It has been challenging to move from a life that was clearly defined by the clock, with daily and hourly deadlines that were immutable, and an in person team that was constantly communicating what I needed to be doing at any given moment. In that life, I knew everything about the deepest inner workings of the project I was on. I knew it by heart, by muscle memory. Parts of it I could do with my brain tied behind my back. This new life has deadlines, but they are blurry, self-assigned, sometimes moving targets. I have some part-time work, with a publishing company in the Pacific Northwest and it’s a busy, slightly confusing time to have come aboard. Figuring out my job there is a little like writing a novel, which is itself a little like trying to describe an elephant by patting it with your hands while wearing a blindfold. That simile works better in person, because you can see me close my eyes and fumble around with my hands in every direction. Take my word for it, it’s not easy.
So, there are things I’m trying to balance in this new, self-directed life. Figuring out the new job, for sure. Getting back to a daily yoga practise. Rebuilding my gym habit. Making sure I get a daily walk. Dedicating myself to practising piano every day. And, of course, there’s writing the novel.
You should do it first thing, my husband said to me, regarding my piano practise.
I find if I do it first thing, my yoga teacher said about a particular set of stretches, it tends to get done.
You should do it first thing, my writer friends say, about the five hundred words a day I intend to write.
I’d like to do it first thing, I think, about the daily walk. If I do it first thing, it’s more likely to happen, I think, about the gym habit. I need to get at it first thing, my panicky brain says, about the work that goes with my new job.
I suppose if I start the night before, I can fit in all these first things before sunset.
Maybe I can get to each of them first thing once a week. Monday it’s the gym, Tuesday it’s the part-time job, Wednesday it’s the novel, Thursday it’s the yoga, Friday it’s the walk, Saturday it’s the piano. Sunday is a day of rest from it all.
If you have a self-directed life, how do you make sure you’re actually getting to all the things you consider priorities?
4 responses to “First things first”
I am a firm believer in lists. Least favourite tasks usually go first….then you can enjoy the rest!
Oh I am big fan of lists myself! Here’s my problem: I love all of these tasks.
you have me laughing for real Stephanie. as I too struggle with which to do first! mediation first and foremost. I sit my ass down first thing for 10 to 20 minutes. then its a toss up between writing and yoga. usually writing first. then on to the mat. if I run or walk I do brief yoga afterwards. then after maya is off to school I dive into the other paying projects and maybe I will get onto my mat again in the eve. maybe not. or the walk will happen then. or or or…. of course I have to chunk out time to read! cause I cant breath without reading good fiction! when my moon arrives I take three glorious days to sit and write first thing in the morning. but then there are definitely those mornings when too much red wine was drank the night before (cause must not forget date nights) or my fucking alarm got swallowed up by my tshirt and I wake up way too late to make anything a first. but hear you with elephant ears! blessup. one love.
Maureen! Glad to know you’re alongside in the struggle!