WARNING This post includes curse words and concepts that may be considered offensive to some of you hyper sensitive types, but the story just wouldn’t be the same if I censored it, so you’ve been warned!! If you can bring yourself to skip the curse words you might even learn something from a Psycho!!
As a work from home artist and creative type person, keeping myself on track or ahead of schedule, can be a challenge! I found myself in ruts of procrastination throughout many phases of my clients projects and taking the rest of the day off when there were plenty of productive things I could be doing to stay on track.
Recently I met this amazingly hysterical Lass from Belfast, Ireland. Our group of friends stumbled upon her in a hotel bar. She too, was an artist and sculptor, who made her living installing her giant works of art into hotels and other public venues all over the world!
She had some amazing stories to tell, cursed like a sailor, drank like a fish and quickly became the center of attention. We decided to kidnap her and took her out to dinner with us. One of her crass saying had us all roaring when she talked about her down time, she called it her “fuck the dog” time. LOL What she meant by that, was taking time out to do whatever she wanted… Take a nap, watch tv, masturbate or other self indulgent time wasted.
We got into a conversation about her recent work with a therapist who she credited with curing her procrastination. My ears perked up… I do that!!! She said she’d get struck by manic cleaning episodes, take to long to get started on things, diddle around and waste too much time on unproductive things. (I think we all do that!!)
She began to explain how the therapist made her schedule her day in 1/2 hour incriminates including her “fuck the dog” time. Her day looked like this: She’d get up at a certain time, then spend 30 minutes in each room and schedule tasks in 30 minute increments.
Starting with 30 minutes in the bath room, doing her business, getting washed up, teeth brushed, showered and then clean up the bathroom, with any extra time so she wouldn’t go on a crazy cleaning binge later, when she needed to be doing something else.
Then she’d move into the kitchen, making breakfast, coffee, doing dishes, take out trash and then misc cleaning, until her time was up.
Wow. I’m thinking two rooms cleaned and all that stuff accomplished in an hour and it’s not even 9am!
Then she’d move into her work area. Again scheduling 30 minutes per task and a few set times in the day to “fuck the dog” for 30 minutes.
Wow. I thought. This might be just the thing I need to get out of my rut, so I tried it!
My normal wake up time is between 6-7 am since I moved into a house with a lake view and opted for sheer curtains instead of my usual vampire black out drapes. I also live off a very busy street so the sounds of traffic are ongoing. I average about 4-5 hours of sleep and find it hard to get much more than that, but that’s another problem!! It has actually changed my work schedule quite a bit, because once the light comes in, I can’t sleep anymore. I would frequently lay around in bed for hours after waking.
I decided to designate my first 30 minutes to checking my email and social media while still in bed. Next, I spent 30 minutes writing from my phone or laptop. This can be anything from my email journal, list making, blog posts, updating my social media with recent photos, etc. I started doing this every morning. I also set up some 30 minute alerts between now and when my client arrived.
Here’s how they went…
30 minutes in the bathroom, instead of just doing my normal morning pee, then moving on, I would try spending 30 minutes in the bathroom. Since I had a client coming over I decided to put make up on, brush teeth, take vitamins, then spent the rest of the time cleaned up and organized a few things I’d been PROCRASTINATING doing. Time well spent.
30 minutes in the kitchen was spent preparing fresh and healthy foods that have cured some of my prior health issues and have now become part of my normal diet. Taking the rest of the time to clean up after myself and organize a few things before I left the kitchen, worked out great. Living in my little mother in law suite, away from my other roommates, I tended to leave dishes for later, because they weren’t in anybody’s way, so this was good for me to do it now!
30 minutes in the closet. LOL picking out clothes for the day, folding and organizing what didn’t make the cut and cleaning up other clothes that needed to be put away, then I spent the rest of the time getting dressed and accessorized for the day.
When I compare the segments above, to my normal schedule, I could have gone to the bathroom, ate and gotten dressed in probably about 30 minutes but by taking the time to do a few extra things, I felt like I was taking better care of myself and doing some much needed housework I would have left for later, it seemed like a really good use of my time and gave me a good feeling.
Next it was time to work…
I currently have 4 client project going and another new client was arriving in 2 hours. So I decided to spend 30 minutes on each project I had. I felt like I got a lot done on each project and had everything prepared for the next phase of work.
The bulk of my day was spent one on one with a client, who was paying me by the hour for Pattern making and sewing lessons. One of the things I try to do is schedule my work, so that I am making $xx per day vs. working an 8 hour day. This way I know I can get my bills paid, etc. Many times after I’ve hit my minimum, I will stop there, even though I’ve got other work I could be doing. After my client left, I may have just put in a movie or something, but I really had a lot of stuff I SHOULD do, I looked at the clock and decided since I still had several hours left in the day, it was time to do something other than “fuck the dog” for the rest of the day!
I cooked myself a health meal vs something quicker and took the time to sit down at my table and eat like a normal person! This took more like an hour, but it was again, time well spent and something I don’t always do for myself.
I spent 30 minutes working on this blog post.
-30 minutes working on a clients project,
-30 minutes going thru emails, returning phone calls and checking all my social media again
Wow. I got a lot more done today than I might have if I hadn’t managed my time as well.
By conquering small tasks and committing to spend 30 minutes on each, it wasn’t so daunting to work on the long list of things I NEEDED to do and SHOULD be doing. I felt good and accomplished.
Years ago, I learned something at a time management seminar, that helps me distinguish what is more important by breaking everything into 4 categories:
1. Urgent and Important = something that must be done NOW, go to the bathroom, show up to meet with a client, work on a project, something you must do now or today because its “on fire”, something positive will happen if you do this today, something negative could happen if you don’t do it
2. Urgent but not as important = something you must do by the end of the day, EAT, work on a project, return a phone call or email, something good will happen if you do it, something bad might happen if you don’t
3. Not Urgent but Important = return other misc phone calls and emails that keep your business and personal life going, order supplies, update social media, pay bills, mow the lawn, do housework, be social, doing these things keep your life on track, something bad will happen eventually, if you don’t to do these things
4. Not urgent or important, fuck the dog, play on Facebook, have a beer, play a video game, watch a movie, etc, nothing bad will happen if you don’t do any of these things, but one does need some down time for play and relaxation!
Here’s that chart they gave us at a $800 per person Time Management Seminar I attended!!
When I find myself wanting to take the rest of the day off, I think about what tasks are on my To Do List and make sure everything “on fire” is done, then go to items on list number 2 and 3 and spend 30 minutes to get me back on track or even ahead of the game. I must admit I couldn’t bring myself to actually write out my day ahead of time, because I am too defiant against having a schedule, but I do make lists of what needs to be done and the new concept of spending 30 minutes working on each task, especially the big ones, really worked well for me.
Try it and let me know how it works out for you!!