It's almost 8:30AM on a warm but overcast summer morning. I've been up for just a little less than two hours. I've had a big breakfast (healthy but big), done my devotions and daily Bible reading, checked my email, read the news online, and looked at my daily dose of drama on Facebook. I'm also on my fourth cup of coffee--yes, I'm addicted and I'm okay with that. I like my coffee three ways: hot, black, and in copious quantities. As soon as I finish this blog entry, it's back to editing my book. I'm excited to say that I am 66 pages from completing what I hope are my final edits, so the plan is to be finished by the end of the week. Why am I making such progress? Mainly because of what I just wrote about in this paragraph: discipline and routine.
I'm a teacher and most teachers who don't teach summer school or have some other summer job will tell you that they love getting to stay up late and sleep in all summer, but they bawl and squawl for the first month of school every fall since they struggle to get back into the routine of early to bed, early to rise. They will also often tell you about all of their ambitious plans that never came to fruition because the summer just seemed to slip away without their notice. I know this because I spent a lot of summers and early falls saying those exact things. But this summer, at least so far, that hasn't been true for me. And it's not by accident. I've intentionally done some things to assure that I'm productive all summer and am not suffering from lack of sleep this fall.
First, and probably most important, I still set my alarm all week. Yes, I sleep in a little on weekends, just like the rest of the year and I did make the small concession of getting up a half hour later during the week, but I don't let myself turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. This means I know I need to get to bed at a decent hour so I can be bright and clear the next day.
Second, I set goals and keep a to-do list, with the idea in mind of achieving, or working toward achieving, at least one of the things on my list every weekday. My big goals for the summer are getting my book published (or at least signing with an agent), read at least 8 books, and revamp my lesson plans for next year. Along with that are various chores that need done around my house, like finally weeding that awful flower bed on the front of my lot and fixing up the deck and storage shed. And finally, I plan for health by figuring out what sort of exercise I'll do and what I'll eat. So every day in the morning, I look at my list and make a plan. Today, the biggies are editing, weeding, and lifting weights.
Yes, it's summer, so my routine is not as regimented as it is during the school year. I watch more movies. I visit family more. I go and stare down the river at Fort Boreman park. I sleep in on weekends and don't often don't have a plan on Saturday. I even get to go on a vacation! But the routine is still there, even if it's altered.
Boring? Maybe, but I don't think so. Helpful? Most assuredly. I'm tearing through my book at quite a clip, the house is less cluttered than it's been in months, and I'm on at least my third book. Edifying? Definitely! I may enjoy sloth for a short while at first; however, I always regret it eventually. I've known that a long time, but it's taken me awhile to do something about it.
So, since I'm being so industrious, look for my book on Amazon soon!