I am determined to create a new habit that I’ve never been able to form: time limits. When I was in Honors 5th grade, my parents had a conference with my teacher about the hours and hours I was spending every night on homework. My teacher couldn’t believe I was spending so much time and suggested that I put a time limit on my work. I was to give myself a specific amount of time for an activity, and when the time was up, I had to stop. This never worked for me. As a semi-perfectionist, I found the thought of not finishing an assignment completely appalling.
Unfortunately, this is why I procrastinate. They say that perfectionism and procrastination go hand-in-hand, and I can attest that it is certainly true for me. And knowing myself and that I want my work to be completely perfect, and knowing I could take forever on it, I put it off. Thus, procrastination is my survival form of time management. If I put something off until the night before, I know that I will have only that night to work on it. I will have to get it done during that time, or it will not get done.
Though this system has worked for me, it is clearly not ideal. The deadline looms in front of me, and it’s all I can think about, even as I’m working on other things. Stress and worry are not worth the time I save by procrastinating.
So, my new plan is 1/2 hour chunks. And to get myself to do what that fifth grade teacher attempted, so long ago. When my 1/2 hour is finished, I am done. (with 5 minutes lee-way!)
How has this worked so far? Well, it’s worked a little. I have been able to keep my writing to a half hour. It’s fairly easy to keep exercise to a half hour, too. But, cleaning was a disaster. Do you remember when I mentioned that I have a hard time stopping an activity at a 1/2 hour? Wednesday I began my 1/2 chunk plan and spent a total of 5 hours cleaning. Yes, 5 hours. I have justified this by deciding I did not need to do any cleaning for the next five days, to free up extra time for the activities I did not get done, i.e. practicing and schoolwork. Also, it’s Spring Break, so it’s a great time to get some housecleaning done. The basement looks much better, the living room looks great, the kitchen area is much improved. . . etc etc
And I think they key to this plan working is scheduling in free time. I think that was the problem all long. How am I going to get all of my half hours done AND free time? I don’t know. But, here’s the daily plan:
- 1/2 hour practicing clarinet
- 1/2 hour writing
- 1/2 hour exercise
- 1/2 hour schoolwork (grading/planning)
- 1/2 hour cleaning
- 1/2 hour career development
- 1 hour free time
What am I going to do on nights that I have orchestra and band? Not sure yet. I’ll probably have to knock half of those out (including practicing, obviously).
Well, cleaning, writing, exercise, and free time are done for today. (Got my hair done! :-)) Time to tackle the other 3 bad boys (girls?). Clock is ticking. . .
<p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2125″>Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>