Despite various efforts to control my internet addiction, I recently found that I was still struggling with self-discipline when it came to Getting Stuff Done. The Time Map I did a few months back was a little too vague to be useful, so this past Sunday night I drew myself up a new Daily Schedule, starting when I get up at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m. when I go to bed.

Most of the items on the Monday-Friday chart are the same every day -- prayer and study, getting the kids off to school, meal prep, family time and so on -- but I also divided up my household chores and assigned myself two tasks a day, the morning one intensive (groceries, bathrooms, vacuuming) and the afternoon one lighter (laundry, garbage/recycling, organization). I made sure to block off 2-3 hours for writing and/or editing each day, as I've been doing for several weeks now, but on this schedule I also set apart three distinct 20-minute blocks for checking e-mail and LJ. That way I know that I do have time to maintain an online presence, but I (hopefully) won't be so tempted to fritter away spare moments clicking around the web when I could be doing something more worthwhile.

After two days, I'm already feeling more relaxed and contented. Instead of struggling to keep track of all the things I have to do and worrying I won't have time to do them all, I just have to look at the schedule to see my responsibilities for the day. It makes everything seem so much more manageable and less daunting. I realize that I really do have enough time, not just for the things I have to do but even for the things I enjoy -- if only I manage my days responsibly instead of just letting them happen. Sure, things are bound to come up that throw off my schedule, but because I do have a schedule then I know exactly what I'm missing, and what things I need to do to catch up.

My plan is to follow the schedule consistently, making adjustments and refinements as needed, for the next three weeks -- I'm told it takes 21 days to form a new habit, which sounds about right to me. I'll let you all know how that goes.

And before I shame myself by forgetting again, a very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] halseanderson, who is not only a superb author and an inspiring speaker, but knits beautifully and cans a mean tomato. Oh, and runs marathons, too, thereby making the rest of us look like sorry American Idol-watching slackers. Seriously, it's a good thing she's such a lovely person or we might be forced to take drastic measures.

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