Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Time Management Tuesday: It's Temporal Landmark Time Again

As my loyal followers know, I am very fond of temporal landmarks, distinct calendar events that stand out for us in some way and give us a feeling that we can begin something new. Holidays are temporal landmarks. Birthdays, seasons, months. We often will begin new diets or exercise programs after New Year's Day or after a holiday. November has become a temporal landmark for many writers, who use National Novel Writing Month, which occurs then, to jumpstart new books. Many writer/teachers use vacations as temporal landmarks, a time when they write. 

Last spring I wrote about trying to use a Swedish event, Gokotta, that occurs between what are two temporal landmarks, at least for them, Ascension Day and midsommer. Gokotta involves getting up early with the birds to experience nature. My plan was to get up early for that period and instead of experiencing nature, work. 

No, that didn't work for me at all. It lasted two or three days. I can't even recall what time I was getting up then or a single thing I did.

But that was then and this is now, right? I think that's a Zen saying.

Maybe Our Biggest Temporal Landmark

Waiting at bus stop, first day of school
Back in 2016, I wrote about an article in which an author argued that September had become the new New Year. Most people, it claimed, saw September, the end of the summer vacation period, as a better time for beginning new endeavors. I suggested that that might be because, at least in the U.S., we are very connected to the school year, after spending 12-to-16 years in schools, ourselves, and possibly raising another generation who will spend another 12-to-16 years doing the same thing.

Quite honestly, I hated it when my kids got to the morning torture period of their education, when they had to be up at the buttcrack of dawn to catch a bus that drove up the street before many adults living here left for work. Getting up with them was a horror show for me, and I continued to do it, right up until they graduated, even though they were old enough and capable enough to get themselves up and out of the house themselves. I felt they shouldn't have to do something I wouldn't do.

Parents dread having their kids leave for college, but they get over it in about 48 hours because once the kids are out of the house, the parents can almost certainly sleep later. Even if they have jobs, they probably don't have to get up as early for those as high school kids do for school.

Unless they're teachers, of course. Then they're slaves to the academic schedule and calendar for their entire working lives. As a graduate of a school of education, I know for a fact that no one warns you about that. 

Working With A New September Landmark

Over the years since my emancipation from the academic calendar I have loved sleeping in. Which often involved, for me, reading in bed, dozing, waking up again, looking out the window or at the ceiling, and wondering when I was going to get up. And over the years, this sleeping in lasted longer and longer.

I was losing one-and-a-half-to-two hours a day compared to when I had teenagers in the house. I definitely could feel the loss in terms of getting things done, either things related to work or to life. On days when eight o'clock came and even went and I was just dragging myself out of bed, I often felt that that day was pretty much over. I should just think about what I was going to do the next day.

Why, yes, that is what's known as the what-the-hell effect

Then this year's September temporal landmark came and had a big impact on one of our young family members who had moved up to an older kid school and now had to get up at six to catch a six-forty-five bus. And I thought, I should get up with him. Yes. Yes, yes, I can do that.

So I got up with him Thursday and Friday last week. Then the three-day weekend came, so I took that off from getting up early, because he was. And I got up with him this morning.

Three mornings! Supposedly you only have to do something for six weeks before it becomes a habit. I only have five+ weeks to go.

When I say I'm getting up with this kid, I'm speaking metaphorically. He lives in another house in another state with parents who get up with him.

What Am I Doing With This Time?

Right now my plan is to do random crap in my early morning hours. I have a lot of random crap to do in my life. So far, I've worked a lot on weeding e-mail in-baskets. Went over a credit card statement. Printed out some things that needed (and still need) to be filed. The first day I did some yoga. This morning I replied to two personal e-mails, which is a big deal because I went so long without replying to a friend's email this summer (two months) that she e-mailed me again to see if I was okay. I wrote a big chunk of this blog post. I stumbled upon an old blog post that I'm going to repost this week.

I think the random crap plan may help me stick with this new schedule, because I like doing those kinds of things, if they aren't keeping me from doing more significant work. All the random crap I do first thing in the morning is random crap I won't be doing during prime working time, whenever that is. I also think wanting to support a young family member will help the new schedule stick. Even though I'm not actually doing a single thing for him. 

Also, I'm taking weekends and school holidays off, so that should help. Can't wait for Columbus Day weekend!

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