While beneficial to my performance in school, my college apps, and my eventual graduation, it has become more and more apparent to me recently that my habit of frontloading work over relaxation has become a toxic behavior. My friends — my partner David especially, have helped me realize this, and now I'm trying to take active steps to balance out my days.
The New Weekly Planner
While I didn't think I needed it for a long time, I made myself a weekly planner spread in Notion. I have a physical planner, which I still enjoy filling out, but if I need to move a task or an event around, I have to white it out and write it in somewhere else (pencil is not my jam).
(click to enlarge!)
This is my template for the week, Monday through Friday. As you can see, I have a top section that is divided off, with emojis for Morning, Afternoon and Evening. Under that, I have a palette emoji section which is specifically for personal projects. Then there's the work section, which is for any freelance or contract work I'm doing. Finally, there's the sparkle emoji, for non-work related chores.
Striking a Balance
NOW, I am trying to sequester out a few things a day for myself. I get my personally fulfilling art, my freelance work, and my chores out of the way bit by bit, in any order I choose. I don't HAVE to do chores or work first. When I cross out everything for that day, like I did on Monday, I have fulfilled my obligations for today and it's time to RELAX. Today, I'm using my relaxing time to idly write this post. Later in the evening, I'll be going out to get drinks. I'm DONE being productive for today.
Perhaps this format seems obvious to others, but it has taken me a long time to arrive here. For years I was dividing my tasks by what was most productive and piling that on first. It's almost like a person eating only brussel sprouts on a Monday, only steak on Tuesday, only noodles on Wednesday, only pasta sauce on Thursday, and saving ice cream only for Friday. There's a reason we're supposed to eat balanced meals (I'm still working on that too, lol), and the same goes for a balanced day.
Once my vacation is over, I'll hopefully be back to 8 hours workdays and a regular work week. When this is the case, the "work" part of my day is accounted for. David reminds me when I get home that I've done a huge amount of "being productive" simply by being at work, and being at home is a time to relax. I shouldn't be piling on the chores or trying to jump right into personal project work, even if it's fun.
I want to feel more in control of my schedule and not always ride the wave of productive guilt. I'm hoping this peek into my schedule may help others with the same thing.