A friend of mine said that my daily schedule must be very empty for me to accomplish all that I do. “You have a simple life, right? That’s why you have so much time.”
While I do try to simplify my life, that doesn’t mean it’s empty. And my productivity is as much dependent on simplicity as it is on organization and routines.
This week I will be sharing my daily schedule so that my friend can understand the differences.
End of Workday Routine
Most people, when coming to the end of their workday, simply stop what they are doing and head out the door. But I have found that doing a couple of things right before I leave gives me a better evening at home, and a smoother start to the next work day.
Fifteen minutes before I am supposed to leave, my Outlook reminds me to put in my time. That is my signal to stop what I am doing, wind down, and get ready for the next day.
The first thing I do is assess where I am in the item I am working on. I then put an electronic sticky note on my desktop with the date and a brief (but clear) description of what I am working on.
Next I process my notes. Throughout the day, I will write down the items I am working on, the times I started them and stopped them, and any details. I take these pages to the photocopier and email them to myself. Back at my desk, I file the notes in the project folder. This may seem like a bit much, but it enables me to work from home suddenly without losing access to my notes. (I have been working with doing this electronically with a wiki, but it’s not prime time yet.)
From my notes, I then go into our project billing system and file my timesheet. With my notes, I can quickly put in the hours against the correct project. Next I go into our payroll system and enter my time for the day.
With the work done for the day, I put stray papers away and clean my coffee mug and water glass. Then I head for the door.
As I mentioned last time , I have a very short commute. On the way home, I do not take the interstate, but rather a highway that runs parallel to the interstate. The main reason for this is that it is as quick as taking the interstate, and it doesn’t back up. During this time I might have some relaxing music playing. I do not, however, listen to the news. My goal is to relax.
Once at home, I have a bit of time before I have to meet my daughter at the bus. I fill the teapot and put it on, then attend to the animals, letting the dog out and giving the cats some attention. I can pour the water and let my tea steep while I feed all furry mammals in the house.
The next action is crucial to having a good evening. I will spend 5 to 10 minutes sitting in a comfy chair, outside if it is nice, or inside looking out. I take time to drink and taste my tea, and just let my mind go blank. If I am extremely tired, I may substitute a Pzizz power nap in here instead.
If there is any time remaining before the bus is due, I will do a bit of housework. Little chunks of time spent consistently cleaning the house will add up. This can mean anything from picking up a room, to decluttering, to actually cleaning something. I keep a list of things that need to be done in each room, and I date them when I do them so I know what else hasn’t been done in a while.
I meet my daughter at the bus stop next, and from then until dinner is her time. We first have a snack, then I will look over her school papers. While I do not help her with homework, I am often called upon to time her as she sorts words into phonetic groups, or check math answers (I only say if she got all the problems right on a page or not.) While she is doing her homework in the kitchen, I will unload the dishwasher, and sometimes do prep work for dinner.
From there we go to the music room and she does her piano. I will either read a book during this, or work on a craft. (She is not sufficiently self-motivated to keep on task without my presence, unfortunately. I hope that will change as she ages.)
Usually we will have a bit of time before dinner. If it is an easy dinner, we may go to the park, or just hang out around the house. My husband comes home at about 5:30, and we will spend some time talking while I am cooking.
Thus ends my after-work routine. Next time will be my evenings.
Photo by Steve Keys