A good way of managing my professional time, I’ve been told, is to prioritize. I have a daily to-do list, a white board which I update (anally) with a list of current and future projects, and a good idea of the importance attached to each project (all requests from the president’s office come first). Having deadlines also helps. Despite all the planning, the one section of my white board that always overflows is entitled “Impromptu” — these are projects that just show up without a warning and, in most cases, need immediate attention.
Aggravating? It can be. But, I like to think it’s exciting. Even though these unannounced attention-mongers hog away at my time, I appreciate the element of surprise they add to my otherwise routine day. It makes every day chock-full of surprises. I am presented with a different challenge on a daily basis. Keeps me on my toes. Keeps me sharp. And I am able to still meet my (planned) deadlines. Well, 99 percent of them.
But what about personal life? On a daily basis, we simply follow the motions — wake up, go to work, come back, sleep. In between we squeeze some time for interpersonal interactions, watching TV, and eating. It’s just a reaction … it’s only routine. And the same attitude extends to a week, a month, a year, our life. Before we know it, it’s all a big glob of repetitive, drab ambulation. We buy into the idea of monotony so much, that it’s hard for us to even think of changing that schedule.
What’s stopping you from spicing it up? Making it interesting…
Injecting some life into your evenings? Experimenting…
It’ll only give you something to look forward to, something to enjoy and cherish. A chance to create special memories out of simple everyday things.
Mixing it up a little even once a week (and don’t make a schedule of when), will make your home life not seem so mundane, so routine anymore. Here are some ideas to add an element of surprise in your evening routine:
- Ditch a routine weekday dinner watching a pre-recorded television program for a night out.
- Bring flowers home … just because.
- Switch roles (the cook in the house does the cleaning, and the cleaner does the cooking — or any such variation).
- Order in.
- Spend an hour with your significant other and kids (if you have any) just talking/playing as a couple/family.
- Read a book instead of watching TV.
- Sit in the jacuzzi (we have one in our house that we have used only twice in four years!).
- Play a board game (or the Wii, if you’re so inclined).
- Cook together.
- Don’t bring work home.
Surprise yourself. Get creative. You’re more than a machine. You get only one shot at life — live it up.
I’ve given you 10 weeks’ worth of simple, easy-to-implement ideas. Got any of your own you’d like to share?