Establishing routines

Last year I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done in an effort to try to be more organized.

I started to try to keep at least some of the lists he says to keep.

It didn’t last long.

I know keeping lists can be good for people with ADD and other such attention problems. (While I have not been diagnosed as ADD, it often goes hand-in-hand with bipolar and when you look at some of my patterns of behavior, it’s really similar to ADD people.)

But I just can’t seem to keep up with it for more than a week or two.

I can see how, once the routine is established, it can make things easier. But establishing it as a routine seems to be beyond my capabilities.

Yesterday and today, I started to go through a big stack of paperwork, shredding and throwing stuff away that needed to be gone and filing what needed to be kept (I found my DD-214 and disability award letter from the VA, but still can’t find either one of our birth certificates or my driver’s license.)

Yesterday, I started on the most recent stuff. It was mostly from this year, a little from December last year. It was all still in my inbox.

I thought I was done.

Then I found another whole paper grocery bag’s worth of stuff that was mostly from last year and I went through that today.

I’m pretty sure that I have piles shoved in boxes and bags from the time we lost our last apartment in 2006, because I don’t remember doing a really big purge in all this time.

An established routine of dealing with stuff as it comes in would be very beneficial. If I could handle this stuff once a week or even once a month, it would only take a few minutes, instead of hours over a few days.

And I always tell myself I’m going to.

But then I don’t actually follow through and do it.

This is all wrapped up in that self-discipline thing, the same way housework is.

And I have the same problem with housework.

While C was in FL, I did a lot of deeper cleaning than normal, and I was even pretty good about getting dishes done most days.

Now she’s back, and she’s still never home, and everything is going to shit again.

I mean, really. She’s home to sleep, shower and get dressed and then she’s off either being social or working or at tae kwon do.

It’s not much different than when she was gone.

And yet, I find myself abandoning things that had almost become routine while she was gone.

WTF?

When I look back on my past, the times my home has been cleanest and I’ve done better at routine things are the times I’ve lived completely alone, or for a brief period when C was tiny after I kicked Deadbeat Roommate out.

My bedroom was mostly a mess, but the rest of the place was just fine.

Why is that?

I’ve lived with roommates, friends and lovers. I’ve noticed that whenever I first move in with someone, I get depressed almost immediately. Which, you know, can’t be good.

But why can’t I keep the place clean when I live with someone else when I obviously CAN when I live alone?

I know part of it is because when I’m alone, any mess is mine. I made it, I gotta clean it up. And things are always where I left them. Now that C is home, she’s leaving stuff laying all over the place, says she’ll pick it up , but doesn’t, etc. And I think that’s part of it.

But it can’t be all of it.

Now, I *did* grow up with routines. My stepfather made sure of that. Dishes done every day, other stuff done once a week or once a month, and I was the one responsible for pretty much everything except his laundry. Mop the kitchen floor once a week, once a month, scrub it and wax it. Bathroom cleaned every week. Vacuuming and dusting at least once a week. I probably only cleaned my room about every other month, though. And I always did the best job on that when it was something I wanted to do instead of being forced to do it.

I know the benefits of having that routine. If it never gets really bad, then it’s not that much work.

So, why do I let it get bad before I do anything about it?

I was talking to Pale today and I pointed out that I always SAY I don’t have time. But if you add up all the time I spend online and/or in front of the TV, I’ve got plenty of time.

So, why can’t I make myself Just Do It?

I am making myself go to the gym, and that’s going well, even though I don’t have an established routine. I don’t go at the same time of day when I work out. I always mean to go in the morning, but then I don’t. I don’t want to go during the busy hours of the day (especially the 4pm-9pm crowd), so sometimes I go at 10 p.m. or later. Or maybe I’ll go around 10 a.m. or even 8 a.m.

But the point is, I’m going. I did take 10 days off recently, but I’m still going. So, I can be somewhat disciplined.

I had tracked every meal for about 15 weeks. Seriously. And now I’m starting to slack off on that.

Why am I slacking? After 15 weeks, that should certainly be routine, no?

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