I am not a morning person.
For anyone who knows me at all, this is no surprise. Though my willingness to get our of bed and my general mood upon waking has greatly improved over the years, I still find that I am most productive in the afternoon.
At work, this means it can be easy for me to get wrapped up in an important project at the end of the day. In my work, they’re all important and there is always more to be done. It isn’t the kind of job that you can simply walk away from, knowing everything is neatly wrapped up. And, I like it.
So I got into the habit of just five more minutes, which became just ten more minutes, which become just 15 and so on. It was a bad habit.
Then, one day, I unexpectedly found a way to remind myself to keep the balance.
There is a big ‘ol Target store about three blocks from my office. This is very convenient for quick runs for cat litter before work or to stop by and grab some extra paper towels on the way home.
Who am I kidding, It’s never that simple. Like many others, I find Target to be a mecca of all things good. The colors! The deals! All the things I never knew I needed! I become hypnotized and I can never just stop for one thing. EVER. Under any circumstances.
One day when I knew I need to be especially mindful of the time in order to pick up J. at the train on his way home from work, I set an alarm on my phone. The gentle buzzing in my pocket would remind me to head to register and get on the road within 15 minutes in order to meet him on time.
The next day it buzzed at work, 15 minutes before I usually leave. A nice reminder to wrap things up and leave it there.
It went off again the next day, and I realized I kind of like the reminder. No more glancing at the clock on my computer and realizing I need to leave in two minutes but haven’t organized my desk, wrapped up the project I’m working on or hiked across the building to check out for the day.
Every day at 5:00 pm my phone reminds me of what’s important. If I can wrap things up at work without a rush, I can be more present at home. If I leave on time, I can spend more time with my family. There are always exceptions, of course, but I like the simple reminder. It helps ground me and has helped me make a simple change in my routine, for everyone’s benefit.
Have you found any simple tricks to help you manage it all?