Lessons Learned #8 – One Way to Keep Bad Stuff from Happening

This post is part of a series that began here. By sharing my “lessons learned” I hope to illustrate the power of this daily practice of gentle self-observation. Please follow along and share your own.

I just realized I more or less repeated myself yesterday, which is reminding me to say, It’s completely okay to repeat yourself doing this.  Sometimes you need to hear yourself say it a few times for a lesson to sink in and begin to inspire action or shift or change.  No need to get it right – or do anything at all – the first time.

Bad stuff happens when you neglect your routines.

One way to know how often you should do something is to stop doing it for awhile and see how long it takes for problems start to show up.  I’m not talking about neglecting it until you’ve got a mature, ripe crisis on your hands.  I’m saying stand back and watch for little signs that this thing you’re not doing needs attention.

Then – however long that is – halve it and base your routine on that interval. (The halving gives you a little wiggle room in case you need to skip the doing one time – because, say, you have a cold – without suffering icky consequences).

I know from experience that it’s best if do my basic bookkeeping once a week – maybe every other week if I’m super busy.  But this month, I skipped about three and sure ‘nuf, I missed paying an important bill. Not a crisis, but I sure would have preferred not to have missed it. Oh, and it took me hours to get caught up, which was not so much fun.

I also know I do my best writing in the mornings. If I don’t protect the time I have set aside for that work, then I lose my most focused productive period of the day to Twitter and email and little details that are lower priority.  Those things are important, but not at the expense of Big Stuff which is suffering a bit right now.

And I know from experience that it’s best if I deal with the dirty dishes daily. It’s easier to cook, we eat better, and the house is just more pleasant overall when I do.  But it’s especially important during sugar-ant season – which is apparently now.  Neglect the dishes and they quickly take over the universe that is our kitchen. Back to wherever you come from! Back I say! Back!

2 Responses to “Lessons Learned #8 – One Way to Keep Bad Stuff from Happening”

  1. 1 JoVE January 21, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Oh, this is making me feel much better. I have a routine about bookkeeping, I put bills on my desk right in front of the computer and pay them right away using the e-payments thing on my online banking site. It lets me specify a date, so I specify one close-ish to the due date. Then I enter the details in my spreadsheet and file the bill in the appropriate folder. Works great. Only goes wrong if bills get buried in a pile in front of the computer (which is not exactly low risk, but I try to remember to check regularly just in case).

    Also, I’ve just started trying to write first thing because I know it is my best time. And I’ve discovered that e-mail and blogs and even some of my marketing thinking can happen in the evening after the kid has gone to bed. So I might try to stick with that. And revel in the fact that it counts as a routine and I could build it into my life. Hurray.

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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



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