Weekends in the library.
So it turns out that working full time, on top of doing a Policy Research MSc, Fundraising Diploma and NVQ in Management, plus keeping up a regular gym routine does not leave any room for regular blogging. (Apologies). But it does teach you a thing or two about getting shit done. So here’s a list of things that I’ve learnt about fitting more into your day.
Build things into your routine if you want to get things done.
Every other day, my alarm goes off at 6am. It’s dark and it’s cold, but I don’t give myself an option of staying in bed. I eat, pack and make it to the gym by 7am. I’ve finished my workout by 8am, and shower and dress before cycling to the office. I am usually at my desk by 8.45am.
It seemed brutal when I started, but getting up an hour earlier doesn’t have a negative effect on my day. If anything, lifting weights before work makes me feel pretty badass. And the exercise make me more awake than I am on my rest days. Getting up an hour earlier means I workout 3 or 4 times a week, without losing any time from my evenings.
I bet you want my Peanuts vest.
The thing is, if I asked myself every morning at 6am, “Should I go to the gym or not?” I never ever would. I would go back to sleep every time. So I don’t give myself the option; I make it a non-negotiable part of my routine.
A day is longer than you think
I used to write off the day after 8pm. I said “Oh there’s no point in doing anything now”. So I settled down to watch several hours of Netflix or read a novel before bed. It turns out, there’s still a lot I can do after 8pm, even if I am a little tired. Some evenings I have settled down with a cup of tea, and done several hours of essay writing or studying. Of course, it’s important to have some downtime too. But learning that I can so good work late into the evening has taken some of the pressure off my day and ensured I get a lot more done than I thought possible.
I can work even when I’m not in the mood
As well as ‘It’s too late’, another excuse I used to give for not doing what I wanted to get done was “I’m too tired/sad/not just in the mood.” I used to wait until inspiration struck. Now I can no longer afford to do that, I’ve discovered that I can work when I’m not in the mood. Sometimes I need to bribe myself with chocolate, but once I start, I often get into it and want to work for longer than I planned.
Of course, you can’t do everything, and having a lot to do really forces you to work out what’s serving you and what isn’t. I no longer go out drinking or partying unless it’s something I am really excited about. I spend less time wandering town and window shopping. I only hang out with the people that I’m genuinely interested in catching up with. And while I’ve wanted to blog more than I have done, the experience has made me realise that it’s not as important to me as being on top of my uni work, crafting or Skyping with Grit.
Take time off in the way that’s right for you.
I take less time out for myself than I used to, so I have to use the time wisely and in the way that I’m going to find most relaxing. As an introvert, this sometimes (okay, often) means turning down social invites for a night in watching Gilmore Girls. This means I’m most recharged for my next productive day.