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View Full Version : Letting go of "should do"s and time management



Kestra
7-29-15, 10:03pm
I've been semi-retired/self-employed for 4 months now and I'm getting to the point now where my business activities are taking up a significant portion of my time and energy. Mostly this is great, as I treat my jobs like hobbies. I enjoy "working" - when it's self-directed, and when my work has a direct result (unlike working corporately where more work didn't translate into much of anything, except sometimes a bit more money).

But as part of my whole life re-org, I need to decide how I want to spend my time. There are niggling "should do" items that don't really improve my life, and other "should do"s that do improve my life, but I might be avoiding for poor reasons.

Things I'm working on letting go of:
- thinking I should sort/file my paperwork better. I'm mostly paperless, and most stuff is put away in a bin. I'm not missing paying bills or anything, I can find my passport, someone could find my will if they had to.
- thinking I should be cooking a greater variety of food. Simple food is really all I have time for. As long as it's relatively healthy it's fine.
- thinking I should do one more declutter. Really, until I plan to move there's really no reason to worry about this. All my stuff is nicely put away. The only thing I should really do is transfer some of my clothes to my closet, so I just have out on my shelves the 7-10 days worth I want easily accessible.
- some of my tracking categories. I'm still mulling this over. I'm a big tracker and have used these same categories for a long time. But now that I'm completely in control of every purchase I make, and living on quite a low amount, I'm not sure if there's a benefit to maintaining the level of detail I have.

Things I want to focus on more:
- exercise. This seems to be the first thing to get pushed aside when I'm busy. I'm going to go walk after I finish this post, instead of doing more studying.
- making up will instructions. I've been putting this off, but I think this is important, so I should actually do it. I need to leave my executor/beneficiary details of my accounts and how to re-distribute my money. Doing these basic instructions should only take 20 minutes. Maybe I'll work on this one on the upcoming weekend, when I'm too tired for much else. I'm taking a little vacation, so won't be doing any studying or major business work.
- writing on my blog. I tend to think I'm on the computer too much, so don't necessary want to do more writing, but then I end up just watching Netflix, which is worse.
- podcasts instead of Netflix. A good form of entertainment, without a screen. I miss listening to podcasts while I work (corporate job was so easy I could listen to talk radio almost all the time; current jobs need more thought, so it's only music while I work). There's no reason I can't do more of this on my downtime.
- gotta reduce my sugar again. I was doing really good for a few weeks, but as I get busier my sugar consumption sneaks up. It's too easy to reward myself with a sugary treat. I'm not really doing myself any favours there.

Things that I'm focusing on the right amount:
- socializing. This is one area that I'm happy with right now. I'm getting out to the right amount of activities, not thinking I should be doing more or less. I meet great people wherever I go.
- work stuff

How is everyone else doing? Do you analyze your activities like this? Are there things you should let go of? Or do more of?

Ultralight
7-29-15, 10:14pm
Obviously I analyze my activities a lot like this.

I do "activity inventories" and it really helps be toggle my lifestyle in a way that meets my desires more fully. It reveals my massive time-sinks. And if I say something is important to me but the time is just not being put into it in accordance with this importance I have to be accountable. The numbers are the numbers.

Ultralight
7-29-15, 10:23pm
Something I think about is processing my own foods as being a waste of time. By this I mean, if I make a mango and banana smoothie in the vitamix, am I getting more enjoyment than if I just peeled and ate the fruit? Vitamixing means more time making the food and more time cleaning up and more water usage and electricity. I see wastes of time and money in various little things like this but I often do little about it and I am not sure why. I am also not sure I should care. haha

And another thing... I have this horrible weakness for La Croix! So I buy it and drink like 6 cans a day (which adds up to $$$!). I can get by at home without it as long as it is not in the house. But at work, I almost feel like I need a can or two just to cope with stress and annoyances at my job. It is like I am dependent on it! :/ But I know it a waste of resources -- money to buy it, dealing with all the aluminum cans, etc. I just want to be one of the cool people who drinks still water from the tap out of a single steel bottle! haha

