.
    I'm having a related-but-opposite problem right now in that a never-ending move has thrown my regular routine into havoc. I'm looking forward to when I can get back to normal (and away from panicked speed-packing).

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    1. It's weird, but crossing things off a list is one of my favourite motivators. (I suppose that's better than rewarding myself with fatty food, right?) That's how I forced myself to read THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO in university. Knowing that there are things left on my list at the end of the day drives me nuts, so tackling them becomes all-consuming (but in a good way).

      When do you guys move? I hope it's over soon so you can settle back into a normal routine. :)

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  2. I'm the same way - I have one of those giant desk calendars and it's so satisfying to have a block of crossed off tasks at the end of each day.

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    1. My desk is so covered with other things, a giant desk calendar would always be buried. ;) But no matter how you do it, crossing off tasks is always tons of fun!

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  3. The days I feel most like I've accomplished something are the days I've set myself a list of things I want to accomplish. Sounds stupidly simple, but so often I've found I have a chunk of time and a gazillion things to do... and I don't know where to begin. So I waste time trying to decide what to do, and sometimes end up doing nothing. If I set myself a goal (e.g., this evening I'm going to pick these three things to work on, and I accomplish those things), I end the day feeling like I've done something with my time. And it's more than a feeling (how many of you have Boston in your head now? Bwahahaha...)--I've actually *have* done something with my time!

    Self discipline is really tough, especially with so many distractions around us today. Anything we do that helps us focus and make good use of the precious, few, and fleeting moments we have on this planet is a good thing. :)

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    1. This is exactly like me, it's kind of funny actually. I have time on my hands and stuff to do, but I don't know where to start so I accomplish nothing. It's ridiculously simple to just make a to-do list, and yet this feels like a total eureka moment for me. :) And yes, I totally had Boston in my head. :P

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  4. I love love love crossing things off a list. And my to-do list really helps me stay focused :D I promise you a looong email with an update soon! Still in the moving madness...Crossing my fingers it will calm down after this weekend :D
    And YAY for your boredom breakthrough <3 Glad you´re enjoying your time more AND being more productive :D

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    1. There's something weirdly satisfying about crossing things off, isn't there? Glad I'm not the only weirdo. ;) Can't wait for your email. We've missed you around lately. Hope your move goes smoothly so you can get back to your usual routine. :)

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  5. I love your "querying - I'm using fun loosely here" And the whole feeling of crossing items off the list, it really is cathartic :)

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    1. Quering = so not fun. But I'm sure I don't need to tell *anyone* that. :P I don't know what it is about crossing things off, but it's just such a great motivator!

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  6. Perhaps I should be horrified by your abuse of my last name, but seeing as Trev used "funk" the same way just the other day, I think I can let it slide. ;)

    Lately, I've been crossing things off my never-ending list with coloured pens. The rainbow effect is fun and makes me want to finish tasks. I know, I know. That sounds like something that would motivate a third grader, but whatever works. Love that cat picture. He's so chubby, I just wanna squish him!

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    1. You are more than welcome to take pot-shots at 'Fink' whenever you want. In fact, I invite it. :P

      I do not scoff at your rainbow pen method in any way. That's the kind of thing I would do for fun, which I'm sure you know. Now, if you had a chart with gold stars, THEN I might mock you. And as for the chubby cat, nobody can resist bubsy chubsing a chubby cat. ;)

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  7. I'm a list maker and I love routines, too. But I ADORE paying online. Which means I also waste a ton of time and get frazzled when I haven't crossed stuff off my list. ;)

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    1. I remember when it was only the blogs and Twitter that distracted me. Now the list has gotten embarrassingly long. :/ The instant I draw a blank on what to write next...I end up online doing this or that. It's pretty bad, actually. So far I've been pretty good about doing the tasks on my list, but I know that won't always be the case. Guess I should make the most of it now, right? :)

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  8. List making....the answer to all. :) Glad your boredom got a breakthrough, Jaime!! Maybe you can add "SPRING" to that list? Cause it's not here yet as I'm sure you know.... Brrrr! :P

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    1. Lists are the best! And I wish adding spring to my list would work. Though, it's actually very nice here today. I suppose I shouldn't say that too loudly, or I might scare it away. :)

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  9. I pretend that I'm spontaneous and a gypsy but, to be honest, I love scheduling things. I love lists and crossing things off. I get excited about organizing things and my life. I completely understand where you are coming from.

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    1. I'm not very spontaneous, I have to admit. I like scheduling stuff just for the sheer joy of crossing it off. :) I love organization too, but you would never know it to look at my desk right now. Kind of a mess. :/

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  10. I think I need a day timer! I'm naturally not very organized, so I'm more productive when I have to adhere to a schedule - usually one that's imposed upon me by something outside myself (like work or grad school).

    What Colin said is oh, so familiar! Having so much to do you sit around trying to decide which to get to first and then you end up doing nothing. The comp sucks me in really easily too.

    Sounds like it's time to start scheduling!

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    1. I find it useful at the start of my day (or the day before) to lay out what I want to accomplish and to try to be realistic about it. That has been most helpful. Colin hit the nail right on the head. I'm so guilty of this. :)

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  11. Scheduling things as such tends to be difficult for me since sometimes I don't know if I'm working a certain day until a couple hours before (the joys of being a substitute teacher), but like you, I started making a to do list every day just so I can cross things off...because I got stuck in that same rut, too, and as a result, it's a week and a half past the deadline I set for myself on this revision and it's still. not. done. (I'm hoping downloading Mac Freedom will help with that, heh.)

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    1. Yes, I can see how that would be really difficult as a sub. I suppose it would mostly work on days you weren't working. I guess it's all about finding what motivates you. For me, that's crossing items off a list. For some people, it's getting to read, eat a cupcake, do something fun. :)

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  12. I mostly schedule my life around my daughter's schedule. School days are for writing/blogging/revising/working, and her guitar and gymnastics lessons are my reading time. If I don't putter around on the internets too much during the day, the evenings are my free (The Walking Dead/Game of Thrones) time.

    I love that you're taking drumming lessons, and I love that you've found a new way to organize your day and stay motivated. :)

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    1. That kind of a schedule seems like a great idea! I'll have to remember that when we finally have kids. I guess it's kind of like being on a school schedule yourself. I remember not knowing what to do with myself once I no longer had a school day to box me in. I kind of sucked at being a good manager of my time, to be honest. It's kind of sad that I'm only just getting the hang of it. :) I usually keep my evenings free for stuff like GoT and Walking Dead too. :)

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  13. This is great. I need to get myself back into a routine. I sort of have one, but since we moved last fall, I feel like it's gotten a bit lost. I love making list and checking things off.

    Congrats on being so close to finishing your draft! :)

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