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  • Writer's pictureDonna Gerard

The Perpetual Rotation Schedule: Part 2

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

After a fitful start, I’m getting just a little bit of traction on this Perpetual Rotation Schedule (see Part 1 for details.) Here are the benefits as I see them.

1. I’m finding time to do all the things that I want to do.

2. The house is cleaner.

3. I’m sitting less because I alternate sedentary and active projects.

4. I feel less stressed because I’m not trying to keep to any concrete schedule.

Before I move on, I should recap what the Perpetual Rotation Schedule (PRS) is.

1. List the special activities you must do, i.e. phone call at 9:30, lunch with friend at 1:00, pick up birthday cake, dentist appointment at 4:00. These are you centerpieces.

2. Morning routine. These are the activities that always start your day-what you do as soon as your feet hit the floor. If you have a centerpiece scheduled for 9:00, get up early enough to complete your morning routine before moving onto your 9:00 thing.

3. Rotations are the activities you do on a regular basis, including the fun stuff that you want to be part of your life. To name a few possibilities-routine housework, online solitaire, painting pictures, baking, gardening, writing poetry in a cafe, home projects. Make a list of all the jobs and fun things you want to engage in regularly. I like to arrange my list alternating between sedentary and active “jobs”. You rotate through these jobs for a specified amount of time. One of my items is “working in the yard for 30 minutes”. I set a time on my phone and when I’ve worked for half an hour, I move on to the next thing on the list.

4. Keep your eye on your centerpieces! Set alarms. If you’re working in the yard before your lunch date, just be aware of the time. When you get home from lunch, if you don’t have another centerpiece (or not right away), go on to the next activity on your rotation list.

5. End of Day. It’s dinnertime. You’re centerpieces are probably done, and you have evening things to do. For me this means it’s time to cook dinner, eat, clean up the kitchen, finish my 10,000 steps, take a shower, and watch an hour or two of TV before going to bed. Sometimes I might skip TV to do another rotation activity, if I feel like it. Then at 10:00 I head off to begin my bedtime routine- brush my teeth, put on lotion, organize the next day, pull out clothes, and read until I fall asleep.

Here’s a peek at my yesterday. There were only two “centerpieces”: I had to go to the post office, and I needed to start cooking dinner at 5:30.

· I woke up at 8:23 without an alarm clock.

· I worked through my entire morning routine by 9:10. This means I had gotten myself ready, stretched, straightened up my bedroom, took my meds, and went for my 19 minute walk.

· I addressed the package I was sending (my book, Who’s Tougher Than Us? The Realities of Teaching) and headed to the wrong place. I headed to the UPS Store instead of the post office. Before I got out of the car I realized that UPS doesn’t deliver to P.O. boxes. No harm, no foul. I stopped into McCaffrey’s grocery store for the best ever croissants and proceeded to the nearest post office, which was kind of out of my way. I got to the municipal complex, but boy did I have trouble finding the the actual post office. My GPS dropped me off behind it, in a lot that was clearly for employees and not the general public. I did finally get there to be greeted by a very helpful clerk who laughed when I said I wanted to send my package the cheapest way possible. “Everyone wants the cheapest way possible!” he smiled. On the way home my phone rang. It was my husband checking to see if I’d fallen off the planet. But I was less than five minutes away from home and a croissant breakfast.

· After eating, it was time to start my rotations. I was at the top of the list so I set my timer for 20 minutes and wrote in my online journal. My journal is a hodgepodge of rants, memories, plans, lists, and observations. Yesterday I nursed my concern that I don’t write as much as I should, so I wandered towards what I would write next. By the end of my allotted time I had jotted down the gist of my next article, My Body As My Guide.

· Now it was time to do routine housework for 30 minutes. I keep a sublist of routine tasks. I left off by cleaning the kitchen, so it was time to start the bathrooms, of which I have three. My goal was to clean the sinks and toilets, which I accomplished with interruption. I got a phone call and paused my timer. After awhile I decided to restart the timer and I cleaned while I talked. I finished with three minutes to spare.

· Email time! I had approximately 60 items in my inboxes. A word about this. Even if I’m nowhere near email on my rotation list, I periodically check my notifications for anything important that I need to tend to immediately. I only had three of those in the last couple of days. Now I got to read newsletters and hit delete on yet another offer from Domino’s Pizza and things like that. I worked through everything in under 45 minutes and it was time to move on.

· Tending the Yard. It was a hot and humid day, but it was only half an hour. I’m amazed at how much I can get done in such a short time. I tied up a fallen tomato plant, cleaned out the pool vacuum filter, picked tomatoes and cucumbers, cleaned out the skimmer baskets and added chlorine tabs, and (this is amazing for me) finally removed the unused flower pots that have been sitting in the corner of the deck for no less than three years. Does anyone else have some tiny job that never gets done?

· I came into the house very sweaty, poured myself a tall glass of water with cherry juice, and settled down to write for an hour and a half while worshipping the miracle of air conditioning. I wrote and published the article I had played with earlier in the day. After awhile I noticed that the weather was changing. The clouds had taken over and the wind kicked up. I moved outside to the front porch to enjoy the coming storm while continuing to write.

· It was time to take a walk around the block after such a long sit. When I was working in the yard I swore that I wasn’t going to walk; I was going to swim laps for 20 minutes. But now it was cool so I changed my mind . Out I went to accumulate those steps.

· After the walk it should have been time to read online stories and write comments. I love comments on my articles, so I try to do the same for others. But I check this off my list because I had cheated this morning. Before I got out of bed I had read and commented on several pieces. In fact, one article had given me an idea for article I published earlier. I was ready to go on to my next item.

· Nope! It’s 5:30. Time to make dinner. Tonight was a stir fry with shrimp, carrots, edamame, pineapple, and teriyaki sauce over jasmine rice. And I had prepped it all the day before! This was supposed to be our Friday dinner but we were still full from our pizza lunch. I had dinner on the table in 15 minutes flat. And it was good.

· Back to my rotation. I did a logic puzzle. I was supposed to give myself 45 minutes, but I was interrupted by a phone call and my thought process was ruined. That’s what I told myself after coming to an incorrect conclusion. But it was now evening and I wanted to try again. I still got it wrong. I called it quits. Puzzle time will come around again.

· This is where I called it a day and shifted to my evening routine. Dinner and cleanup were done. I checked my step count. I needed another short walk and did so. I took a shower, watched a little football with my husband as I ate an ice cream cone, and then, feeling unready for bed, played a few game online. At midnight I fell soundly asleep.

I am really liking this routine. I feel productive but not hurried. I’m doing the things I like to do just as much as the things I need to do. What do you think? Follow me and comment. I love comments and claps.

I also have a question for anyone who can answer. Can anyone recommend a Medium publication that might like to carry time management articles like this one. This is article #2, and I’d like to develop an ongoing series. If you can make a suggestion, thank you!

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