Kestra
7-29-15, 11:42pm
Something I think about is processing my own foods as being a waste of time. By this I mean, if I make a mango and banana smoothie in the vitamix, am I getting more enjoyment than if I just peeled and ate the fruit? Vitamixing means more time making the food and more time cleaning up and more water usage and electricity. I see wastes of time and money in various little things like this but I often do little about it and I am not sure why. I am also not sure I should care. haha

And another thing... I have this horrible weakness for La Croix! So I buy it and drink like 6 cans a day (which adds up to $$$!). I can get by at home without it as long as it is not in the house. But at work, I almost feel like I need a can or two just to cope with stress and annoyances at my job. It is like I am dependent on it! :/ But I know it a waste of resources -- money to buy it, dealing with all the aluminum cans, etc. I just want to be one of the cool people who drinks still water from the tap out of a single steel bottle! haha

This is me. Thank you for calling me cool. :) I use a metal bottle or my favourite big ceramic mug, depending where I am. And always tap water. Our city water is good here. I should really clean or replace my bottle at some point, but I don't get sick, and I hate to replace a perfectly good bottle just because it's several years old.

I hear you about the work addictions. Coffee was mandatory at work, just to get through. Now I'm mostly off of it. I still drink black tea though. There's something about warm beverages that makes me happy. I don't want to give that up.

I'm not a big fan of kitchen appliances, or fussy cooking processes for the most part. For appliances, I only own a stick blender. I do use my roommate's microwave and electric kettle, but won't buy my own when I move out. The only food procedure that is really worth it, IMO, is I make corn tortillas from scratch. They are so much cheaper and tastier than store-bought. I'm pretty lazy around food. For example, I'll just eat the kiwi fruit skin, instead of using a spoon or knife. I rarely peel or chop carrots. I don't take the tails off of the string beans, much to my ex-MIL's chagrin - ha ha.

Lainey
7-29-15, 11:46pm
Kestra - I think that was a very thoughtful post. Makes sense to consider these lifestyle issues when you've made the transition to semi-retired. I am pondering some of these things too as I age and get closer to retirement - maybe 2 years away now.
I agree with not being too hard over on things like the perfect file system or clothes closet organization. Sounds like you would get more life happiness in spending time doing what you enjoy vs. the "shoulds" in your life. And I'm expecting to be the same when I'm not working full-time - looking forward to it! I just enjoy reading the comments of those who are already there, so continue blazing the way for the rest of us!

Chicken lady
7-30-15, 8:15am
I think it's great that you're examining your behavior during this transition, before you get too set into new habits.

I'm a list maker. I used to make huge long lists and get to the end of the day and transfer most of it to the next days list. It was discouraging. I also fall into the trap of doing what is most obvious instead of what is most important. For example - it takes basically the same amount of time to sweep the floor on tuesday as it does on Monday. Yes, the floor is dirtier on tuesday. But if I sweep on tuesday instead of Monday and tuesday, nobody is going to die and I can use that time for something else. If I put off the laundry one day, i'll just have a more full load, etc. Or I can lose a huge chunk of time every day to sweeping, wiping, laundry, etc.

I've started making two lists - the daily list is now all the things I actually have to do that day. It always includes the meals I'll be serving and my chores (I just write "chores" not "milk, feed rabbit, feed chickens, etc...). Then in between I add other things. Some of them are not really " have to's" for example if I write "pick beans" and then it rains all day, I just let that go to the next day.

The other list is things I want to/should do. I pick from ths list when I have free time, or move items when they become more important. "pay cc" for example, might sit on the second list for a week before it gets moved over as a "have to" or, i might do it he first day while I'm on hold on the phone or something. Some things stay on the want to/should list so long I realize I don't care about them any more and take them off.

With the two list system I can write " sweep" on the second list and then ignore it instead of grabbing the broom. Then when I have a moment, I can decide if sweeping is really the most important thing to me on that list right now.

Ultralight
7-30-15, 9:45am
This is me. Thank you for calling me cool. :) I use a metal bottle or my favourite big ceramic mug, depending where I am. And always tap water. Our city water is good here. I should really clean or replace my bottle at some point, but I don't get sick, and I hate to replace a perfectly good bottle just because it's several years old.

I hear you about the work addictions. Coffee was mandatory at work, just to get through. Now I'm mostly off of it. I still drink black tea though. There's something about warm beverages that makes me happy. I don't want to give that up.

