I know, I know, I always seem to be talking about time and just how limited it is. That’s because it really is. I’m a busy bee and that’s the way I like it, but I’ve also got a million plans that I want to implement in the future, a bunch of books I want to write and even more that I want to read. There’s places I want to go and things I want to do, and time’s running out. Time’s always running out. I can barely keep track of all the things I want to do, let alone find the time to do them. I’m time-locked. Everywhere I turn, I run smack bang into a lack of time that slaps me in the face and stops me moving forward. Of course, my very special talent of uber-procrastination doesn’t help either, but still…
I’ve tried different ways of balancing my time and making it more productive, and they’ve all worked and not worked to varying degrees – a strict schedule works for a while, until it becomes too restrictive and I end up exhausted and avoiding it; a lax, do-it-when-you-feel-like-it method works when I feel like it, but laziness and procrastination are powerful tools of my old friend, Paranoia. So what works?
Naturally, everyone is different. Different things work for different people, but for me, one of the things I’ve learned is that anything too strict or too lax won’t work. I’ve got to find balance. I’ve got to have a list of things to do – a list that’s realistic, not crammed so full that I’ve not got any real chance to completing it – but the list is important, because without it I’ll do nothing.
Downtime is also a vital aspect of any schedule, I think. Without downtime, you become overwhelmed, overworked, tired, and fed-up. I need time where I don’t have to think, time where I can chill and relax. Not time where I’m socialising – that’s different – but time where I do pretty much bugger all. That’s important. So sometimes, I do just that. I’ll sit and watch Netflix or a film, something where my brain can melt into a puddle and someone else does the hard work for me.
But then…my fingers start twitching and my mind starts wandering. How can I just sit there and do nothing? I can’t. I don’t have the patience apart from anything else. I get frustrated and bored and, perhaps ironically, even more tired. I have a habit of opening up Facebook on another screen and playing nonsense games, flicking between that and whatever Netflix Original I’ve chosen to binge on this time but seriously, how much of a waste of time is that?
So instead, I’m looking for ways to turn my downtime into productive time, whilst still reaping the benefits of doing nothing. That’ll work, right? Right.
I’ve tried it before, with things like sewing or painting my nails, and it works…at least until I revert to my laziness and end up halfheartedly moving animated sweets around a Facebook screen whilst watching nonsense out of my peripheral vision. So it needs to be something different. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to dive head first into my editing whilst watching Netflix – that would never work. I’m not even going to get things off my to-do list. Instead, I’m going to use that time to do things I’d like to do but never get around to doing. I’m going to use it to be creative, whilst not going overboard – the stuff that requires just enough mental capacity to keep my mind occupied whilst not requiring a tremendous amount of thought. I’m going to use it to create something that will actually help me move forward with my goals.
I’ll be honest, I was somewhat inspired by a series of blog posts over at Suzie Speaks on how to create your own bullet journal, plus all the beautiful photographs of absolutely gorgeous planners that are all over the internet right now. It’s a buzz that’s caught me up in a whirlwind and now I’m itching to get started on my own. So I’ve ordered a whole bunch of stuff…
Of course, I have roughly zero artistic ability and I am absolutely certain that my own bullet journal is not going to look anything like those I see on the internet, but I’m going to try. It’ll help me add productivity to my downtime whilst enjoying doing as little as my overactive mind will let me and it will, hopefully, allow me to develop a schedule and a scheduling system that will help with my productivity overall.
What could possibly go wrong?