Monday, January 28, 2013

750 Words: A Plan for Sanity

All is calm in my body and slower in my brain.  My husband and I just came back from a massage at Massage Envy because we decided it was cheaper to go there once a month than go to physical therapy a few times a week, only to have pain return.  I used to think massages were for hoity-toity rich people, but now I can see why people like us go.  And after this week, we needed a massage.

Last night, to focus and relax, I did a watercolor. I wasn't sure how it would pan out, but this morning, when I transferred it to note cards, I was pleased to see the bold colors against cream colored paper came out nicely.  I also made a few cards out of my other paintings and hope to sell some at a craft fair coming up.  They won't make much money even if they do sell, but it was so relaxing to paint and produce something.  If you have read my previous 750 entries, you will know I love to create tangible things.  I plan to paint again later today. 

This all leads up to what I re-discovered while talking to my massage therapist (giving a shout out to Alexandra).  I totally overstimulate myself by compulsively checking email, Facebook, etc.  Since I already get noise sensitive and sensory overload in the outside world, probably one of the worst things I can do is sit here on the computer all day, especially in isolation.  The words start taking on meanings that confuse the hell out me, my mind turns and runs faster than my internet connection. 

One of the reasons I'm on the computer so much is, of course, I'm a writer.  Second, I volunteer via the internet.  Third, my paying work involves the computer.  But these responsibilities could be better managed if I were on a schedule, which I am not because I'm working from home and am rather ADHD.  So my thought was (and my husband has been trying to tell me this for years), I need some kind of schedule, and that means limiting my computer usage. I can work around things like appointments, but especially my online activity time should be reduced.

I'm not sure how this will work except to say that maybe in the morning, I will check my email accounts, write my 750 words, write my "small stones" or whatever poetry is mulling around in my head, then take a break (I don't know how long).  Then, I will work on my paying projects for no more than three hours at a time, making sure I get up at least every hour because sitting at the computer strains the muscles.  The three hours might include things like marketing my books, working on websites, etc. If I have no deadlines, I can do my volunteer work.  Then I will shut off the computer. Then, I will take the dog for a walk and/or exercise.  Then I will nap if I want.  Then I will do housework and cook.  Then I will be ready for the dinner/evening routine which should not include more than two hours on the computer.  Then I will take another break and from 9 p.m. on I will try to stay offline, though I will allow myself to play my word game, since the music is soothing and it's fun making words out of random letters (like Boggle). The exact order of this is contingent on appointments, which will cut into my computer time unless I'm on a deadline.  I will set a timer of some kind to remind me when it's time to "switch stations," (like they do for elementary school kids).  When I am not scheduled to be on the computer, I will literally power it down.  I will give myself some flexibility because sometimes I will want to do things like paint or scrap book.  I will allow myself to switch the order of operations, but I should not be on the computer more than three hours at a time and no more than 6 hours a day.

So that's my plan.  It still sounds like a lot, or a little, depending on how you look at it, but considering I work seven days a week, it all adds up.  And maybe that's something else I need to consider: taking more half or full days off from the computer.  Maybe I will gravitate towards that, but one step at a time.  
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