I'm not a big fan of kitchen appliances, or fussy cooking processes for the most part. For appliances, I only own a stick blender. I do use my roommate's microwave and electric kettle, but won't buy my own when I move out. The only food procedure that is really worth it, IMO, is I make corn tortillas from scratch. They are so much cheaper and tastier than store-bought. I'm pretty lazy around food. For example, I'll just eat the kiwi fruit skin, instead of using a spoon or knife. I rarely peel or chop carrots. I don't take the tails off of the string beans, much to my ex-MIL's chagrin - ha ha.

I kicked caffeine when I was about 20 years old. So no coffee, tea, or chocolate for me. I have only had two accidental consumptions in the past 16 years. I am fairly handy with a knife (probably the only way I am handy, haha). So peeling, chopping, slicing, filleting -- no problem really.

But I always take the tails off string beans! Come on now, be civilized. haha

We have RO water in the house I currently live in. I really should be drinking it. But it doesn't have bubbles!

pinkytoe
7-30-15, 11:40am
I once read that your brain doesn't know the difference between actually doing something or the visualization of doing the thing. In other words, we all waste a lot of time thinking about things rather than just doing them. I don't know when efficiency became such an anxiety provoking thing but I too feel trained to agonize over to-do lists. Also read that when tackling projects, start by taking care of the one thing that bothers you the most which is usually the one thing we procrastinate on. As far as beverages, I brew tea (herbal, black or green) every few days and store in a large glass jar in the fridge. Every day, I fill an empty Starbucks glass bottle with tea and take to work so that I have something besides water to drink. We have ice at work so iced tea. I think that LaCroix stuff might be hard on tooth enamel over time due to carbonation.

Ultralight
7-30-15, 11:53am
I once read that your brain doesn't know the difference between actually doing something or the visualization of doing the thing. In other words, we all waste a lot of time thinking about things rather than just doing them. I don't know when efficiency became such an anxiety provoking thing but I too feel trained to agonize over to-do lists. Also read that when tackling projects, start by taking care of the one thing that bothers you the most which is usually the one thing we procrastinate on. As far as beverages, I brew tea (herbal, black or green) every few days and store in a large glass jar in the fridge. Every day, I fill an empty Starbucks glass bottle with tea and take to work so that I have something besides water to drink. We have ice at work so iced tea. I think that LaCroix stuff might be hard on tooth enamel over time due to carbonation.

Oh man... but I like my tooth enamel. :(

SteveinMN
7-30-15, 2:11pm
Kestra, three things struck me as I read your post:

- The first was one of those Stuart Smalley-isms that goes something like, "Just for today I will not 'should' all over myself."
- The second was that, as I read it, I thought about what I 'should' be doing. I realized a while ago that I'm the kind of person who wants to do something well if I'm going to bother doing it at all. I still want to do that, but ...
- (third item) ...as the years and my energy budget get shorter, I try to resist the temptation to dive deep into everything. Sometimes 'good enough' is good enough. If your method of filing/paperwork works maybe 90-95% of the time, how much effort would you have to put in to get closer to 100%? Is it worth it? Dinners boring? Well, unless you're ordering take-out to avoid same-old-same-old or identifying a nutritional deficiency, is that really a problem?

Perfect can be the enemy of good. I would save 'perfect' for the stuff that would hurt you if you messed it up big-time.

Ultralight
7-30-15, 2:15pm
Kestra, three things struck me as I read your post:

- The first was one of those Stuart Smalley-isms that goes something like, "Just for today I will not 'should' all over myself."
- The second was that, as I read it, I thought about what I 'should' be doing. I realized a while ago that I'm the kind of person who wants to do something well if I'm going to bother doing it at all. I still want to do that, but ...
- (third item) ...as the years and my energy budget get shorter, I try to resist the temptation to dive deep into everything. Sometimes 'good enough' is good enough. If your method of filing/paperwork works maybe 90-95% of the time, how much effort would you have to put in to get closer to 100%? Is it worth it? Dinners boring? Well, unless you're ordering take-out to avoid same-old-same-old or identifying a nutritional deficiency, is that really a problem?

Perfect can be the enemy of good. I would save 'perfect' for the stuff that would hurt you if you messed it up big-time.

Good stuff, right here!