I know I didn’t succeed in posting twice this past week, so I figured I would at least post once.
Since it’s the beginning of the year, I’ve been seeing a lot of people post about their goals and their words or themes for the year. I have been wanting to think about this, but I never seem to have time to just contemplate. Not that I have time right now. I’m staring at a stack of essays that I STILL haven’t finished, and am not likely to finish tonight. However, thinking of that, has led me to this.
There are two words I’m considering as far as being my focus for 2014. I can’t really accomplish one without the other, though, so I may end up having to work with both. The first word I thought of is rest. The second one is time.
I have been tired since my girls were born. And before that, I was tired because I was pregnant. And before that, I was pretty much always tired for one reason or another. And yes, some of it was unavoidable. I was in my first years of teaching, and I was the adviser for the school newspaper. This meant I was usually working 60-80 hours a week. However busy I was, though, my poor time-management always exacerbated my stress. I have NEVER been good about getting things done without some serious procrastination beforehand. This goes way back to middle school when I would come home, watch TV for two or three hours, and then be up until 10 or 11:00 every night doing homework. I’d always manage to get my work done, and it was always on time, but there were usually several wasted hours in the process.
These bad habits stayed with me throughout high school and even into college. I almost never started my homework on a Friday night or a Saturday morning. Nearly every essay I ever wrote, I was working on until about 5 minutes before it was due. My culminating project for my methods course was a 4 week unit plan, and I still remember (and shudder just thinking about) staying up the entire night before it was due, frantically finishing it up between classes on the day it was due, and then finally turning it in about 15 minutes before the final deadline. I can still remember coming home after turning it in that day, falling asleep around 4 p.m., and sleeping clear through until Saturday morning.
With that project and others, part of the problem was me wanting to make it PERFECT and fiddling with it until the last minute. But I definitely should have started it earlier, and worked on it more regularly, so that I didn’t need to work on it for 24 hours straight before turning it in. And sadly, I can’t even say that that experience taught me an important lesson. I still struggled with procrastination throughout student teaching and even now. Since the girls were born, I’ve really tried to get a little work done every night, but there are some nights when I am just too exhausted, and I don’t do anything. And there are some nights I sit in front of the computer, or on facebook, (or typing a blog!) when I should really just stop it and get to work.
Most nights I am lucky to get 5-6 hours of sleep. We get the girls to bed around 8. Lately they haven’t been going to sleep until 9. And then I have from 9 until I can’t stay awake anymore to do any remaining chores, exercise if I’m going to that day, and get work done. I typically sleep midnight – 5 a.m. And this just isn’t cutting it anymore. I don’t think I ever feel more miserable than when I first wake up in the morning. Getting out of bed feels like torture. And I have to wonder if I could change my whole perspective on life if I could just get a little more sleep. I see what happens to my girls when they don’t sleep enough. They get clumsy, easily frustrated, easily upset, and they just start (figuratively) falling apart. It makes sense if that is also happening to me at some level, due to constant sleep-deprivation. I feel like maybe my life would be a lot better if I could just get some more rest.
But how do I make time for more sleep when I don’t have enough time to get my work done as it is? This is where time has to come in as well. If I were to honestly assess my use of free time over a week, could I find more time to get done the things I need to? If I could actually dedicate two or three hours EVERY night of doing work for school, could I get caught up and then possibly ahead to open up more time for sleep? It’s worth trying.
All of this is easier said then done, though. I’m trying to train for a 15K race right now, which requires at least an hour of exercise six days a week, and more like 2 hours on long-run days. I have essays to grade in three classes still that I’ve had since Christmas break. And I know that when I string together a week or so of literally no free time for myself, I start to feel like I’m losing my mind. I need to really think this through and come up with a plan if I’m actually going to make any real changes. And to do this I need time. But I want to try. I’ve been able to make real changes in other areas of my life: fitness, nutrition, cooking our own food. I would LOVE it if in 2014 I can make some changes in this area too.