At one point, this blog was going to be about putting in a little effort now, to be a lot more lazy later.  Turns out, when you’re getting a Ph.D., there’s not a lot of room for “lazy later.”  The last few months have been all about something I affectionately call PP2.  I’ll spare you the details, but it’s in between a term paper and the big D (that’s dissertation for those of you whose Ph.D. programs call it something else, looking at you BFF-F).  Actually, it’s pretty far from a term paper, and even though it has been in development since last fall, it is still OWNING MY LIFE.

So whenever I feel capable of writing, I’ve been writing that, and whenever I assign myself some downtime, I’ve been doing anything but writing (including updating my lovely blog).  I am currently experiencing some unassigned downtime in my tub, because after 3.25 days of writing for 6-10 hours per day at my slightly too low monitor, this morning I stretched my arms into the air, arched my back, and my whole upper back and neck seized up.  Shit.  I knew this would happen.  That’s why I finally paid the $10/term membership to the student gym and put all their yoga classes on my calendar.  That’s the first step, right?  No.  That’s like, the zeroth step.  I do this every time.  Every time my body breaks after not taking care of it, my motivation to take care of it skyrockets.  Every time I start to feel better enough to actually do so, my motivation plummets.  What are you, 16?  Be a grown ass lady and take care of business, yeesh.  (Hopefully that pep talk will keep me motivated through this recovery.)

Okay, so blaming my lack of posts on PP2 is not entirely fair.  I also blame the apartment.  This apartment has always been love/hate.  We loved the space, but hated the price.  I love the proximity to everything, but hate the dumbass kitchen counters.  I love that I can take an afternoon bath with light streaming down on me from the window in the shower, but I hate the shower curtain rings.  But mostly, I hate that ever since it sunk in a few months ago that this would likely be the last time we renew the lease, I hate that my motivation for putting any effort into the apartment (or this lovely blog) has gone down the drain (even for quick shit I’ve already paid for like replacing the shower curtain rings with new ones I bought on sale five months ago).  I’m not promising that this is some kind of turning point for the apartment or the blog, but I am going to put down my phone, get out of the bath, and put up those damn rings, neck or no neck.

Well, I put up some of the rings.  Our three shower curtains are held up by three separate types of shitty plastic shower rings. (Does each curtain have its own kind of ring?  Nope!  They mix and match!  How fun!)  So I was able to take down one set easily, but as I feared, the other two sets are held together by some sort of gypsy curse.  New motto for the apartment (and the blog): partway done is better than not done at all.

A Few Real Habit Changes to Improve Your Life

The first step to reducing my cell phone addiction has been to stop using my phone as my morning alarm clock and having no excuse for keeping the phone in the bedroom. I bought the alarm clock above (it’s so cute and thin!) for $14 and have set up my charging station outside of the bedroom. This means when I’m home, I’m using my phone less and only checking it when I need to talk to someone. I want to be focused on what I am doing and when my cell phone is in view, all I want to do is look at it. This doesn’t really achieve anything. There’s no problem with using the phone when I need it, but 95% of the time, I don’t need it.Stretch for 15 Minutes at Some Point Everyday

I have a distinct memory of always seeing my parents on the living room floor stretching out their backs and legs after a long day of work. On the weekends, they would do this in the mornings before starting the day. They would often ask us kids to walk on their backs (this was when we were under 100 pounds) or in the case of my mom, we would grab her feet and pull them away from her, giving her legs and back a good stretch. Now I see how helpful that little bit of stretching time can be. Not only is it helpful if you’ve been sitting down all day, it gives you time to meditate and reflect. I’ve also been using a Foam Roller to stretch the muscles in my back and legs. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a runner.Clear out the Dishes in the Sink or Put Away the Clean Dishes

I dream of the day when I hire a weekly housekeeper to clean our house from top to bottom. But really, the kitchen is the biggest time-thief but with T. Make a commitment to make sure the dishes in the sink have been washed or put in the dishwasher at least once per day. If there are no dishes out, then take those few minutes to wipe down the counters, take out the trash or sort the recycling. It doesn’t matter if you do it in the morning or in the evening, just give yourself a few minutes everyday to put the kitchen in order so that there is less visible clutter in your everyday life.Make Water Delicious and Eliminate Most Other Beverages 95% of the Time

I already love drinking water and get pretty close to the recommended daily amount. But sometimes the mere thought of an ice-cold Coke or orange Fanta feels impossible to resist. I want to be serious about never drinking soda, lemonade or sugary juices, even when it’s free. To get your fix of something that’s a little more exciting than just plain water, you can infuse water with a few slices of cucumber, watermelon, or any other fruit, or try mineral (sparkling water). This Infuser Water Bottle is a sleek looking option if you prefer something fancier.Set the Alarm for No Distractions for 45 Minutes Every Work Day

If you do any kind of work where you have time to work independently- whether you are in construction, a writer, a manager, or anything else, the chances are that you are likely to get distracted throughout the day. There are a few different theories on what “chunks” of time are the most productive- you can do three to four 15-minutes chunks of time with no distractions (turn off email, phone, put up a “do not disturb” sign), or 25-minute segments with a 5-minute break right after. Personally, I can’t take the 5-minute break. A 5-minute break turns into me looking up what are the latest movies Anna Kendrick is in and why does such and such person have 1 million Instagram followers? And then I start thinking about what I want to eat for lunch so let me just get my phone out and check Yelp real quick. So I prefer the 15-minute segments. I still let the buzzer go off to remind me that I’ve completed one, and depending on how I’m doing I try to do at least 2 more segments of uninterrupted work. Usually this focused time helps me get so much done that it sets the tone for the rest of the day and gives me that sense of accomplishment I am constantly seeking.Work on One Important Goal Each Day

Right now I feel like I am floating without any written goals. But even without them, I know that I have some big goals like making more money, cleaning and decluttering our home, and writing more. If I am at least doing something towards each of those goals each day, I start to see progress in the right direction. To make it a habit, focus on one of your goals each day. Give it a separate time or scorecard. If you’re goal is to lose weight or get in shape, give yourself a fitness journal or a Crossfit Blog that help you throughout the journey. If you want to write one page of your novel every day, make your desk the space only where you write the novel, not pay bills and write grocery lists. If your goal is to change how you feel about yourself, give yourself time to clear out your old thoughts and behaviors to be able to create new patterns.

Although I could make this list much longer, I wanted to do a list that was achievable but not overly easy. It’s not easy to wash dishes everyday, but I always feel better when I do it. Everyday I check yet I don’t go through it. I admit I don’t have focused time every workday, but it’s something that is very important to improve how I work. Does this list help you or are you already checking the above items off everyday and this is easy-peezy? Let me know!