I am in serious need of some life organization, my friends. I need to get organized, and get my act together, pronto. Lately I have been a bit, no a lot, like Lord Ronald in Stephen Leacock’s Gertrude the Governess. I’ve been riding “madly off in all directions.”
Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.Stephen Leacock, “Gertrude the Governess”
I am all energy, lots and lots of flinging, and no perceptible direction. And directionless flinging is not my normal state. In fact it makes me anxious when I don’t have a plan. Even a rough plan will do.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, fall camping is over, and Hubby and I will be home for the next couple of months, I need to devise a structure for my life.
I may be a bit of an airhead, but I like structure. Teaching suited me so well because I worked within a set structure. Oh, sure, I had lots of scope for creativity and controlling my own life in the classroom. I had lots of scope for working creatively and collaboratively with other teachers and administrators. But ultimately we worked within certain time parameters, and within the school, board, and province-wide plans. So we had leeway, but we also had master-plans to which we had to conform. And that suited me. Total plan-less freedom means that, like Lord Ronald, I usually ride madly off in all directions. Ha.
Like yesterday. I had planned to write a blog post, on this exact subject. But I couldn’t get my act together. First I spent way too much time taking pictures of the outfit I was going to wear to run errands to the library and post office.
Then once my errands were run, instead of coming straight home and getting stuck in, I bought a take-out coffee and strolled all over downtown Manotick. Strolling off in all directions, you might say.
I strolled over the dam at Watson’s Mill, then back across, then down to Main Street and back. I stopped every so often to get a photo. Like this one, below, of the amazing maple tree on the edge of the Knox Presbyterian Church lawn. You can see Watson’s Mill in the background. Then I sat on a bench beside the mill. The sun was shining, my latte was delicious, and the fall colour everywhere was so lovely that I was absolutely unable to rush home and sit in my den working on the computer. Then when I did get home it was too late to start blogging. So I sat with my book and read and felt guilty about putting off what I thought I should have been doing.
So to quote Lady Macbeth, “No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that.” I need a plan. A weekly plan that includes all my obligations, all the tasks that I must do, the ones I should do but may decide not to do, and the ones I want to do. I need a plan that allows for flexibility, while at the same time providing enough structure that I don’t just sit and read all the time. And which gives me enough time to get things done, so that if I do decide to stroll madly off in all directions, I won’t mess up all my other plans.
To that end, I have made a fall “To Do” list. The things I need to get done: blog stuff (finding a new hosting and tech support team), shopping for myself and for the house, plus important organizational things I need to do for Mum.
And I also have another list of things I want to do, in fact need to do, for my own sake. Like fitness, which to be honest is not a problem. I rarely have trouble fitting fitness into my week. And other endeavours. I want to make time to get back to my reading about slow fashion, and use that reading to inspire blog posts or maybe a vlog. I’d like to set aside some time each week to do some forward thinking for the blog. Not actual writing, just reading and playing with ideas. I’d like to carve some time every week to explore drawing again. And I want to start a couple of small knitting projects.
I need a weekly structure that fits all of these things in. But which still allows time for spontaneity. Plus I have given myself permission to abandon the entire plan if I choose.
I have also decided that in order to make time for some things, I will have to jettison other things. Like book club. I don’t want to lose touch with these ladies with whom I have been discussing books for years and years. But I’m finding I can’t keep up with the assigned reading, and still explore all the reading rabbit holes I’d like to explore which crop up. So I think I will take a hiatus from book club for a few months.
My rough weekly schedule will look something like this: Sunday: Walking, riding, or skiing with Hubby. This is our regular get out and exercise together day. Monday: Cleaning and other household chores. Bill paying, reno research, or organizational tasks that I need to do for Mum. Tuesday: No set tasks. Art maybe. Lunch with friends. Shopping. Whatever. Wednesday: Blogging day. Researching and writing a post. Thursday: No set tasks. Art maybe. Lunch with friends. Shopping. Ski day with Hubby in winter. Whatever. Friday: Blog photos, outfit try-ons. Vlog filming and/or editing. Saturday: Laundry and blogging. This is usually the day I write a fashion post based on Friday’s photos.
I always squeeze my personal exercise schedule around my daily tasks. If I am going shopping and meeting a friend for lunch, I will pedal my exercise bike early. If I am at home all day, I will pedal just before lunch, or late in the afternoon. Or if it’s a nice day and I am at home blogging, I will walk early, and blog afterward. Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday will be fixed schedule days. If possible, I will avoid other commitments on these days.
On normal weeks, Tuesday and Thursday are days when I can do as I please. Those will be shopping days, errand running, lunch with friends days, reading and researching days, playing with art days. Friday is blog photo day as a rule. And Monday will be my chore day. But if something fun comes up on a Monday, I can easily move Monday’s chores to Tuesday or Thursday.
If I have no lunches with friends, no walking or shopping date, or other activity on Tuesday, I will plan to spend part of this day playing with ideas for future blog posts. Reading, taking notes, going somewhere different to take photos. Not with any set writing deadline in mind, just with an eye to exploring ideas. I am excited about this. Some bloggers I know plan a month of blog topics in advance. I tried this a few years ago and it didn’t work for me. Blogging is not my job. I am under no obligation to create content for a brand. What I love about blogging is the freedom to explore whatever is on my mind. Or to choose to abandon an idea if it no longer interests me.
So that is my plan to get my act together. For now. I’m happy with my plan. Nothing is carved in stone. But there is enough structure to give my week some shape. I can’t be doing with a blobby, free-form, amoeba of a week. No structure at all is stressful for me. I become my own worst enemy, procrastinating, sashaying around doing nothing, sitting on my butt with a book, and then rushing madly off in all directions to get everything done in a hurry. That’s hard on a girl. And it’s very hard on the guy who lives with the girl. Or so I’m told.
What about you, folks? Or you a person who needs structure? Or do you prefer a free-form, amoeba-like week?
P.S. You can read Stephen Leacock’s story about Gertrude the Governess and Lord Ronald here.