I have a long-ass commute. Two hours, one way. Every day.
Honestly, it’s not as bad as it sounds. For one thing, I take the train, which may not save me much time but lets me far more productive than if I was driving. I can read and write on the train—in fact, the train is where I do most of blogging! But, because my weekdays are governed by train schedules, I am forced into a strict schedule if I want to accomplish anything.
I’ve found that to be a good thing.
Let me describe my schedule.
5:35 AM – 6:25 AM—Get up, curse the daylight, eat the breakfast of champions (Cheerios), watch the news in a half-asleep stupor, get dressed, and slap myself awake enough to drive.
7:00 AM – 8:35 AM—Ride the train, catch up on the role-plays I am involved in, work on my novel, blog, get frustrated at crappy Wi-Fi and hate on Microsoft Word.
8:35 AM – 8:45 AM—Walk to work, cross the street, jaywalk like a champ and avoid getting hit by crazy Boston drivers.
8:45 AM – 4:45 PM—Work.
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM—Walk back to the train station, once more jaywalking like a champ and avoiding crazy Boston drivers. Say “Hi” to CLMannarino and ask how her workday was, to which she inevitably answers “Fine, you?” to which I inevitably answer “Fine.”
5:00 PM – 6:25 PM—Ride the train home, catching up on my reading. Sometimes sleep.
6:25 PM – 7:00 PM—Run through the train station in the hopes of being the first one the gate, drive home, listening once more to a podcast.
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM—Eat dinner, watch Wheel of Fortune (and try to solve the puzzles faster than the contestants), tell my parents that was my day was fine, exercise, and shower.
8:00 PM – 9:15 PM—Play video games. Curse the fact that the game I am playing does not let me save at anytime.
9:15 PM – 9:30 PM—Make the lunch for the following day. Tell my parents goodnight.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I said above that the scheduling has actually been a good thing to me, and I stand by that. While it’s rigid without a lot of free time, I have become more productive than ever. That hour and a half on the train every morning has been great for my writing. I’ve found that having a specified time just for writing has trained my brain to ready for such things. I open my laptop and go, my mind ready for the tough task of getting words on paper.
Same goes for reading. And for video games.
While I sometimes wish I had more time for any one of these activities, I can at least fit them all into my day, allowing me to enjoy my three greatest pleasures (reading, writing, and video games) every day in small quantities.
I’m hoping to move out of parents’ house sometime soon, and when I do, I hope to have a shorter commute (getting up at 5:35 AM should be illegal), but even when that happens, I will most likely keep my schedule strict like what I described above. It’s the only way I can get anything done.
Do you keep a strict schedule? Do you prefer to go with the flow, or have your whole day planned out?