Saturday, June 20, 2015

Taking Care of Myself

( I ) watched the Warriors beat the Cavs for the NBA title tonight.

I’ve written before that I struggle when my dear wife, Ellie, is not home. She has not been home in six months, having left to take care of our dear friend Loretta, who is in home hospice care with cancer.

Near the end of the linked to article, I said, “I go to bed alone ( and almost always way too late … but that’s the subject for another story ).” This is that story, and perhaps the beginning of dealing with it.

I start by admitting my inability to get myself to bed before midnight; sometimes staying up until ( well ) after 1:00 a.m. I sleep fairly late in the morning, and, by the time I get through my morning ritual ( bathroom routine, making the bed, getting dressed, morning prayer, a light breakfast, ( sometime very ) quick reading of the paper ), my actual day doesn’t get started until 10:30, 11:00 or sometimes later. My “actual day” can include plans with Ellie and Loretta, lunch with other friends, walking ( alone, with a friend ), my weekly volunteer Basilica inspection, helping my friend with her genealogy project, working around the house ( inside and out ), taking an evening writing class, and working in my office
( writing, home paperwork such as bill paying and checkbook balancing, various computer activities for the several Basilica volunteer jobs I do, reading, organizing and responding to email, exercising my fountain pen addiction ). Many days I don’t get to my office until 6:00 or 6:30. I do much of my office work on the computer, I am a techie and I very much enjoy using the computer. But I do find that I am easily distracted when doing so.

Examples include: Stumble Upon sends a notice about an interesting set of pictures from NASA; National Catholic Reporter sends an email about the resignations of the two bishops I am in the diocese of; LinkedIn sends a notice about a Work Anniversary of an ex-colleague. None of these, perhaps, takes much time on its own; each, however, invariably shows something else that interests me and I take that link. I get engaged and pretty soon an hour, or ( much ) more, has elapsed.

I am happy to engage in the distractions until I realize how much time has gone by. Then I disgustedly return to my work, but almost certainly another similar distraction occurs. Before I know it, it’s 11:00 and one or two important things are still undone, and I do them. Eventually, I leave my office, perform my evening ritual ( taking out my contact lenses, collecting the day’s newspaper for recycling, evening prayer, bathroom routine ), and, about an hour later, I’m getting into bed … ( well ) after midnight. After weeks of this, I am ready to admit I seem unable to break the cycle.

I was going to lament this in my journal the other night:

“Late again … watched the Warriors beat the Cavs for the NBA title tonight. LeBron is now 2-4 in NBA Finals. ( Jordan was/is 6-0. )

But I want to write – again – about being up late. I went to my office about 6:00, had a ToDo list, added a few things, and went right to work. Worked until game time and got what seemed like an amazing – though not all – number of things done. I just worked, focused, refused to let myself get distracted and really did some amazing and good work.

I used a Notebook in Evernote, so I could take the notes
( list ) with me on my phone and keep track of them in Desktop Evernote. It was cool to check things off as I did them, and, really, even cooler to decide, “This can wait until tomorrow,” and know that I will see the item – and do the task because of seeing it – tomorrow.

Suddenly I realize I’ve just written the first draft of this week’s post. Hmmm. Pardon me while I add posting a story to my ToDo list.”

I had just realized that I used that ToDo list to do a good amount of work in the two hours I had before the game started. It slowly dawned on me that having a written ToDo list could, for me, be a very powerful tool to help focus my activity and possibly allow me to better manage my bed time. This, for me, means taking better care of myself. It is a very good thing.

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