One resolution I set for my Happiness Project modeled after Gretchen Rubin’s was to manage my time better. When I am productive, I feel happy and accomplished–bottom line. When I set this resolution, I was kind of spinning in un-productiveness that was basically coming from a lot of mental clutter.
Part of the reason I dislike physical clutter of any kind (Well, just my own; I’m not too concerned about anybody else’s.) is because I’ve always considered it a reflection of my mindset. I must have read or heard at some point that my physical clutter was a manifestation of my mental clutter but I took it to heart. I didn’t feel like I was doing well at work or personally. It felt like I was mucking through a lot of mental and physical clutter.
Clutter clutter clutter.
When things get behind and then get crazy it bugs me because it means I am giving too much time to certain things which means life is out of balance. When things get disproportionately out of balance, it’s time to regroup. So . . . I decided to track my work day. I wanted to figure out where my time goes. I mean, I can complain until the cows come home about working too much, but maybe I don’t need to be. Maybe I’m not being efficient with my time.
Without boring you, I’ll just say that I tracked my week and it was fascinating. Any day I managed a morning routine that included exercise and breakfast, the day went better than the days I didn’t. I enjoyed the process of tracking my time to see what was happening with it and I definitely noticed patterns. The next week didn’t go nearly as well. I hardly exercised, I felt like crap, I hated my work, and I was so grumpy I got sick of myself. I realized my next resolution needed to be to just step it up!
What was interesting was that I know how to manage my time and I always have. I do have a lot of work to do but I know how to get it done and I do get it done. The problem was discipline and motivation to create balance in life. Why couldn’t I manage to work in more exercise or leisure time? Why did I have to struggle to find time to write or make art or socialize?
I needed to be more disciplined all the way around.
A friend of mine said he gets 8 hours of sleep every night because he gets to bed by 10 and is up by 6. Certainly more sleep was going to help my outlook and my motivation but what intrigued me was his discipline. Why couldn’t I go to bed at a set time every night? Well . . . good question.
I also decided that walking the dog and my piddly home yoga practice weren’t making the grade. I needed to do more because the days I exercised with purpose I had an easier time focusing, I slept better, and I was in a much better mood. I wanted to do better at yoga so I signed up for two weeks of unlimited classes at a nearby studio to see what I thought. I hadn’t taken a class in about four years, so why not?
It was the best money I’ve spent in I can’t even remember how long!
My basic poses improved. I even learned that I wasn’t doing my favorite pose quite right. I used muscles I hadn’t been using, I paid attention to my posture differently, my joints felt good, I felt more like doing other physical activity, and my mood?
Can I tell you that I’m on my way to being a disciplined athlete? Nope. I’m still trying to figure out what my ‘regular’ exercise is and that’s going to take some doing, but I’ll keep you posted. It became clear that my time management issues were more a matter of discipline and motivation and the second resolution, which was to exercise, came (and will come) from and will help the time management . . . which comes from discipline and motivation . . . You see where this is going?
By the end of my first month into My Happiness Project I do feel better. It took two weeks to get into a groove, but making new discoveries about my attitude and productivity, and reminding myself how things can and ought to be was enlightening. My Lessons from this helped me set my next resolutions:
- I need to remember that regular exercise is important not only for my physical health, but also my mental health. This is a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget our lessons and have to revisit them. New Resolution: I will continue to work on the regular exercise resolution because I am not consistent yet.
- My time management issues are more about discipline and motivation so my next resolutions will start to address them. First New Resolution: Step it Up! I’m going to do just that. If I’m reading and I don’t know a word, I’ll look it up. If dishes are in the sink, I’ll clean them before I go to bed. I’ll set a schedule that includes Non-Negotiable Time.
- Adjusting the way I was eating eliminated my typical late afternoon slump. What?!! This made me realize that my final New Resolution needs be to Improve the way I eat. I do not hide the fact that I love sugar, bread, and fat. We’ll get into that during Check-in #2.
I’ll check in with you, my virtual Happiness Project group and let you know how it’s going next month. It shouldn’t be all about me though. I’d love to know what you’re working on to make your day-to-day happier. Let me know and thanks for stopping by!