Saturday, March 7, 2015

Habits

I pre-ordered a new book on habits, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, yesterday morning. Developing good habits has been on my mind lately, especially as an INFJ who always wants to improve. Doing something as a habit is easier because it feels natural. One thinks about the task less, so one can devote more thought, energy and time to bigger and better things.

I have implemented a new habit again recently that I have mentioned on the blog previously. From the Wednesday before last through this morning, I woke up early and at basically the same time everyday, even my weekend days on Sunday and Monday. In fact, usually around 6, my earliest wake-up time was yesterday (Friday) at 5:30 and my most late one was today (Saturday) at 6:39. I also did not crawl back into bed once out. Waking up at a consistent time should help with my chronic insomnia, helping my body to know what to do when. Tomorrow morning, however, this will totally be me...


As a matter of fact, I look just like Audrey Hepburn on Sunday mornings! Seriously, though, I should really try to continue sticking with this new habit of a regular sleep pattern. This habit has two benefits. First, getting enough sleep is so important for good health. Second, rising earlier will allow me to accomplish more and let me lead the chic life I desire.

Speaking of sleep, I want to start acquiring another habit: to stop looking at my phone and laptop at least an hour before my bedtime. The light from the screen makes your eyes and brain stay alert. Check out this article I came across recently. I shall stop looking at the screen on my phone and computer at 9:45 PM every single day, "schoolnight" or not. I actually do not own a TV at the moment to worry about that. No promises for my Kindle though as I love reading books before bed. I could promise to only read from my Kindle though, not use the other apps including Pinterest, after my established screen shut-down time. I do still read real books (as in hardcovers and paperbacks) whenever I can get my hands on them.

I want to develop another habit specifically for workdays. When I was dating E, I was often frustrated that I couldn't converse well at dinner. I would stumble over words or be unable to speak endlessly about a topic I love such as the plethora of options for antipasti! (An INFJ usually does not do well verbally anyway, especially without a lot of rehearsing first.) Often as soon as I got off from work, I would immediately begin getting ready for the date. I worked hard all day and then I didn't give myself a much-needed breather before jumping into living my life. Balance is so important for a life lived well. My work day is absolutely chock full of small talk, which drains an INFJ who values authenticity. As a salesperson, I have to constantly be "on." Furthermore, the company expects leasing professionals to be bubbly. I'm a happy person, but, still, "bubbly" is more. It's tiring to be someone I'm kinda not for eight to nine hours with only a half hour lunch break. I don't even have a commute for a transition as I walk up 13 steps within the same building to get home. As an introvert, my energy that is so devoted to others has drained at closing time and I require alone time to do nothing at all in order to bounce back. Without a break, it's clear to me that I'm not my best self. I'm still running on empty, even when really excited about a date. I want to find a great way to be restore my energy in order to be an entertaining hostess and eventually flirtatious again as well.



Highly sensitive to caffeine, a beverage such as coffee, soda or tea truly affects me, for awhile at that. I have two (espresso) cups of espresso around 6:30 in the morning and often only eat chocolate that also contains caffeine the rest of the day. I have long given up liquid caffeine (espresso, cappuccino, coke or tea) after 2 PM, if I want to sleep at night at all. I have/had family with the same condition. I do rarely make an exception, like... meeting a friend for coffee during the afternoon, while traveling, or with dinner out (like earlier tonight) or at a friend's or family's place, but know I could take a sleep aid that particular night. Chocoholic that I am, I have never limited consuming chocolate for its caffeine content! Luckily, this food or drink contains much less of the drug than the other favored drinks I mentioned. Anyway, the caffeine in my morning coffee keeps me going strong all day, but is no longer in my system during the evening. As a result, I crash hard sometime between 7 and 8, barely able to keep my eyes open. If I happen to fall asleep a bit during that crash, then there's major trouble falling asleep overnight. I've found that a cup of decaffeinated black tea (since "decaf" products actually contain a very small amount of caffeine, but I'm definitely sensitive enough to be affected) that is sweetened with sugar just after 5 will eliminate that crash 9 times out of ten, and then I can be productive and/or simply enjoy my evening feeling like myself.



After getting off from work or getting home after a run to the store immediately following my shift, I could adopt a routine where I rest while sipping a mug or teacup of tea. (I simply drink Lipton's decaffeinated black tea.) I've been trying it lately but can definitely resolve to take this time much more slowly, attempting to do as little as possible. I prefer a glass of red wine to unwind after a (crazy) day in property management, but that tends to make me mellow, thus either more sleepy or at least not caring so much if I drift off mid-evening. I could spontaneously have some vino rosso every once in awhile after 5 on a tough day or simply indulge a little later while cooking dinner in addition to pairing it with dinner, of course. Anyway, I'm a busy woman who always pressures myself to be perfect, so hopefully this dedicated down-time won't take too long!



I like the idea of an established cleaning schedule, where I accomplish a certain task on a specific day of the week, say... vacuuming every Wednesday, for example. Right now, I do write down a 'to do' list of home cleaning and beauty treatments and check the items off in my Kate Spade planner everyday. Accomplishing certain things once, twice or three times a week or month, I am mostly on top of it. However, this system lacks the strict routine scheduling. I feel that way would be more effective ...and I would appear more effortless! I'm unsure if being that strict about it would work for an INFJ like me who does seek order in her environment but needs to embrace spontaneity ...kind of regularly. Maybe I'll figure it out and see how I like a new system...


I wanted to unload all of that from my brain and to hold myself a bit more accountable in this public forum. Once I read that new book on habits later this month. I'm sure I'll push myself to develop even more habits.



Update on Monday, March 9th: My work hours have unfortunately changed. I used to work from 8:30 to 5 Tuesday through Friday for office hours 9 to 5 and from 9:30 to 5 on Saturday for office hours from 10 to 5. Now, I work only when the office is open from 9 to 6 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 to 7 on Wednesday but the office will be opened at 9 by the property manager. I get to keep my Saturday hours. Ugh. I suppose it's more Italian to have an hour lunch break than a half hour... First impressions are so crucial in my industry and now I don't have time to prepare for my 9 AM appointment, which I believe is against company policy. Those times are just so late. It's a two-person office and I am the sole leasing professional so I do not have anyone to share hours with. I guess I want another job anyway; this is simply more motivation to save money and work on my resume before I start really applying again.



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