It’s going be one of those weeks where I wonder how it’s all gonna happen. There’s a mental to-do list that keeps changing by the minute, an actual to-do list for the week, a grocery list, a packing checklist, and a big picture to-do list hanging out like a hovercraft above my head.
It seems whenever travel is thrown into the mix, it takes the time management game to a new level. Preparing to go away – mentally and physically – can be stressful even when you have the softest clothes on the planet to keep you comfy while you journey.
So what gets put to the back burner or taken off the stovetop entirely? For me, it’s usually eating and exercising. I pretty much can’t function without six hours of sleep, so I’m committed to avoiding being a sleep-deprived grump during high-pressure weeks. But making good eating choices and getting my workouts in tend to get a little lost in the shuffle. Which is ironic, because both of those things would be helpful in powering through a busy week.
So here’s how it’s gonna go down. It’s day one of nine of crazy town and I’m going to suck it up and keep it together. I can do this, right?
It seems fitting and timely (no pun intended) that a friend randomly sent me an email this morning reminding me that we have 86,400 seconds in each day. We have 86,400 fleeting opportunities. We have just as many on days that are packed full of responsibility as we do on days that are open for leisure. As another friend once reminded me, “Michelangelo had just as many hours in the day as we do.” Well, great, I guess. That can either make me feel inspired or seriously pressured depending on my state of mind. Also I can’t paint or draw, so somehow using Michelangelo adds an undercurrent of failure right off the bat. So I generally substitute Marie Curie or Coco Chanel or even my own mom when I think of that quote. Not that I’m in the running for the Nobel Prize or creating a global couture fashion empire, but I can more readily relate to them.
It’s true, though. We have the same amount of time each day to kick it in as anybody else on the planet. That playing field is undeinably level for us all.
So let’s start with the basics. Just so you know that I don’t want to come across as a condescending time management know-it-all (quite the opposite, actually) I’m writing this more for me than anyone else. If I put it in writing I have no excuses and am instituting the blog accountability tool.
My Crazy Town Kick it In Minimum Operating Standards:
1. Get my required minimum of sleep. Make this non-negotiable.
2. Take 10 minutes – just ten, that’s it – to quiet my brain. Preferably in the morning. Sit comfortably, quietly and breathe. I’m not going to think about all that has to get done. Breathe. After these ten minutes, I’ll flit about like the hummingbird I need to be, but for these 600 seconds, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It helps. I promise.
3. Decide what I’m going to wear the night before so I’m not standing in my closet staring blankly and getting annoyed and wasting time. Because when that happens, I grab a pair of Tina leggings and some sort of tunic. Not a bad option, but I don’t walk out the door feeling like I’m gonna kick it in. I need to feel confident during crazy town weeks and what I’m wearing helps. Besides, I love my clothes. Taking time to think about what I’m going to wear is a creative outlet and it’s also necessary because it’s 9 degrees out and naked is not an option. Lipstick and mascara also help, so I have them within reach at all times.
4. Think about what I’m going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides giving me energy and keeping my mind focused on the task at hand rather than hunger pangs, it makes me feel like I have some control of my day. I may have a million things on my plate, but what is literally on my plate is something I can determine. If I wait until the last minute, I’m going to grab whatever is edible and closest to my mouth, which is usually almonds, a hunk of chocolate and some sort of semi-stale cracker hanging about past its prime in the Neena kitchen. If I’m traveling it means fast food French fries.
5. Look at my schedule and realistically plan my exercise time. I tend to be overly optimistic, but then cut myself some slack if I can’t make them all happen. This time, however, I’m also going to have a backup plan. That’s right. You’re not gonna outsmart me, crazy town. If I can’t make the 8:40 TRX class on Wednesday morning like I plan, I’m going to do a variety of squats, pushups and planks in my office. I’m going to have some options if crazy town threatens my plans.
6. Drink lots of water. This sounds so stupidly cliche that I almost don’t want to write it. But this list is really for me and my crazy town week and the bottom line is that when I am guzzling water like a desert camel, I feel good. I don’t really care if it’s psychological or real. Hydration works for me.
7. Smile. Smile when nobody is watching. In the midst of the chaos, I’m going to think a super happy thought and just smile. (Side note: I just did that and it was really nice.) Also, a cool song just came on so I’m going to add listen to music that makes me bounce my feet or think better or type faster.
8. Do my best, but at the end of the crazy town day or week or month or, hell, year, remember that I can’t make more time. I just can’t. Time is finite each day and even if I have more to get done than the those 86,400 seconds can accommodate, they are what we get. As my six year-old would remind me, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Let it go. It’s cool. Big picture it. You’ve done your best. Can you really ask for or expect more than that?
It’s day one of nine. I took my ten minutes this morning. I ate a healthy breakfast. I had to miss my first workout of the week, but I’m in head-to-toe Beyond Yoga so something akin to exercise will be happening in my office this afternoon. Ronni is headed to Willy Street Co-Op as I type to get us a kale salad (yep, we’re still on that kick) for lunch. I’ve already had 32 ounces of water today. I’ve smiled ALOT. I’ve also laughed and done a ridiculous robotic dance when a weird instrumental version of a Top 40 song came on Pandora. I just reapplied my lipstick so I feel fancy.
I’m not going to get it all done today. Not even close. I can already see that. But I’m going to kick it in anyway. And be in bed by midnight so I can get those six hours of sleep I need.