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life doesn't get simpler - that's just a fact

Compared to other people's lives, my life is pretty simple.  For me, however, it's a bit and a half to handle, not least because I don't handle it well.  One always seems to have a billion and one things to do, and one can never seem to finish half of them, let alone get to the other half at all.  There are a couple of points, however, which I have picked up that do help when one is tackling life.
do eat breakfast
Yes, everyone says it.  Yes, everyone is right.  For the better part of forever I didn't do the breakfast thing on a regular basis.  I'm just lazy, and once I get going, I don't want to stop to make myself food.  So breakfast (and I) would suffer.  Now?  Well, now I have a baby to feed as well, and the baby is teaching me a lot about staying on schedule and taking care of myself.  As soon as I get up, it's into the kitchen (which I have to pass through to get to my computer), straight to the oatmeal and the milk.  While the oatmeal is heating, I'll make myself a cup of coffee (French press kept conveniently on the counter).  Usually, by the time I am done scarfing my oatmeal, the coffee is through brewing and I've got myself a nice cup to drink while I peruse the interwebs.
there is such a thing as zen
I don't know about you, but I have a nagging, emotional discomfort if I have not put myself together.  While I'm writing this, I have a cat-eye going, but no curled or mascara'd eyelashes, and it's kind of annoying.  I need to fix that, finish my face, and yank a brush through my hair.  Then I know I am ready for the day.  This is an important thing to do.

I have not finished my face, but I have cleaned my desk.  My two favourite friends are a bottle of 409 and a roll of paper towels.  When I move, I'm going to get myself a huge jug of the stuff and distribute it in little spray bottles strategically throughout the house.  Because I'm lazy, and if I have to go get the 409, it won't happen: if the cleaner is on hand, I'm going to have a polished desk, a clean kitchen counter, and a vanity that isn't powdered in loose eyeshadow with remarkably little inconvenience to myself.  Zen is real.  Do what you must to cheat your inner couch-potato to achieve a tidy life!
make a list, prioritize, and stick to it
Have a billion things to do, it seems like you're always trying to do them all at once, and nothing ever gets done?  You can't do everything all at once, no matter how important everything seems to be.  If you try to pack too much into a day, and do everything, always jumping from one task to the next without ever accomplishing anything, you are in for a world of frustration.

Make a master list.  I use a monthly calendar and put everything on that calender.  (Baby hormones literally make me forget things, so I must write things down.  It's a life-saver.)  This is my big list of "all the stuff that has to get done" which you guys keep hearing about.  Life is real, people.

Make daily lists.  Based off of your master list, write out a list of things you can do in a day.  Inasmuch as you can, do those things.  Don't add to them, try not to subtract from them.  Just do them. 

You can also make weekly lists, such as
MONDAY: find the counter area around the sink again
TUESDAY: work on Plenilune line-edits
WEDNESDAY: sit and stare at Talldogs manuscript, pretending to write
THURSDAY: plan wedding
FRIDAY: murder wife
SATURDAY: frame Guilder for it

Very few things are as much of an emergency as you might think.  The older you get, the more responsibility you are going to have, and if you don't front fate's blows with a steady attitude, they are going to send you spinning.  Things like a plumbing fiasco on a job we thought we had closed two months ago, a total lack of clean underwear in any land under heaven, and the existence and attributes of supper, are big deals.  These things need to be taken care of. Other things are allowed to wait.

Finish the job.  Even if a bunch of things come at you, sporting relatively equal value, you cannot freak out with each new thing and leave off whatever you were doing, leaving the last task undone.  If you want to NOT get stuff done, this is the perfect method to employ.  Got emails to reply to?  Finish them.  Got a block of time marked out in which to revise a story?  Go to the end of the time limit.  Whatever you do, finish the job.

Stay healthy.  I don't mean just exercise and drinking water and juice.  (Juice is good.  Good sugars.)  I mean, say, an example from my own life: I spent about thirty minutes on Pinterest just browsing for inspiration.  I haven't really wanted to write, much less had anything to write about.  With a little visual stimulation, I now feel like pulling out Talldogs and typing away again. 

but, you know, don't overdo it, because you do have to get off Pinterest eventually and go do the work

Make it a habit.  Unless you are already like this, this sort of regularity will take time to implement.  Give yourself a month at minimum to make a habit of eating breakfast consistently, making to-do lists, accomplishing the items on the lists, staying inspired and productive.  Do a bad job?  Try again tomorrow, with a little more oomph if you must.  Sometimes you just have to push yourself a little harder, but the pushing isn't going to get you anywhere if you don't have a road-map.  Make sure you have both.  It's totally worth it.
good luck!

7 ripostes:

  1. Thanks for this reminder post, Jens. I have got back to exercising the AM and I know myself; I know that I will NEVER get to exercising if I don't literally roll out of bed and hit the floor. Hey, if it works for Christian Bale it ought to work for me, right? ;)
    I love your gentle irony in posts such as these. And I am glad to hear you are feeling Talldogsy again! :)

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  2. Hi jenny! Thanks so much for posting this. I really found it helpful. I showed it to my mom and she really liked it too! :) Thanks for being open and for sharing these tips. Hoping and praying, we'll be able to conquer! :)

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  3. Princess Bride. Jenny knows Princess Bride..! It makes perfect sense that you would, but now that it's certain the world is a brighter place :P
    Good post all 'round! And I must say, if you're not usually a routine person, it's a great idea to get in some practice before baby comes along. Without some sort of schedule (o great Sleep Schedule, how we adore thee! Thou that givest us an hour of peace in the morning and afternoon...) things quickly go to pot, nothing gets done, and everyone is crabby. I am here to tell you there is hope and reward in such routines, so good luck!

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  4. This is a very timely post for me, as I'm trying to get myself back into a healthier routine (which kind of fell by the wayside after I no longer had a pretty wedding dress looming over me).

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  5. Such a nice post, Jenny, to read first thing this morning. :) I'm working on spending a little time on the "Get healthy" points--breakfast has been a habit every day of my life, and my sticky notes are The Joke of the Household. But I like your perspective on taking care of ourselves and taking time for a little soul inspiration if we need it! :) Very true, and Pinterest browsing lots of times is just the trick.

    Also, "very few things are as much of an emergency as you might think" and "finish the job" are spot-on good.

    ~Schuyler

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  6. "You can't do everything all at once, no matter how important everything seems to be." <--- Damn straight. Thank you. I need to hear that—but I think you knew that already.

    I love this post. You are honest, you are real, and I appreciate that honesty and realness. This is another post I ought to print out and read often. Your advice is sound, your humor impeccable.

    I just buckled down and did a bunch of stuff that has been pilling up due to sickness and stress. I envisioned you crying, "Woman, pull yourself together and send the blasted emails!" and I dutifully wrote two professional-sounding emails and sent them off. I love you.

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  7. I told myself this evening I was going to scoop up my life and be tidy. I gave myself a pep-talk about healthy eating, balance, and SLEEP. And then I took a shower & read Katie, Abigail and your posts. Hurrah for confidence boosts and productivity! Let's do this!

    ...we've become quite a preppy community of late. I like it. XD

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