Adventures in Self Regulation

Making myself keep to a schedule during the school year, when I have external forces to keep me in line, is difficult enough. I have to teach class at 9:30am, I have to teach that lesson at 3:30, I have to be in class at 2:30. This kind of framework keeps me from completely spinning out – I think a general sense of shame of guilt keeps me from skipping externally scheduled events. Between these scheduled times, though, I’m a bit wonky. So, I have 30 minutes between class? I could either practice, read some research, or play video games. My answer?

Even though some things blow up, I manage to squeak by, even with choosing the easy path whenever I have a little free time. This summer, though, is going to be a new attempt to self-regulate myself and create stability and not just wander off at random times.

Part of my self-regulation involves getting some actual sleep. My favorite hobby when I have nothing scheduled during the week is to stay up until 4am and sleep until noon, like I used to do on break from undergrad. Unfortunately, life has decided that I’m some sort of adult, and this really isn’t allowed anymore. At least, not every day of the week. I’ve been trying to keep myself on the basic idea of getting to sleep before midnight and waking up at noon. This plan works about 75% of the time – sometimes, time just slips through my hands and I’m up late.

Between Wikipedia, TVTropes, and Metafilter, I can read until I pass out, drooling on my laptop. Self-regulation (aka, being a adult) requires that I at least try to stop that. I figure that a 75% success rate at this moment is a win.

It also requires that I try to keep some sort of schedule during the day. I’ve announced my proposed schedule at the beginning of the summer, and I won’t lie, it feels like I’ve been a smidge ambitious. While that schedule looks leisurely and airtight, it didn’t account for one thing – I don’t do well without top down pressure. I also don’t do well when my schedule gets interrupted. Got something to do in the morning? FLAMES FLAMES FLAMES. The rest of the schedule goes to hell.

How does one practice being adaptive?

My schedule also doesn’t account for, “Eh, I don’t feel like it.” Got to get working on my research in the morning? “Eh, don’t feel like it.” Go to the gym. “Eh, don’t feel like it.” I wonder if I can hire someone to be disappointed in me if I don’t follow my own schedule; Lovely Wife might even do it for free.

Either I fix the schedule, or fix the attitude. Funnily, I’m not sure which would be easier to fix. The schedule makes sense, I think – it’s not overly ambitious, and it leaves time for all of the major things I need to do. I’m actually organized for once in my life; it’s not like there a giant, jumbo mess of things I need to get out of my head. Therefore, it’s probably an attitude adjustment that needs to be done.

Part of being an “adult” is doing stuff when you don’t feel like it. It’s a lesson that I’ve often heard and circled around, even attempted occasionally, but I’m not sure I’ve ever taken it to heart. This isn’t even a factor of “take your medicine, it’s good for you!” I enjoy all of my work – even practicing, when I get down to it. Stepping up to the plate, when I’m supposed to, instead of just doing some other low energy, easy activity is a tough thing.

But I guess it’s time to practice being an adult.

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