A little context permalink
I stumble right at the starting point with this as I don't really have 'typical' days. I know what they look like – my partner sails through his days with a calm, effortless consistency – and well, I try. But my schedule is a bit more erratic.
For me, it's my mood, rather than my schedule I try to keep consistent, and because I have a cyclical mood disorder, this can vary a lot from day to day and month to month.
One thing that doesn't change is that I try to approach my days gently. I listen to how I'm feeling and adjust my plans to fit around that. I also try to find a highlight each day to focus on. One thing that I'll feel a sense of accomplishment for doing. This varies too, sometimes it's something small like getting out of bed and having a shower, sometimes it's something I want to do – a hobby or learning something new. If I'm having a good day I try to make this something I have to do like taxes or laundry. On really bad days I struggle to do things for myself so I'll send a nice message to a friend or try to do something helpful for my partner instead.
This approach works for me because no matter my mood, I can acheive something.
8:00 My partner Oli, wakes me up in a blur of cuddles, coffee and sunlight, he's usually been awake for a few hours, so by this time he has a lot to chat about. I blink and nod at him in groggy confusion and retain absolutely none of it. Any time in the morning is too early for me, I would sleep until midday if left to my own devices.
8:00 - 9:00 On a really good day I'll do some gentle stretches in the morning or go for a walk. At the moment, more often than not I'm just trying to leave the news alone and get out of bed without falling into a doomscrolling pit. I've recently started to light a little scented candle next to my bed in the morning, I'll look at it while I drink my coffee instead of reaching for my phone.
First thing I do when I'm out of bed is take my meds and drink some water. Second thing is check on my plants and water them. On a good day I have a shower and get dressed into proper clothes. On a bad day I'll reach for the dry shampoo and chuck a jumper on over my PJ's.
9:00 I sit down at my desk and plan out my day. I was using Notion for everything until recently, but with all the zoom calls and laptop time I've been craving tangible, analogue things, so I've started writing my plan down in a notebook. I like it. I have some pastel highlighters too which make me smile.
9:30 I fire up slack and say hello to the Clearlefties. My mornings are usually interspersed with meetings, catch ups and 1:1's. I find it quite hard to concentrate until these are finished so I get small tasks done in the morning and leave the larger things until the afternoon.
13:00 Lunchtime. I usually take Brody for a walk, on a good day we'll go for a run, he runs right next to me and barks encouragement when I slow down. I'm lucky enough to live right on the coast so usually we'll go in a loop down to the park, along the undercliff path and back on the clifftop. If the tide's out we'll sometimes take a walk on the beach and nose around some rock pools.
14:00 I use my lunchbreak to get out of the house, so this is 'super speedy eating food at desk' time.
14:00 - 18:00 Focus time. I work the best in the afternoons and evenings. I'll usually listen to music while working, but if I really need to concentrate I use Noisli. I also drink about a million cups of tea.
18:00 I try to finish work at this time. hyperfocus and procrastination sabotage this goal quite frequently.
After I finish work, it's 'tech-down' time. I switch my laptop off and make my flat cosy, it's dark by this time so the candles come out and the fairy lights go on.
My evenings are spent doing quiet, comforting things. Reading, listening to music or podcasts, having a bubble bath or tinkering with hobbies. Recently I've been working on some embroidery, which is fun, a bit like tactile sketching. My partner also spends his evenings on his hobbies, either tinkering with synths or soldering. I refer to soldering as 'man-embroidery' which he loves.
19:00 / 20:00 One of us will make dinner, sometimes we eat at the table and chat, occasionally we'll watch something. I'm loving midnight diner at the moment, on Heydon's suggestion. In his words, it's like tv valium.
22:30 Bedtime. I'll sometimes listen to an episode of radio lab or read a book until I feel sleepy. This year I'm trying to mix some political non-fiction in amongst my usual fare - so my bedstand is a mix of Chomsky, Marx and Sci-fi. So far, the political books are proving very effective at helping me fall asleep.
I'm learning not to be so hard on myself when this slips. Despite the best of intentions - some days don't go as planned.
I try to remember that my productivity doesn't determine my worth and that berating myself won't magically make me neurotypical.
If you're reading these posts - whatever your day looks like - whether you smashed through a huge to-do list or not. You're doing good, remember to be kind to yourself.