Wednesday, September 21, 2011

today, today

I love my dear husband for many reasons, but one of the reasons is that he is always pursuing being a better man. He reads and listens to blogs, books, and people that will assist him in this pursuit, and often he changes his habits in ways that are hard but ultimately rewarding.

I am not nearly as good at being intentional about this, but I am grateful that he often shares with me the things he hears and reads that he thinks I'll appreciate. One of the things he's been reading about lately and really trying to implement are routines.

Sean reads a blog called the Art of Manliness, a site he was turned on to after reading the book of the same name. The book (and blog) basically detail how to be an upstanding assertive man in our culture, and I support that 100%. There's advice on everything from how to throw a punch (only if absolutely necessary, of course) to how to braid your daughter's hair. Recently he read a post on the importance of having daily routines and, realizing that I would benefit, in turn read it aloud to me.

Routines frighten me. They make me feel like I am not free. But I'm starting to realize this is a lie. I often feel like I'm not productive enough in a day, largely because I'm employed working a myriad of odd jobs and trying to be an artist, so I generally make my own schedule. The problem is I'm not a tough boss. In a day I can easily find myself sitting at the table eating yogurt and watching 30 Rock for an hour instead of the 20 minute snack break I intended. And then I feel discouraged. I think there is a pervasive lie that having absolutely no boundaries equals freedom. It's just not true. When you set up a boundary for yourself, you are completely free within it. It's much better than the constant tiptoeing around trying not to cross a line you never intended to. And that's why I'm going to move towards routine, give it another try. I highly recommend reading the article Sean read to me. It's very convincing. It argues that routines help you accomplish the most important things in your day and help you to avoid "decision fatigue" (Yes, it's a real thing. Remember the last time you went grocery shopping and came home with an extra pack of oreos and a carton of Ben & Jerry's in your bag? Think about that.) It also says that having a routine can give you that opportunity to start transitioning out of a job you might dislike into your dream job. Yeah, that's when I got sold on it, too.

a sneak peak of the new piece
in the series I'm working on
So today I made a list. Most of the things happened, but I still need to fold the laundry. Fortunately I've worked that into our date night this evening; it will be a much happier task if performed during The Darjeeling Limited. I woke up today, as every day, around 6:30 with Sean. I made coffee, poured cereal, and packed Sean his lunch to show him I love him. Then I worked on a project for a friend while reading around some design blogs and listening to this TED talk on creativity. Around 10 I transitioned into working on my own art and at noon I cleaned up the kitchen and threw everything in the crock pot for the Chicken Marsala we'll be enjoying in about 20 minutes (Sean is peeling potatoes as I speak!) Finally I got my bike out to run my errands. I worked my way from my furthest errand from home, which was the post office. Unfortunately I was caught in a torrential downpour on the way there and ended up waiting 10 minutes in the post office vestibule until it subsided. Then I ran by the antique shop and found some sweet ties for Sean and to my studio at the Community Arts Center to grab some supplies. Finally I picked up a few items I forgot on the grocery list yesterday and headed home. 

screenshot of the Daily Routine App
But I had intended to do all my blogs for the week AND fold clothes. I suppose I'm getting most of it done, but it still feels like not enough. I'm considering buying this App for my phone called Daily Routine. It creates routines for you, basically, and alerts you as to what you should be doing and when. It even imports events from iCal for you. I think it would help me visualize my day better. I'm trying to transition into seriously pursuing being an artist. And if that's the case I also need to seriously pursue being an adult. So, here goes.

Any suggestions on how to be more productive or keep a good routine? What is your routine?


  1. I recently discovered and love it. It's a to-do list for your browswer and it's made by designers so it's laid out how I like things. Simple. You enter to-do's for each day and if you do not complete them (and click on them to cross them off) that day, they rollover to the next day. It's been so helpful and revealing, it's good to see what I've accomplished.. or haven't accomplished. I think they have an app for your iphone too! I put everything on there from "cut my nails" to "put 'terms of use' on SIGNiX website." Seriously, so helpful.

    Much love! - r

  2. I am so happy that you also have a husband who desires to be a better man everyday for you and our Lord. I miss you friend, and wish I could be closer to you and all my Ohio friends. Hope life is treating you so well! Maybe someday we will get a little cabin somewhere in Ohio and come for visits :)
    Love you!