Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time and to-do lists Part Two:

In the last blog post I talked a little bit about how we schedule our days with more than can reasonably fit.  Some by choice, some by necessity.  As I mentioned, some of us don't have the time energy and money to be able to do what we would like.  Some people work 14 hour days not because they want to, but because some people have to.  Some of us with special needs kids don't have respite or family to help.  There is no 'outsourcing in childcare' as one article put it.  So, as I write about slowing down and being more in the moment I am also sympathetic to those in society that for a variety of reasons don't have the resources to pick and choose their schedules with ease.  I am one of those people and I am well aware of the conditions when money and time is finite.

I think what I have noticed in myself as I try to be more flexible in my routines (no easy feat for an stubborn aspie such as myself) is that I worry too much about what others think, or what may happen if I don't get X task done.  I also feel a constant need for perfection.  I feel I have failed if I don't live up to certain expectations that I have set for myself.  These expectations are always unattainable by any human. I am almost guaranteed to fail.  Self compassion and a dose of realistic thinking can go a long way in making my life more content just by giving myself a break.  Will I always remember to take my 7 yo (who is in the beginning stages of potty training) to the bathroom several times a day? Or remember to get use his special therapy cup to enhance learning to drink from a regular cup vs a sippy? Or, the slow, slow, slow process of exposure to the hair clippers daily? Or to stop and make him sign for simple things?  How about all the social stories and emotion cards that are never printed for Bubby?  Or the tutoring for CJ's dyslexia?  I do remember most of those thing most of the time, but not all of them all of the time.

I am finding that as I realize that my part of my own downfall is my attachment to perfection.  As I let go of what I think I *should* be or *should* do life is getting fuller and more enjoyable.  I have lived my life from a view of distance rather than being in the moment feeling fully in tune with what I am doing.  Just being  aware of how the choices that I make in my day to day life can make all the difference in leading what I would like to call a fulfilled life. I try to rank importance of tasks relative to time. What will make the most difference is 5 days, weeks, or months? How much does having my house dust free matter vs taking the kids to the pool daily?  What will matter more in the long run?  I have to be aware that it's unlikely for me to do both all the time.  Once I have gotten rid of that illusion the choices seem more clear.

Time and to-do lists Part One:

There was something I noticed while trolling the many news feeds and such that I frequently read... there were many that were telling me how to get the most out of my day. How to maximize my whole time potential, like in this article here  .  I think if this woman was off her schedule by 10 minutes her whole day would probably fall apart.  Every minute seems planned and accounted for.  It seems that there are some that have that kind of control over their resources to be able to strategically plan that way.  Living with autistic children don't always go to plan, so making myself a priority in every waking moment of my pre-planned day would not work.  No matter how many spreadsheets of data I take on how I spend my time and how many 10 minute intervals that I allot myself to think. (rolls eyes) Who schedules time in to think? And, how have we become this multi-tasking society that pencils in every waking moment of everyday with tasks and activities?

That's not to say that the article isn't without a few good ideas.  I do think it's worthwhile if you've not ever done it (especially if you're not a routine oriented person)  to get out a notebook, spreadsheet, whatever and document your day in 15 minute intervals.  How much time do you really spend on Facebook? How about in front of the TV?  Or any of the many other activities that fit in your day.  Knowing this information is important in deciding if you're living your days out to what matters most to you, or if you're just drifting by doing things that hold little meaning for you while wondering where your time goes.  Or feeling that nag of boredom.

I have slowly started to adopt the approach that less is more when I am looking at my schedule. Like in this article about slowing down  I am realizing that I am not more fulfilled when I do more.  Sure, there are days where I get a ton of errands or housework done, but there are also days where my energy wanes and that's okay, too.  Accomplishment feels good, but when is it that our lives became are about a monumental list of tasks to tick off?  When does that feeling of accomplishment feel like a dog chasing his tail?

To be continued in the Next Post