I am really good at planning to plan my day.
In my head, I am organizing and arranging—my day, my things, my plans, my writing, my activities, my discussions. But all that arranging stays in my head, abstract.
I have been staring at this table in my livingroom, that I have been planning to move to the kitchen for, oh, 9 months. Everyday I plan to plan to move it, and every day, I do nothing.
I know that in order to put the planning into action, you actually have to make time in your day to do it. It can’t just be a vague, “hey I could do this or that today.” It has to be an active plan. First this then that, then during the first nap I will move the table (or revise 20 pages or cook chili for dinner or whatever it is that is in your plan.)
I know that the vague intention is ineffective, and I know it from my own inaction. I’ve also seen it in the way that S always has these grand plans to get things done but never does any of them. He doesn’t make room in his unstated plans for his days off. The unstated plans are to relax. Watch some science shows or black and white movies, drink some coffee, smoke some cigarettes on the deck, play with the boy, go get the newspapers, take a shower, go have brunch, which leads directly into a some errands, more adventures with the boy, visiting people in the neighborhood and papa-son day with pizza for the boy and beer for the papa, and then to boy bedtime and more movies on tv—but nothing on the to do list. And that’s it. That’s the whole day. Taken over by unstated plans.
Now, this is an interesting thought. The unstated plans. There’s a technical term for it that I learned when I was in Grad School for teaching, but the damn mom-brain has lost the word. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to get things done, sometimes, because you’re pretending that those unstated goals aren’t there. But truly, they come first, particularly if they are your routine, right?
I wonder what my day would look like if I took my unstated plans—hidden agenda? Is that the term? Well, it fits. My agenda is my plan, right? And this agenda is hidden from my “planning,” hidden from myself, even. A lot of what’s on that hidden agenda is daily maintenance that I take for granted… email, shower, getting dressed, folding some clothes, finding my shoes that have been kicked under the sofa, putting toys in teh basket, grabbing something to eat, going to the bathroom, getting the kids dressed, changing diapers, playing with them, feedng them, cooking, picking up, and so on. And then there’s the other stuff, stuff that isn’t productive but is really what my lazy butt prefers to do… my message board addiction, my television addiction, my magazine addiction, my sudoku addiction—hmmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.
I resist my addictions because of the way I feel about myself after giving in to them totally and ignoring my day and goals. I feel lousy. I feel like a failure- but there isn’t anything wrong with any of those addictions, really. It’s just the imbalance they create.
So what if, instead of defaulting to those addictions, I actually put them into my plans? What if I actually put them on my daily todo list, gave them a valid place in my life instead of turning them into a guilty secret of inaction?
Rest is important to being productive. Downtime is needed. Maybe I should respect my own relaxation methods and incorporate them into a productive day.
And not only that, but maybe I should recognize all the little daily things that I do that I don’t technically plan but need to be done anyway. Maybe I wouldn’t feel like my day was getting away from me and so were my plans. Maybe I would feel more productive, more accomplished if I took all this into account. Maybe that would make it easier to accomplish the other things on my list.