Saturday, June 24, 2006

Scheduling: Like A Puzzle Made Of Jello

Hmm, so here's a piece of planning that I knew, in the sub-cockle regions, that I needed to do, but I've been putting it off, I think, subconsciously. This is one of those things that needs to happen because I'm a grown-up (physically anyway) and because of the stickiness of my current situation. College kids and lucky others might not have to think this far ahead, but for me...yeah, I'd better. As to why I'm posting it...I was originally just going to write it out for myself (it does involve more personal info that I usually flash to the 'Net), but for people doing this, especially with tight schedules and sticky lives, I can't imagine it wouldn't be useful. I'm not sure if it'll go in the book yet, though.

Here's the question: How am I going to spend my time? There's less flexibility in there than I'd like, and far less than there was last time. Even though last time I was working part-time and taking 22-credit-hours a semester and tech-directing the theater group, I was also living in a dorm, with all the company, and freedom of noise and movement that that entails.

Click "Read More" for the boring details...

Now, I live in an, um, "lower flat" (glorified basement) with my wondeful dreadlocked husband (S.) and my beautiful, frighteningly spunky three-year-old daughter (M.). The daughter has a real bedroom; S. and I share a bed walled-off by bookcases and a square of living-area packed, as you can imagine, quite full of stuff. (We share our living-space with a music fetish -- guitar, bass, amp, piano, pieces of drum-kit stacked in a corner, home studio taking up a bookshelf...and a computer fetish...three of 'em, networked, plus auxiliaries...and way too many books...and a huge anime collection...and, yeah, a three-year-old. It's pretty tight.) Two people sleep upstairs, one of them lightly, and I wouldn't hang out upstairs anyway (too messy for my taste). I do have a backyard with a garden in it (don't ask how I managed to plant a garden this year, but I did, and damn am I proud of it -- it's a pretty decent-sized veggie garden, all organic, just like the Great One likes 'em. Mmm.). And a garage, which is currently trizashed, but which I have permission to work on (and which I think I can scrounge a corner out of, once worked on, for a chair and a reading-lamp and maybe a radio). I live in the Metro Detroit area, where there is nothing to do for 20 minutes in any direction and nothing WORTH doing for 45, that I know of, anyway. Our population of intellectuals and crazy people is sparse to say the least, and they generally don't advertise. So I can't count on just going somewhere, especially at night, and being entertained.

Those are the physical circumstances. Now: Time taken up. I work full-time; I agreed to come in early to make up for the hour off in naps I'll be taking, so I figure I'll get ready and go to work right after I wake up at 6:20. (Should mean lighter traffic, too, thank the lords of miserable Motor City.) I'll get home around 6 as usual, take a nap if I haven't on the way home, and play with my daughter until her bedtime at 8:30 or so. That's all pretty written in stone, except on weekends; but now we get to the hard part...

Usually, I chill out between 8:30 and 10 or 10:30 and hit the sack. I practice one of the instruments for a few minutes in there somewhere (usually), play some video games or muck with my website, maybe do some reading-for-fun before I pass out. (Homework I've worked on in the cracks all day, and then I do marathon study-sessions twice a week to get my assignments in. Papers and tests eat into my sleep-time, usually, and/or I have to take half a day off work to finish them.) -- FYI, I just realized that's confusing, because if I have homework, don't I at least have a campus to hang out at? But sadly no; I attend college online, because, well, you've seen my schedule! ;)

Now. After I wake up from my 10:00, S. would like me to be gone for a little while, because he likes to have quiet time to code or work on his projects, and he usually takes it when I go to bed. There is an all-night restaurant I know of (actually two; one close by and one more interesting) where I could go and either study, read or, once I get a laptop (I plan to buy a used one with some student loan money I've got coming), write. I think I can handle those; even on a regular schedule I don't usually get too darn tired before 2 a.m. If I run into something interesting to do (you never know; when I was younger we used to hang out and roleplay in places like that...running into a cool group is unlikely, but you never know), I can nap in my car and keep it up. But if not....

Then there's the dreaded 2-6 block where I KNOW, at least for the first week, that I'll have to keep busy or fall asleep on my feet. Probably no way I can write or study then, and at home I'm limited to being don't-wake-the-kiddo-quiet, which is pretty darn quiet, and I can't turn on more than one lamp or I'll wake S. Nor can I really go upstairs, except to pee or get something from the kitchen. Yikes, huh?

Well...The weather's lovely; I can take walks. Or rollerblade (NOTE TO SELF: Get reflective clothing). I can work by moonlight in the garden (which actually sounds fun); I can very quietly work on the garage. (ANOTHER NOTE TO SELF: Set up lamp in garage; there is no way I'm wrangling all those spiders and mice and gods-know-what-else in pitch blackness!) I have some minor art projects and crap I can do which may or may not work out if I'm terribly tired. I can practice bass or guitar on the back porch or, I suppose, park my car somewhere isolated and practice singing, or reciting (not that I'll ever have the balls to do either of those in public, but I do very much enjoy them). I bought a floor-cushion yesterday (score, it was 75% off!) so that, if I just can't do anything besides play video games or watch TV, at least I won't be sitting on the couch to do it. (The couch is blessedly uncomfortable--it'll be great for napping; you get kinks within 10 minutes on it--but not so uncomfortable that I wouldn't fall out on it at 4 or 5 a.m.!)

So. Now you see what I'm up against. I would pay darn good money for a house or even a room of my own, or to live in a city where there are actually things to do and see at night...not having either of those is going to make this seriously challenging. But that's the point, I guess -- If I can do it, darn near anybody should be able to. Uberman's Uberman, I could call it. ;)


Anonymous boris (krokar) said...

Being under an artificial light all night is not good for you. You need to spend atleast one period between naps (preferably more) in complete darkness (sleeping mask to cover your eyes) otherwise you wont get your portion of melatonin. You will age faster and be less resistant to cancer.

25 June, 2006 03:37  
Blogger PureDoxyk said...

boris: I have never heard anything like that. Sounds, to be honest, like total hooey. Do you have references to back it up? I certainly didn't spend any 3-4 hour periods sitting in the dark last time I did this -- um, what would be the point of being awake, if you're sitting there with your eyes covered? Not to mention, at least at first and probably later, it'd be almost impossible to STAY awake that way. I got my doses of darkness by being outside some every night, and that's pretty much what I intend to do this time, barring a good scientific reason not to.

25 June, 2006 09:58  
Anonymous ami said...


Was there a specific reason for settling on 4hr/20min naps? (As compared to for example 6hr/30m or 8hr/40m ones)

Although I think it would be fun to try I'm not sure how I'll fit life into 4-hour bits :)

26 June, 2006 05:59  
Blogger PureDoxyk said...

ami: I/we started with 20/4 becuase that's the "traditional" one you hear about, the one attributed to da Vinci and others. Though information about it was sketchy, we decided to start there and see if modifications helped. And as it turned out, they didn't. Longer naps, if they're still under an hour, don't seem to give you more energy; and when you're living on naps, you don't really have the energy to go more than 4-5 hours between napping. That was our discovery, anyway. (And breaking life into 4-hour chunks, at least the last time, wasn't terribly only have to take a half-hour break from whatever you were doing, and then you can go right back to it...and if you want, you can keep that up *indefinitely*. After a while, it started to feel like the whole world was a video game; you could pause it to sleep, and pick it right back up and nothing would have really changed, and just keep going and going and going. That's a clumsy description, but it's hard to describe!)

26 June, 2006 09:34  

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