I have a confession to make: I love to-do lists. I love scheduling everything I need or want to do in a day. I am extremely self-disciplined. It drives my husband mad, because he’s anything but a lists-man. He flies by the seat of his pants, although that does mean that he doesn’t get nearly as much accomplished as me. I’m not so mean as to point this out when he complains yet again that he didn’t get around to doing this or that. He’s a grown man, he can structure his own life.
To be fair, no one needs to be as busy as I am. I’m not sure why I make myself this busy, although I do enjoy it. And some of the things in my planner are necessary. I do need to exercise more and yoga reduces my stress levels. My Korean won’t improve unless I practise a few times a week (ideally every day), although one could argue that learning Korean isn’t strictly necessary. Okay, fine, it isn’t necessary at all, but I do enjoy it.
I’ve tried to take it a bit easier. Not write or edit every day. Not have so much structure and scale down my to-do list. Leaving things for when I feel like doing them, rather than committing to them by writing them in my planner. Because that’s what it means when I write something down. As soon as it’s in my planner, I will do it. Even though I am not accountable to anyone but myself, I can’t ignore that diary entry that says “practice Korean” or “Yoga with Adriene”. If it’s written down, it gets done. Maybe that’s why I’m so self-disciplined.
But the opposite is true too: if I don’t write it down, it won’t get done. Sure, I may feel like working out one morning, and I’ll do it, but if I feel a bit tired or not so motivated, I’ll just as easy skip it. Same with writing, editing and Korean. I’ll think, ‘I’m a bit tired today, so I’ll do it tomorrow’, and then tomorrow comes and I still feel tired (because when do I not?) so I’ll push it off until weeks have gone by and I’ve made no progress on anything.
So this year I’m going back to scheduling in my “extra-curricular” activities each day. It’s not enough to just write “do Korean today”, I need to schedule it in at a time at which I know I can do it. And then I’ll stick to it. I might feel like watching a Kdrama at 7pm, but I know my diary says I need to do my Korean homework, so I’ll do that first. If I don’t, I’ll just feel guilty and I won’t relax knowing I’m skiving off. It feel ridiculous to feel guilty for not doing something I’ve imposed on myself, when no one but me will know if it isn’t done, but that is just how my brain works.
My diary does look ridiculously busy. I also have a full-time job, so all my activities will need to be scheduled around that time. Luckily I work from home and my husband does most of the cooking and cleaning, so I do have quite a bit of time outside of work. On the days when I have to go into the office, I tend to plan my Korean homework or my writing/editing on the train. The latter is a bit trickier if I’m writing smut, but I usually still manage it.
So yeah, this is how I keep busy and how I get done what I need/want to get done in the week. My kids always tell me I’m super organised, but that’s all thanks to my lists. And this particular planner (the Circle Planner) is amazing at helping me stay organised. I even love the little tracker at the bottom of the page so I can make sure I hit all my targets. I’m happiest when I’m busy, which is definitely something I’ve inherited from my mother. I know not everyone would be happy with such a busy schedule, but it works for me. If that makes me weird, so be it.
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