All Articles Tagged "schedules"
I can’t tell you how happy I was the moment I found out what a schedule was. I was around four years old, and if I remember correctly I found out while watching an episode of “Inspector Gadget.” The incompetent detective had a schedule to keep, and the brilliant Penny and her dog Brain were trying to keep him focused on completing his tasks, and from that moment on, I started making schedules. Love schedules.
My daily routine while growing up was waking up thinking about what I had to do that day, and while brushing my teeth, showering, and getting dressed, I would break down the times that I would perform certain tasks. At the end of the day, when I would think about if I finished coloring that book, or spazz-dancing, there was nothing better than realizing that I had completed everything according to plan. Such a great feeling of accomplishment for a child.
Then high school hit. Dealing with crowded hallways, jammed lockers, classes on opposite sides of the campus, I began to realize that I had to allow a certain amount of error. A percentage of 12% of human error. It worked for the most part, but if I was thrown off too much, I was annoyed until I got back on my schedule. Then college happened, and my idea of factoring in “human error” just flew out the window and I didn’t feel like I knew what was happening. Study sessions, working, social life, classes. For the most part I was running on coffee and fumes through a good portion of college and I began to feel like the bumbling incompetent detective, trying to search for answers for all my classes and feeling like I was being scooped by a child and a dog.
One of the best things that came from all that was the realization that scheduling sucks. Life happens and you can’t schedule it down to the second. Yes, it is good to have a blueprint of how you’re going to run your day, but if you obsess with trying to adhere to it as strongly as I was, it can stress you out. Not to mention that it’s not realistic. Rarely does life happen the way that you want it to, and even when it does, if you close yourself off to the possibilities of something new happening to you, you could be missing out on something better happening.
This realization came in handy when I not only had my daughter, but when I opted to leave my husband to be a single mother. For my child, I have to adhere to a schedule for her, because I’m told that scheduling and familiarity can bring comfort to a child. But I’m definitely a lot better at rolling with the punches. Whether it’s the fact that she can’t sleep and she’s up in the middle of the night, or the fact that I might be sick. You have to learn how to deal with what life throws at you. At the end of the day, the only consistent thing in life is change, so you should embrace it.
You should also embrace Kendra Koger’s twitter account @kkoger.
I’m a woman who used to wear her busyness like a badge. It was as if I earned a couple of “she’s-a-productive-member-of-society” points every time I tapped into my smartphone as I walked down the street (See, I even work when I walk!), informed friends that I’d pencil them in for happy hour dates (Because I’m so busy, I need a calendar to have cocktails and calamari), or showed a co-worker my written to-do list at the first sign that they wanted my help with a new project (See all of this? It needs to be finished today. I’ll remind you of such when I’m eating a cheese sandwich at my desk this afternoon and then tomorrow when I inform you that I didn’t see sunlight since, you know, I came in early and left after the cleaning crew did.)
It’s in the latter situation that I hated being asked this question: “Are you busy?” For co-workers, it’s an icebreaker. A means to ask for help with a project, and I’m often glad to offer my assistance. So glad in fact, that I’ll overschedule and overwork myself to do it. But for you to ask me if I’m busy? How dare you? Who am I if I’m not busy? Of course I’m needed every second of the day and to remind you of such, I’ll tweet at 4:00 a.m. how hard I’m grinding while the rest of you sleep.
I’m busy and that means something, right?
Not so, says writer Tim Kreider, whose recent piece for the New York Times’ Opinionator blog questioned the concept of “the busy trap.” “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day,” Kreider writes, smacking at what I think this busy trap and the “they sleep, we grind” method of ladder climbing is really about: Our busyness is a manifestation of our fears that we human beings are not enough if we are not bustling, productive doers. Being busy, it seems, is not a function of productivity and dream chasing, but of stroking our egos.
This “busy” dialogue comes on the heels of Anne Marie Slaughter’s essay for The Atlantic on whether working women can have it all, reigniting an age-old conversation about work/life balance for professionals with families and the guilt that comes with choosing one side over the other. That article and the firestorm it created tapped into a bigger discussion for working people at large: the nature of the American work culture. Because men can’t have it all, either, nor can young, single professionals or individuals whose jobs and meager paychecks make the concept of having it all a class consideration. Having what all? As Hanna Rosin notes in her essay for Slate, “None of us can have it all.”
I’ll save my feminist musings, and I (single and childless) won’t begin to suggest how parents who double as professionals can make it all work. But as a young nine-to-fiver who has a side hustle and dreams and 10,000 hours to log and 20 pounds to lose, working hard is a necessity.
But so is time to breathe. Kreider writes:
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it as whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration. It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
We often ascribe the concept of “discipline” solely to the idea of work. But we need to be disciplined about living full, mentally and physically healthy lives— working when it’s time to work (I’m now a purveyor of the “work smarter, not harder” concept of dream chasing and corporate life), resting when it is time to rest, and playing when it is time to play.
