Sunday, November 14, 2010


OK, here's the thing.  

There have been some, er, issues with weight loss around here, and I'm not talking about the cat.

I was holding steady but, annoyingly, not really losing weight, even though I was working out every damn morning.   (And the food was largely under control.)

The problem was that getting exercise and eating right was not, in fact, sufficient for weight loss.  Putting things another way, I was exercising every morning, with no excuses at all.  (Because I knew, quite correctly, that if I allowed an excuse, I'd quickly stop exercising altogether.)  The problem was, hauling ass out of bed to get on the elliptical at 7:00 isn't entirely productive when I only got to bed at 2:00 to begin with.  Even 45 minutes of exercise (which is what I was up to) doesn't really do shit on five hours of sleep.

So, I started looking at weight loss more as a matter of overall health -- which isn't just a balance of eating right and exercise, but more of a three-legged stool with sleep thrown in there.

OK, a four-legged chair, if we toss in less stress.

I'm sure there are more factors, but I'm going to stop before my metaphor turns into a spider.

And the interesting thing -- for me, anyway, is that all of those things can click into place if I get control of one thing:  time management.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm pretty good at balancing important things like getting all my work done and my bills paid and all that.  But I'm substantially less good at figuring how much time to allocate to things like playing on the internet or staring at the TV with a cat on my lap.  (And I know that I have to allow some time for that.  At one point, shortly after Law School, I had this brilliant plan of not wasting a second -- if I was going to watch TV, I should at least be ironing, or doing cross-stitch, or something.  This plan lasted a couple weeks, max.  There's a place in my life for time-wasting, I just have to limit it.)

The problem seems to be that I've been doing a bunch of my time-wasting at work.

See -- here's how things normally work:  I plan to get to work at 9:30.  I fail, and get there around 10:00 or even 10:30.  Co-workers come by and we shoot the breeze.  I get an email, and I stop and answer it.  (Idiots call and I talk to them.)  When I finish reading a case, I treat myselt to a little web-surfing.  I stay at my desk through lunch.  And because there hasn't been a whole lot of work getting done, I end up sticking around the office till about 7:00 or 7:30.  I get home after 8:00.  Eat dinner, feed cat, watch TV, surf web, watch TV, unwind.  The unwinding part of the day takes at least a couple hours.  Then, I get to sleep around 1:00, and wonder why I have trouble getting to work at 9:30 the next morning.

So, a couple weeks ago, I started trying to get my butt in bed by midnight.  A good start.

Then, last week, I started trying to get to work at 9:30 (which required speeding up my morning routine) and actually working.  I mean, really, really working.  I'd read the e-mails but not answer then.  I told coworkers I was on a rush and couldn't really talk.  Hung up on the idiots calling.

Result:  I could leave by 5:30, with more done than I normally would when I stay as late at 7:30.  (Hell, I could even take a lunch break, and use that time to talk with my coworkers.)  It's like I bought myself two more hours.  I could get home early, do my unwinding, spare a little time for wasting, and still get to bed by midnight.

Small progress -- I only started on Tuesday of last week, and I had Thursday off -- but for three days, I just about got it right.

(If I make this work for another week, I'll put the exercise back in there.)

The plan still needs work, though -- I haven't quite figured out how to balance weekends.  I had a nice big weekend with nothing to do (the meeting on Saturday got cancelled and everything).  It would've been a good time to pay bills, do laundry, do annoying paperwork (get my VAT refund from Ireland), and maybe even put some books in the wall unit I had built-in months ago.  What did I do instead?  Spent Saturday on the internet, and on the couch, with the cat.  Didn't do a damn thing on Saturday, and then rushed to get the most important things done today.

Still, it's a start.  I'm on track to get to sleep by midnight tonight, so, hopefully, I can keep good work hours again.  I've really GOT to get this right.  

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