Apr 10, 2013

Keeping things in BALANCE

I use a timer, a basic kitchen timer. Mine happens to be digital, with a button to set hour and a button to set minute and a button to start the count down or count up. I use the timer in 30-60 minute bursts for housework, crafting, computer time, and other tasks.
I also use lists. There’s a master list of what I need/want to do by when. An action items list with the individual steps needed to make the needs/wants reality. Then, my daily list has just the next step that gets me forward on the items on the big list. This way I’m making progress on the goals, but not overwhelming myself with too much at once. My daily lists are used for a few days until the items are gone, then I do another one.
I recognize that my best will vary from day to day. I do my best, and let it be enough. I am learning to live within my limits. I don’t want to exhaust myself by being too busy one day and then not be able to do the next because exhaustion leads to migraines and just not feeling well for me.
I turn off the computer for a few hours daily and pay attention to people in my life who are around me daily. My partner and our boarder, who needs my help getting ready for the day, I can’t be on Rav or crafting all the time. I also turn off the computer after a while and read or do laundry or do something else. I try not to go on Rav during the weekends, this is a new thing and it felt good.
To find balance, you do know what it means, or you wouldn’t feel out of it. I’m going to suggest a few things, and you can take them or leave them, try them or not, see if they are true for you, or just so much hot air, so to speak.
  1. use a timer and turn off the computer for 30 minutes and do something other than craft related things. read, go for a walk outside, do jumping jacks, anything other than crafting or the computer. IF that feels good doable, extend the time. IF it DOESN’T feel good, the next day do the same amount of time of disengaging from the computer and crafting. When you reach an uncomfortable stage, hold the time steady and figure out why it is uncomfortable. Use this knowledge to decide what you will do next.
  2. make a master list of say five to seven things, bigish projects. on a separate sheet of paper, write out the individual action steps needed for each of those big projects. each step should be on it’s own line. on a third sheet of paper, make a daily list of the first steps in each of the five-seven projects and no more than that. do those things you can and cross them off. if at the end of the day, anything remains undone, figure out why…is the step really more than one step or do you need something else before doing it? then it wasn’t the first step and you’ve now figured out the first step write it on the sheet of individual steps. if lack of interest or some other reason led to you not doing that step figure out what can make it more doable. draw a line on your daily list paper. write out the next steps for each project on the same sheet of paper under the line you’ve just drawn. keep doing this until a project is completed. once a project is completed, highlight the last step and the project on your big project list. now you can add a new project to the project list and the individual steps to the action items list and incorporate them into your daily list going forward.
  3. use index cards to remind yourself of ongoing things that you want to make into habits. write one thing on each card. stack the cards in a logical order and then number them one to whatever, in case they get messed up. then before getting on the computer/crafting/free time, do these daily habits.
  4. create a weekly schedule for yourself. sunday through saturday. what will you do on each day? I like to read the liturgical readings for the week and renew my soul on sunday, wash up on monday, library on tuesday, tops on wednesday, social crochet time on thursday, laundry on fridays, and sleep in on saturdays. what works for you? just because you create a schedule doesn’t mean you never deviate from it. just that you typically have a pattern to your days and weeks.
  5. pomodoro technique. use the known yardage for a project, a timer, pen and paper, and crafting supplies. set the timer for 25 minutes. start the timer when you are ready to craft. craft till timer dings. note project name and a tick mark on the paper. take a 5 minute rest. timer set to 25 minutes again. craft till it dings. make a tick mark on paper. rest 5 minutes. keep doing this till the project is done. count up the tick marks and divide by two. this gives you the hours that yardage took you to complete. say 10 hours for 2000 yards stockinette. reduce to one hour for 200 yards stockinette. this gives you a good time estimate of how long a particular project will take you.
5.b. pomodoro technique, part 2. using the timer, paper and pen, you can do the 25 minutes/5 minutes working/rest to create a tracking of time units to make estimating how much time anything will take you. this makes it easier to figure out if you have time to do xyz in the allotted time.
like i said these are just ideas. take or leave them.. figure out what works for you and run with those. trust your gut.