I’ve been thinking about how to best spend my time for a while. Still, there are always things I can improve. Or I can take my own advice! Here are some tweaks I plan to implement in the coming year.
1. I will get out of the house more often. It’s good to meet people. I’m always tempted not to, since it takes time to get myself ready and go someplace, but such meetings often spark new ideas. It’s OK to be inefficient sometimes. Maybe 1-2 times per week. I think that might help me take more steps as well, and I seem to be doing a lot of sitting these days.
2. I will start setting an alarm. I realize that new blog readers — especially those who came here due to the What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast juggernaut (it hit #1 on iTunes for business books again this week!) — are going “huh?” I am not a morning person. I work from home, which means I don’t have to start a commute at a particular time, and I also have 3 small children. Up until now, someone was inevitably up at 6:30 or so. Alarms have not been necessary. But all this is changing. They are sleeping in sometimes. 7:30! And it’s kind of embarrassing to still be in my pajamas when the babysitter shows up at 8. So — I will start my mornings intentionally. I may even be able to implement a morning routine, like those I write about!
3. I will make a new “bits of joy” list, and a new “list of 100 dreams” that reflects my current life. Both lists will help me figure out what I want to spend my time doing. I realized the other day, as I was reminiscing about a little used book store in Muncie, Indiana, that “browse used book stores” should go on my bits of joy list. Now I need to find one around here.
4. I will read before bed. I will go to the library (or used bookstore) at least every week or two so I have good material to read. I’ve been working through some old New Yorkers, and it’s been great, as long as I avoid the political pieces.
5. I will devote time each week to novel writing. I’m finishing up revisions of the current project over the next few weeks, and then it will be time to start the next. Novels just take time to prepare and cook, so the earlier I start, the more time I have to let my characters marinate.
6. I will make a running list of personal projects (e.g. buy a chair for the guest room) and tackle one per week so they don’t feel oppressive.
7. I will take healthy work breaks: biking once the weather gets nicer, prepping veggies to roast them for snacks. Taking intentional breaks is better than the unintentional ones that have me checking Twitter (again).
8. I will continue to protect my most productive writing time (8-10 a.m.) for actual writing. I will not sit down at my desk at 8 a.m. without knowing what I should be writing during that stretch.
9. I will keep the phone off for stretches of time on weekends.
10. I will work on planning my weekday evenings — my Achilles heel of time management. It’s easiest to putter and let the kids watch TV. That’s fine some days but not every day. I may take them out to eat one night a week, and there’s the library, or local sports games, or the playground once it gets lighter and the weather gets warmer. The key is planning ahead.
How will you use your time better in 2014?
Photo of the reading nook, which should be used…