Monday, December 03, 2007

Planning My Plan

All right, this must be some sort of a sign, huh? Last week, feeling suicidially overhelmed, Bob and I made a desperate attempt to get ourselves organized by working on weekly schedules, putting them all into nice charts and tables. We decided we'd give these schedules a try beginning the first week in December. Lo and behold, I'd barely finished mapping out this plan of mine, when good old Bloglily starts posting about planning. Not only does she post about it, but then she tags me (she must think I have some sort of alter-ego who is extremely well-organized or something) to come up with a plan of my own. The plan follows (although cutting and pasting a Word table into Blogger is beyond my capabilities, so you'll just have to imagine this whole thing in a nice table format).

You'll note that each day of the week has some rooms/household chores attached to it. Those are the chores and rooms to be tidied/mopped/vacuumed etc. that Bob and I will attack on that particular day each week. (Sometime, in the not-too-distant future I hope, we're going to be hiring some wonderful Amish person, who will be a far better housekeeper than either of us can ever hope to be, to do this for us, but until then, this is our plan). In case you're wondering, I often do two or three of these sorts of things in ten-minute breaks when I'm working throughout the day. You'd be amazed what ten minutes of vigorously sweeping a kitchen floor will do to calm me down before responding to an author whose email proves s/he just doesn't get it. Likewise, if I'm puzzling through how to convince Dr. Big Name Math to write a book for us, I'm better at composing an email in my head while folding laundry first, rather than trying to tackle it while sitting at the computer. Offices ought to let their employees do janitorial work. Then again, I can't tackle bathrooms while working, and it seems bathrooms might be a major part of office janitorial work. I despise cleaning bathrooms, and my authors would wonder who this monster is if they happened to call just after I'd been struggling to get that damn strand of hair to quit acting as though I'm trying to drag it away from the love of its life the bathtub.

You'll note I have my day starting at the very early hour of 5:30 a.m. That's free time, though, which means sleep if I need it. I'm often awake by 5:30 a.m., but not always (especially during the cold, dark winter months). And a 9:30 bedtime just means crawling in bed to read. If I'm reading something really good, and have to stay up till 1:00 a.m. to finish it, well, then all bets are off as to keeping on schedule the next day.

So far, on the first Monday of this plan, things are sort of going as planned. I'm about fifteen minutes off schedule and will be heading out for a walk soon. Problem is, I have to get to the library to return books and to pick up something from a friend who works there, and I've got a couple of boxes in our own library I want to unpack. Oh yes, and I haven't done any laundry at all. Looks like those dreaded bathrooms might have to be put on hold (or maybe I can just make Bob do both of them. Oh no, wait a minute, he had to spend time putting all the storm windows in today instead). You can see this is going to be very interesting...

I'll let everyone know what happens after a month of experimentation. (Oh yes, and lest you think we're lushes, Bob and I have this wonderful routine based on the old-fashioned cocktail hour of sitting down with a drink and a snack before dinner. Sometimes that drink is tea, sometimes it's something non-alcoholic, sometimes it's wine, and sometimes it's a martini or a mai tai -- all depends on what our days have been like.)



Emily’s Weekly Schedule

Free = time to write, do household things, run errands, etc. (in other words, non-work-or-church-related activities) OR to rest. This time is flexible.
Rest = R-E-S-T (play games, watch movies, read fun stuff, listen to music, watch TV, etc.) Rest time is sacrosanct; no tasks allowed
Depending on the friends and the event, visiting friends is either rest or a free time activity



MONDAY = Bathrooms, Laundry
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Free, get dressed
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Telecommuting
7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Walk, breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Telecommuting
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Telecommuting
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Walk
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Free
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening meditation with Bob
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink, snack, make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Free
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Bath/shower
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime

TUESDAY = Kitchen, dining room, Santa Fe room
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Free, get dressed
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Telecommuting
7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Walk, breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Telecommuting
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Telecommuting
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Walk
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Free
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening meditation with Bob
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink, snack, make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Free
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime


WEDNESDAY = living room, library, pay bills
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Free, get dressed
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Telecommuting
7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Walk, breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Telecommuting
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Telecommuting
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Walk
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Free
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening meditation with Bob
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink, snack, make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Free
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Bath/shower
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime

THURSDAY = bedroom, guest bedroom
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Free, get dressed
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Telecommuting
7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Walk, breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Telecommuting
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Telecommuting
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Walk
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Free
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening meditation with Bob
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink, snack, make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Free
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime


FRIDAY= office, t.v. room
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Free, get dressed
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Telecommuting
7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Walk, breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Telecommuting
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Telecommuting
2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Free
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Evening meditation with Bob
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink, snack, make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Free
9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Bath/shower
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime


SATURDAY = hallways, grocery shopping
Time Block
Activity
5:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Rest
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Walk, breakfast, shower
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Free
1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch
1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Free
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink and snack and make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Night meditation with Bob and rest
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime

SUNDAY = rest
Time Block
Activity
6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Rest and breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Shower
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Sunday school and church
12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Rest
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Drink and snack and make dinner
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Rest
9:30 p.m.
Bedtime

11 comments:

Becky said...

