I don’t count time management as one of my strengths. ‘Procrastinate and binge’ would best characterize my creative routines. That worked alright as a music student in university and when I was single and often had entire weekends of free time to fritter away.
Now, with a family including two young children and a career as an international elementary school teacher, free time is a precious commodity.
I have designs on writing a novel, articles for my teaching blog, documentation and reflection for my teaching portfolio, music, learning, etc. All of that adds up to a sizable cognitive load that won’t easily fill the tiny gaps between family and work. If I wish to accomplish any of my creative goals, I need to plan a routine to retrain myself to work more efficiently within a limited timetable.
I have the same number of hours in a day as Thomas Edison and JS Bach, so I know there is time if I can devise a system for using it.
The first step in this process was to input all of my ‘to dos’ into an app called Any.do. Some are daily tasks like writing a journal post, updating social media accounts, or organizing in Evernote. Some are weekly like checking in to a MOOC or publishing a blog post. Each day starts with about twenty five.
Next, I created a personal Google Form to log the number of ‘to dos’ remaining at the end of each day. Although up until now, I’ve mostly added new tasks to my list. It’s taking some time to get used to, but I can sense that I will start finding new ways to tick off boxes every day.
Between those two tools, I expect to find ways to build the kinds of creative habits that will lead to the creative flow I hope for.
After a fulfilling life of four years, I finally retired my trusty iPhone 4S and now am the happy owner of an iPhone 6.
One early discovery on the new phone was the Health app, which can collect an astounding variety of data from the smartphone’s built in sensors and other apps and devices. The data is stored and presented in neat graphs on a dashboard which the user can customize.
I have been logging data into the Sleep Analysis and Weight functions for a week now, and just started adding Heart Rate data yesterday.
There are two apps that I’m using to encourage myself to eat better and exercise. I add information about everything I eat into MyFitnessPal and completing workouts with Fitnet. Both apps sync with Health to provide a detailed report on my dashboard.
Thus far, I have enjoyed watching the app collect and organize these data and I feel like I am getting a great return on a reasonable investment of time and labor. Fitnet, in particular, requires no additional data input. I just follow the videos to complete the workouts and the apps do the rest!
The greatest benefit has been increased mindfulness of my health related choices. Knowing that I’ll need to record a junk food snack or extra serving at dinner is a good deterrent. And getting ‘points’ for workouts is a great motivator! I look forward continuing this inquiry, and seeing how my graphs look with a month of data in them!