Here's how I approach time-management on a bad day:
- Write out a detailed schedule for a few days
- Stick religiously to the schedule for a few days
- Have a day where I don't stick to the schedule
- Beat myself up at the end of the day for not sticking to it.
- Feel overwhelmed. Give up on all schedules forever. Procrastinate.
Does this sound familiar?
It started to get really familiar to me when I started my business. And I realized that it wasn't the first time I'd played out this self-defeating sequence--I've done it before with dieting.
I'm a woman, which means I've been on a diet. I've been on several.
But I haven't been on one in years--I can't remember when. I didn't diet for my wedding, and I didn't diet after I had my son. But I lost weight for both. How much? I don't know. Because I stopped participating in diet culture, so I stopped weighing myself.
One day, after years of struggling with the tangle of food, my looks, and my self-worth, I realized something: dieting is about "being good." Every diet is a regimen, that means, there are things you can eat and things you're not allowed to eat. If you do calorie restriction, you can eat, but only up to a certain number of calories. Exceed that number, and you've "broken" the diet. Same with Weight Watchers and their points. Same with Atkins, and Whole 30, both "elimination" diets. Certain types of foods are off-limits.
It's like playing "Operation." If you eat those restricted foods, you lose. You're bad. If you have self-esteem, then approaching food this way really becomes a problem. How can you feel good about yourself when you know you are repeatedly doing something bad?
What I realized was I just didn't have the brain space to keep up with how many ways I was good or bad vis-a-vis food. So, I stopped. And nothing happened. Did I gain or lose weight? Not sure, because I stopped weighing myself, too.
But you know what I also stopped doing? Feeling bad based on an external rule that had nothing to do with my self-worth.
Which brings me back to... time-management! Since I've started to work for myself, scheduling has become a mindset. I still schedule my days. In fact, I schedule a whole week. I block off all my work time, but I do things like creating time blocks for doing nothing, or TBA time blocks that I can use how I wish when I get to them.
I make sure everything I want or need to work on that week gets accounted for, but this schedule serves me now. It reminds me of the major goals I had for a particular day or week. I don't serve the schedule anymore. I don't approach it by saying, "I have to stick to this and if I don't stick to it I did a bad job and I should feel bad."
This is also something I wrote on Instagram recently: on days where I feel like I really ran off the rails and didn't accomplish anything, or I'm not sure what I accomplished, I end the day with an "I-DID" list (instead of "TO-DO" list). You can read about it in my post:
I'm starting realize time-management works best for me when I don't approach it as all or nothing, good or bad. Some days, you take 1 step forward when you meant to take 3. But you still take a step.