Emily, I am in awe, but I think mostly at the fact that you can bear to timetable yourself in this way. Does it help? I know that I would find that whatever I was supposed to be doing was the precise thing I didn't want to do right then.

Cam said...

Oh my gosh! I am stunned by your plan: by the specificity of the time blocks, by the rhythm of the activities, and by the restorative nature of some of your activities, like your daily meditation and cocktail hour, and that some of these time blocks are sacred.

My husband jokes that I live in my own time zone. Last year when I called him at 'dinner time' where I was I told him that -- after he reminded me that it wasn't a civilized hour where he was (there was like an 8 hour time difference between our locales). When I am deeply absorbed in something, I will have no accurate sense of how much time has passed. Was it minutes or hours? Unless I wrote down my start time, I have no idea. Often I look at my watch at work and realize that if it's 3pm, it's probably too late to go get lunch. So, plans like yours intrigue me because they are foreign and mysterious. I would have to set alarm clocks everywhere to be sure that I knew when it was time to move on to the next thing.

mandarine said...

Great timetable. My personal experience is that timetables and such like are great to write, assimilate and dump. No criticism intended: they do marvels at taking the mess out of our brains, and then, like a scapegoat, in the bin goes the mess.

Smithereens said...

Please, Emily, can you give me the number of a nice Amish person who would fly to Paris once a week to help me tidy up here? I'm quite impressed with your plan!

Anonymous said...

Wow! that's a serious plan! That's a sort of a degree level plan! I'm impressed. And if you stick with even half of it I will continue to be mightily impressed, as following plans through is probably the hardest part of them. When I post my version of planning, I have a nasty feeling the blogworld will get a horrible shock.

Litlove

Emily Barton said...

Becky, we're worried about timetabling ourselves, too, but decided to give it a go. And, this can't possibly work without remembering that FLEXIBILITY is key. Yesterday, we did manage to get the bathrooms done, but no laundry, and since Bob and I sat down to dinner at 8:00, because I got a phone call from a friend at 7:00, and ended up in one of our long philosophical discussions, I didn't head up to to take a bath till 10:00.

Charlotte said...

Emily, wow! That's impressive planning. My BlogLily plan, due to be posted soon, is far more casual. But I like that you've built in rest time and flexibility - both essential. Good luck with achieving what you need to in this busy month.

GeraniumCat said...

Emily, I was thinking about this sort of thing before I got up this morning. I work at home most of the time and I'm immensely impressed by your plan - you've even scheduled a walk! If I didn't have lunch made for me I'd regularly discover it was too late - I'd be thinner though,:)
I never manage to keep up with the laundry,on Saturdays it clean chickens, clean bathrooms and then anything else I've got the energy for.
Good luck with The Plan.

Dorothy W. said...

I love schedules and plans! I'll be very curious to hear how this all works out, once you've had some time to try it out. I like the rhythms of the days too -- it all looks quite sensible!

Stefanie said...

What a great plan! I don't think I could be so regimented to the times--I'd be more vague and say walk at mid-morning and lunch when I'm hungry--but seeing the day all sorted out like you've done always makes me less stressed because I know exactly what I need to be doing and at about what time.

Emily Barton said...

Cam, it's a little stunning even to me. One week into it, though, and I'm discovering I'm being more productive in all areas than ever before. But, this is the honeymoon phase. We'll see if I can keep it up.

Mandarine, yes, sometimes plans are like nasty letters to loved ones. Best written and then torn up, the philosophy being: look what I COULD do, but I'm not going to do it. However, I'm going to give this one a go for a month and see what happens.

Smithereens, I would, if only they were allowed to fly.

Litlove, one week, and I've stuck with more than half of it, but we'll see. Meanwhile, I think I need to follow in your footsteps and attend some Planaholics Anonymous meetings.

Charlotte, you'll note that such plans are much much easier to contrive when one doesn't have to worry about the love and care of three young children.

Geraniumcat (love your name), don't worry, it's not quite so impressive. I instituted the walking as my "commute" to and from work to keep off the pounds that were threatening to attach themselves to me forever when I moved home to telecommute and had my whole kitchen full of food so accessible all day long. It's made easier these days by the fact I meet neighbors in the morning who walk with me.

Dorr, oh how reassuring to hear it looks sensible and not overwhelmingly unrealistic.

Stef, lunch is the one thing that really just sort of happens when I'm hungry (sometimes 11:15, sometimes 1:30). If I put off walking till mid-morning, though, I'd end up putting it off altogether.