Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Which I Ramble About Personal Projects and Such

This is a fairly stream-of-consciousness post where I ponder how to fit all the things I want to do into my day.  Enjoy it for what it is.

I spend most of my evenings doing "free-time" activities, mostly consisting of browsing the Internet, playing computer games and watching TV.  On occasion, I have been known to read a book.  Of course, there are times when something needs to be addressed and I take care of it.  But, for the most part, it leads to an evening that, while enjoyable, is devoid of any other benefit than entertainment.

I have things I plan and dream about, but don't take the time to implement.  Special events are good for addressing those times, like when I was able to leverage NaNoWriMo during November last year and wrote 50k words in a month.  But, that rough draft of a novel is in desperate need of editing, and I just cannot seem to find the time to even look at it again.  I have ideas for video games I'd like to write, but am not writing them.

Important things are being neglected: I don't exercise at all.  Really, I should be doing some sort of minimal exercising daily, but just cannot find the time.

I think I need to schedule things a little better.  If I can create a routine that I follow, it might make it easier.  Fortunately, since I have a daughter and have a routine for her, it might be easier to leverage her routine and plug my elements in as needed.

The first thing to address is my neglect of exercise.  While I have time to do this in the evening, it isn't normally considered a good idea to workout so close to bedtime.  So, that leaves me with the options of working out at lunch, or getting up earlier and working out before work.  Lunchtime is pretty limited with regard to how much time I can spend, and I would definitely need a shower if I did a full-fledged workout at lunchtime.  So, that leaves the morning. 

For me, the holy grail of getting more things done seems to be getting up an hour early, in that it is the solution to all my problems, while also being completely unattainable.  We have a fairly decent routine of the whole household waking up at 7am because of a shared alarm.  However, we are all still dragging our feet when it comes to getting up at that time.  If I was, somehow, able to follow through with my mythical "get up early and do x, y or z" plan, I would have every goal I ever set for myself accomplished before I even really began the day.  Whether or not it is attainable, this is really the ideal time for exercise for me.  I think I will have to just keep trying to get up early until it finally "sticks."

The other things I want to take care of are easy to place time wise, at least in theory.  Really, after Katy goes to bed, I should spend x amount of time on editing my book and y amount of time working on my video game development.  Problem with that is, Katy is in bed at 8:15: if I assume a minimum of an hour for each task, it is suddenly 10:15, not leaving much time for other things.  I tend to either give something all or nothing, and I switch between the modes.  When I was writing my novel in November, I really didn't spend time doing anything else.  Now, I am spending no time the novel at all.  Finding a happy medium and maintaining it I think would be a preferable strategy.

I come home for lunch nearly every day.  If I spent my lunch hour editing my novel, that would give about 30-45 minutes a day.  That would free up time after work for also making progress on my video game development.

Something that I have been doing at work is closely tracking my time.  Not only which projects I am spending time on, but also which tasks on those projects.  The very act of recording the time makes me aware of how I am spending it and makes it easier for me to look for other, smaller tasks to fill in gaps.  I am considering trying to log my non-work hours in a similar way, just to see how I am spending my free time.  It might become obvious how I can fit other things more easily into my day, or what I can cut out or reduce.

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