March 17, 2010
Benchmarks in my Day
It is easy after being home for awhile to settle into the feeling that you have all day to get things done. This is especially true for me since I have no children at home during the day. The problem is that before you know it, it is 3:00 in the afternoon and you have nothing to show for it.
I have never been a person that could schedule myself into 15 minute or 30 minute increments. I cannot live my life too scheduled. My life song should be "Don't fence me in." I am a free spirit and I keep house my way. It works for me.
I love using my Franklin Planner and when I plan my day I do so in morning, afternoon or evening time increments and even then, I move things around as my day goes along.
What does seem to work for me is to have benchmarks throughout my day. It is so easy for me to get sidetracked and having benchmarks helps me stay on task. It's like having little mini deadlines.
The first benchmark is at 9:30 a.m. By then I have had my morning 1 hour workout, eaten breakfast, read the paper, showered and so on. Okay, I could get up earlier (I get up at 7:00 a.m.) and I could rush through breakfast and skip putting makeup on and so on, but I believe that after years of rushing around in the morning to get out the door for work I deserve a leisurely start to my day.
My next benchmark is 11:30 a.m. when I walk our dog. This means that I have 2 hours in the morning to work on whatever I have scheduled.
The third benchmark is 1:00 p.m. after I have had lunch with my husband and I am ready for anything I have planned to get done in the afternoon. The next benchmark is 4:30 as this is when I start prepping dinner.
The last benchmark is 7:00 p.m. when dinner is over, the kitchen is cleaned up and we have walked the dog.
What do these benchmarks do for me? They guide me throughout my day by helping me to stay on task by giving me little deadlines. These benchmarks are not rigid. If it is 1:00 p.m. and I have been interrupted and not gotten anything done so far, I try and get it done by the next benchmark or move it to another day.
As an example, since I have two hours in the morning to work on something, I only work on a project that can be done in that increment of time. By having these benchmarks I find that I get more done as I line up the tasks with the amount of time I have available between those benchmarks.
Now just because I am working within these benchmarks does not mean that I am scheduled with projects until dinner time. I just try to get something done in the morning and in the afternoon and still make time to sit down and read a book or work on something fun.
With this method I always get something accomplished each day which seems to keep our household running smoothly. It also allows for moving tasks around when something comes up and a change needs to be made. The funny thing is that I seem to get a lot more accomplished than I ever did before and I still have time for me.