When my social life began to unravel, when I had aches in my muscles and was sicker than ever, I knew that my sun-up to sun-down days of getting cheese sandwich crumbs caught in my keyboard had to stop. Sometimes, it’s as simple as stepping away from the computer and walking outside for 15 minutes. Sometimes, it’s hopping on an airplane and disconnecting from social media for a weekend, unplugging as a means to recharge and live in the moment. Sometimes, it’s lying in bed and watching the blades on my ceiling fan rotate.
The discipline of living a full life is also about absolving the guilt we feel for doing so. (This is where I insert the oft-told adage of no one on her deathbed has ever wished she’d worked harder.)
Who am I if I’m not doing? I’m loving, I’m breathing, I’m living, I’m watching the blades on my ceiling fan spin and not feeling bad about it. I’m realizing that I am more than what I do. Sometimes being is enough.
And, seriously, get off Twitter. It’s 4:00 a.m. Go to sleep.
Readers, do you find yourselves caught in a busy trap? In which ways do you lead full, well-rounded lives?
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You’ll have to forgive me. As a young lady in her early 20s who has spent a lot of time focused on school and work over the years, I haven’t done a whole lot of dating. Sure, I’ve had a few boyfriends, a serious one or two, but most of those men were friends first. Therefore, there was no “Let’s exchange numbers, go on a few dates, play coy about who was going to call who when, and finally either get booed up or the boot.” The rules and etiquette of the dating game have gone over my head for a good minute, but now that I’m in NYC, it’s something I see that I need to learn thoroughly. So maybe that’s why I wanted your opinion on a certain scenario that happened to me not too long ago…
So, I met this very interesting and pretty good looking guy whose air of confidence and good vibrations was pretty infectious. His mother was Jamaican and his father was Nigerian (Nice mix, right?), and he was tall, dark and handsome. On top of that, he was into writing too, but actually spent a majority of his time as a theater actor in smaller productions. As a transplant to NYC, he reminded me of a starving (though he wasn’t) artist from the movies and TV who could bring dope conversation. And he did. After exchanging numbers, we could talk for hours on end about a little bit of everything. He was one of those “Hey Beautiful, how are you?” type of guys, instead of one of those “Hey” or “Whats gud” types (yes, the error was on purpose..I’ve seen it). I was excited about the prospect of getting to know him better, but I laid out from our very first conversation (let’s say it was a Monday) that my schedule was no joke. I work pretty hard and pretty long on this site, so when the day is through, I’m ready to be through too. Because of that, I asked if we could meet up on Saturday until I could decide whether or not he was worth making some exceptions for during the week (I didn’t tell him that last part of course). He said he understood and agreed, but the reality was, he really didn’t.
In fact, every day for a week this guy called me or text me at work and asked if we could meet up on that specific day: “Hey, I cooked some food, you want to stop by?” “I have a show tonight, do you want to come through and watch?” I don’t mind being spontaneous, but during that specific week, I was working late most of the days of the week. With earlier notice, I possibly could have budged, but because I didn’t know him well enough (and wasn’t comfortable being in his place yet) and because we’d already agreed on Saturday, I politely said thanks, “but I’m still at work.” That excuse was used on on top of the fact that borough hopping after work and being far away from my own home late in the evening also didn’t excite me. Long subway rides when you’re tired suck. But he didn’t get the memo. He kept texting me each day about how he really wanted to see me, and at one point, I felt that I was being pressured rather than being politely asked. I would just say, “Remember, we’re hanging out on Saturday, right? Do you mind if we just wait until then?” He would pretend like he was okay with that. That was of course until Saturday came.
After the last thanks-but-no-thanks, I got the feeling he was perturbed with me. Therefore, when Saturday came around and the hours started passing, I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t heard anything from him. When I called him, there were no more “Hey Beautifuls” for me, just straight up irritation: “What’s up?”
Oh, okay, I see how it’s going to be I thought to myself…
When I asked him if we were still kicking it or if he had other plans, SURPRISE, he all of a sudden had something come up. A friend that he does theater with needed his help with a screenplay, and for some reason, it became a last minute emergency. I giggled when he told me about his new plan, you know, because it was bulls***, and in a way that I knew we both would understand, I said, “Okay then, bye.” Bye as in, it was fun while it lasted. Kind of.
Now when I talked to my mother about the situation after-the-fact, she broke down that I probably came off too rigid for him. Because I wasn’t willing to eat pancakes at his house when he asked or stay out late when I had to get up at the crack of dawn for work, I was too stuck in my ways and wasn’t going to be much fun. For a minute there, I could understand what she meant. So for the next few suitors, I tried to make myself more available (although I would show up to dates exhausted…so tired that I would yawn nonstop). But then again, I thought to myself, “I asked him if Saturday was okay, and he agreed that it was!” Keyword: AGREED. As in, Saturday, was what we agreed upon together. However, when it wasn’t anymore (and he didn’t bother to just say that), he decided to try and pressure me every day to do what he wanted to do at the drop of a hat. When he couldn’t understand my reservations about doing so, or my schedule for that matter, he copped an attitude and was too through with my rigid a**. So now I’m trying to figure out if he was doing too much, or if I was doing too little? And oh yeah, us meeting, talking, and falling out, happened in the span of one week…
Should I have tried to be more flexible, or should he have stuck with our original plan?