An epiphany brought on by tax season…

I am always late.  I was born two weeks past my due date and it’s been downhill ever since.  I start my days with the best of intentions, but I just never seem to get where I’m going on time.  I am a master of procrastination and will often do unimportant things…like watch re-reruns of The OC on Saturday mornings…and put off the important stuff until the last possible second…like getting in the shower.  I also always underestimate how long it’s going to take me to do something.  In reality, it takes me 45 minutes to shower, do my hair and get dressed.  But in my head it only takes me 30 minutes.  I often get to work 15 minutes late because of this.

So now it’s tax season and I have to put in more hours at work.  I hate giving up my weekends to work, so I chose to work extra during the week.  The problem is, the dogs don’t care that it’s tax season.  They still want to be walked by 6 PM each night.  Which means that working late is not an option.  In order to get in my required extra hours, I have to be in my office by 7 AM. 

At first, when I realized how early that was, I totally panicked.  In order to arrive by 7, I would have to leave the house by 6:15.  That’s when I normally wake up.  The earlier hours meant I was going to have to wake up around 5 AM!!!!  Not acceptable. 

The first week was a total disaster.  I ran late every single morning and never arrived at the office before 7:40.  That wasn’t going to work.  So last weekend I made a plan.  Instead of showering in the morning, I was going to start showering at night.  I was also going to lay out my clothes, so I wouldn’t be fumbling around the closet in the morning trying to decide what to wear or looking for tights or my favorite bra.  I also decided to feed and walk the dogs after I got dressed instead of before.  By planning it out, I was able to cut my prep time in the morning to a manageable 40 minutes. 

Monday was the test of my plan.  I got up the second the alarm went off at 5:30.  When I wake up later, I lay in bed for a few minutes waiting to hear the news and weather.  However, the morning radio show  doesn’t start until 6, so laying in bed wasn’t necessary.  Instead I turned on the TV and kept the news on in the background while I got ready.  It was a good reminder of the time also because they do the weather every seven minutes.  So when I heard the weather man’s voice for the third time, I knew I had to hurry.  I had showered the night before, so all I had to do was wash my face, brush my teeth and run the straightening iron over my hair.  I got dressed and was feeding the dogs by 5:55.  I walked them, grabbed my stuff and got on the bus at 6:15.  I was in my chair by 7.  Total victory!  I also started my day really relaxed.  I wasn’t anxious about being late.  I wasn’t running from the bus to the office.  I calmly enjoyed my walk and by the time I got to my desk I was ready to work. 

I was a little worried about the evenings.  I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get a shower into my schedule of walking the dogs, making dinner, cleaning up the house and spending time with J.  I was also going to have to get to sleep earlier to compensate for my new wake-up time.  Turns out, I was wasting a lot of time at night doing nothing important.  Specifically, if J wasn’t home, I was watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy on Lifetime.  If he was home, I was watching Fast Money on CNBC…a show that I truly hate, but he loves.  Neither of those things were important.  I could take a shower during that time and I didn’t really miss anything. 

So, even though I’m getting up earlier and go to bed earlier and showering at night, I was able to actually squeeze more time out of my day without really giving up anything I cared about.  And the time I spent with J was actually quality time, instead of just being the two of us staring at the tv.  I wish I’d realized this years ago!!!  I could have gotten so much more done!

Comments

  1. I had an accountant friend who I never saw during tax season because her hours were SO LONG. I really don’t know how she did it and I always have a lot of respect for anyone having to work super long hours.

  2. I am a master procrastinator. I will wait till the last possible second to get out of bed in the morning. I did start showering at night which helps but I am realizing that I really need to break the habit NOW! How will I function when I have children one day?!

  3. I am totally like this. I’m five mintues late to work everyday b/c I underestimate the amount of time it takes me to get ready. I have started washing my hair at night to fix this. Also I recently took care of my parents dogs and so I had to leave for work 30 minutes earlier in order to accomplish this. So I laid my clothes out the night before. Including socks (which for some reason is always the most difficult thing)! This shaved so much time off my morning routine.

  4. Whew! I’m glad it’s working out well for you. I absolutely under no circumstances am able to wake up earlier than 7am unless we are going someplace, like on vacation. And I am habitually late as well. Do you think that it was something that was instilled in us in the womb? :)

  5. Ohmygod that’s SOoooooo early!!!
    However, I do LOVE the days that are so ultra-productive, and typically those days never involve the television.

    I used to have to get up at 620 am and get fully ready for work and wake my son and then get out of the house by 6:55am to catch a bus, for a 45 min busride to get to work. It was draining, but I did like reading on the bus before and after work.

    Now I work 7 miles from home and I can wake up 30 min before I have to leave (if I shower the night before) AND the office I work in doesn’t open until 8:30, so I actually don’t wake up most days until 7am. LOVE it. I an get a lot done sometimes, or I can sleep in, or I can just be really slow getting ready.

    I think the dogs help force you to stay on track – a pro and con really. There’s more work for you, but you are so on track! Good luck maintaining this new schedule. Tax season is almost over, right? :)

  6. i hear ya lady- i am doing the saturday shifts myself- and one 13 hour day per week. blah. we are almost at the end!
    good job on the time management!!

  7. I’m in awe that you manage so much before getting to work! I’m lucky if I can get my kids fed, thank god I don’t have pets to walk! I want to be a morning person, really I do…

  8. Isn’t this like a monumental wake-up call? I’m not sure how or when I realized that I was spending a lot of time doing “nothing” but man, oh man, we are a productive bunch around here now. I totally quit watching “Man Vs. Wild” with Neal because I can’t stand that show. He watches it, I head off to the studio. And now that we’re working out in the afternoons instead of him going at the buttcrack of dawn and me going sometime in the mid-afternoon, we’ve got all kinds of QT. What’s the bus like at 6:15 AM? I’ve always wondered..

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