Global warming versus my organized life

Lately I have been trying very hard to get my life organized by way of a daily routine. Time management has always been my biggest problem, and strangely enough, it gets even harder when I have fewer hard-edged demands on my time. At least when I’m busy, I know that certain things won’t get done unless I squeeze them in between other tasks. But when I have no appointments or classes to go to, I tend to drag my feet because I think I have all day, and then suddenly it’s eight pm and I’ve done nothing. I call this issue the problem of undifferentiated time, and I have been combating it with a set of daily rituals: bedtime at ten-thirty, wake up at seven-thirty, start the day with some writing or a walk/hike, breakfast, brush teeth, and shower, and then I’m both physically and mentally ready to start my day. Lovely plan, isn’t it?

During the last few weeks of school I had a really surprising amount of success with an even more tightly regimented routine than this. Every evening, I plotted out an incredibly detailed schedule (I wrote out every task and activity I had to do, by the half-hour) for the next day. While I was never able to follow one of these schedules perfectly, just seeing all my duties written down and the amount of time I had each day really helped me keep on top of things. But I sort of hate schedules, so as soon as school let out I happily abandoned them, and now I’ve had a hard time getting back on track. Anyway, who wants to follow a schedule during summer vacation?

In recent weeks, however, I have come to recognize that extremely hot weather imposes its own schedule, thus requiring me to reconfigure my own day to suit the heat. Languid afternoons lead to greater wakefulness and activity during the cooler evenings, while the most scorching days do not relent even after dark, making it hard for me to fall asleep. Then, when I find myself unable to wake until nine the next morning, I have to immediately set to all the day’s activities that are too strenuous to do during the day’s hottest hours: errand-running, laundry, cleaning, cooking. This morning found Erik doing laundry, and me in the kitchen from nine till eleven, preparing enough food to make plenty of no-cook meals for the rest of the week and washing dishes in between. It was a dreadfully hot, drippy way to spend a morning, and my previous evening was similarly spent, but I’ve been thankful all day. We now have a fridge well stocked with three kinds of noodles, blanched bok choy, cooked shrimp, boiled potatoes, a potato-and-onion frittata, two veggie loaves, an ample pot of gravy, and a chicken stew and a vegetable stir-fry Erik made. We haven’t had to cook anything since this morning and have been able to avoid the ovenlike kitchen while still eating well. On the other hand, all this cooking took time aplenty; what with putting everything away and then taking a shower and having breakfast and such, it was well past noon today before I could even start anything else, and by then I was feeling pretty wiped out.

But I have decided to let the heat have its way. I will bow to it graciously, if stickily, and give up my efforts at strict daily scheduling in recognition of its superior powers. I will reorganize my life around the weather to keep myself and our little four-beast household happy and cool, and until the thermometer drops, I will seek other ways to get my life in order.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]