How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. ~Annie Dillard
Try this exercise: write down your typical day, hour-by-hour. Seriously, do it. And be honest with yourself.
In February, my typical day looked something like this:
- 6 a.m.: Hit snooze 6-7 times
- 7 a.m.: Wake myself up by checking gmail, work email, twitter, instagram, facebook. Shower/get ready.
- 8 a.m.: Dilly dally at home (breakfast? dishes? laundry? clean?), finally leaving for the office between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m., sit in traffic for 45ish minutes.
- 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.: work!: emails, meetings, conference calls. Mostly glued to my desk, in front of my computer screen.
- 6 p.m.: Drive home, sit in traffic again for 45ish minutes.
- 7 p.m.: Dinner in front of the TV
- 8 p.m.: Playing on my laptop, in front of the TV
- 9:30 p.m.: Crawl in bed with my kindle, to read blogs and the book of the week.
I didn’t like how I was spending my time. My life was consumed by screens. I was spending too much time in traffic. I wasn’t taking care of myself. This lifestyle wasn’t giving me the productivity nor connectedness I craved.
Ever since, I’ve been playing with my calendar, my schedule and my routine (used loosely), to determine how best to structure my days. I’ve realized:
- Extra time in the morning for myself is valuable.
- Breaking up the workday is helpful for my productivity.
- Leaving earlier or later helps with my traffic woes.
- I crave connecting to others in meaningful ways. Social media wasn’t giving me that connection. (Starting the day with my phone is not ideal. As a start, I took Facebook and Twitter off my phone and found it took a few weeks to stop thinking in potential status updates.)
It’s helpful to consistently re-evaluate how I’m spending my time. Simplify. More responsibility combined with endless technology can be a recipe for distraction. I want to be intentional in how I live my life. I never want to wake up and wonder, “how did I get here?”
In your daily life, what do you value that’s not getting the attention it deserves?