Dry cleaning, though a chore I don't actually perform myself, is one I fail at all the time. We're starting the new semester this week, so I dropped a load of overworn, pretty grotty, and much loved work shirts off at the dry cleaners on Saturday.
As I stood at the corner, something yellow and blue caught my eye. So familiar, that pattern. Not entirely surprisingly, this was my spring jacket. I apologized to the woman behind the counter for leaving my coat for almost a year. Oh no, she said, you dropped this off in August 2013.
Oops. No one should ever give me their dry cleaning. The problem is that for me, when chores are out of sight, they quickly become out of mind. In contrast, I hate seeing dirty dishes stacked on the counter and so that's a chore that regularly gets done.
This New Year, I have resolved to strengthen and build some regular habits and to generally be more mindful about how I spend my time. To help strengthen this resolve, I needed to do something to bring these tasks into view.
My solution has been to create a series of little weekly charts (pictured here) to tape onto the wall above my desk. Each day, I put a little checkmark if I have done the task. Because this transforms my daily meditation into visual data, the goal and my progress stay in view. In contrast, you can see that I've done no running at all this week. My hunch is that this means one of two things: I need to find and preserve a specific time for my runs, or, I need to admit that this isn't a goal I care much about and release it. Seeing what I'm doing and not doing makes these realizations clearer.
Now I just hope I can get those shirts back...
Get a Life, PhD
The Professor is In
The Thesis Whisperer
Tenure, She Wrote