Help Me Overcome My Evening Routine Procrastination
July 6, 2021 6:06 PM   Subscribe

I have trouble getting my chores and studying done in the evening after I get off work and just want to vegetate.

The trouble starts after I get off work and make/eat dinner. I am subsequently unable to get off the couch figuratively. I've always had problem with self-control and making myself do unpleasant tasks. At the end of a busy day, I'm exhausted and feel I've used up all my self-discipline and brain-cells on work.

I cannot afford a dryer or dishwasher at the moment so everything is done manually and extra-tiring. Or a housekeeper/paid laundry service. I'm single and don't have anyone to help out. I've tried hacks like putting on energetic music and Habitica but nothing works. I'm not able to shift things to before work in the morning for schedule-related reasons.

Ideal evening routine after dinner:
I immediately do my dishes/take out the trash/do the laundry.
Shower/Blow-dry my long hair/Brush and floss my teeth
Study (mentally-taxing topic non-related to paid work) for 1-2hours
Go to bed before 11 p.m. so I will be well-rested for work the next day.

Actual evening routine:
I end up surfing the net reading things I'm not even interested in such as the news just to avoid doing the dishes/trash/laundry
I eventually get around to finishing the housework but by then it's eleven o'clock or even later.
After showering/brushing my teeth, I end up going to bed with uncomfortably wet hair at some absurd time like 1 a.m.
No studying is done and I am groggy the next day due to lack of sleep

I need to get over this because I'm planning to take an exam (different field from paid work) and at the rate I'm going, I won't be ready in time. Help!
posted by whitelotus to Grab Bag (37 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to vegetate after work. It's like letting your brain rest, no? Maybe you can set a timer for directly-after-work vegetating so that you can feel like, YES, I've got my vegetating in, now time to do chores for a bit.

Other "shortcut" could be to cut short your hair? Then it will dry quicker, and you leave less of a mess on the bathroom floor. Unless you really like it/need it long..

Or if you can get a friend or someone to make you check in that you're following your ideal routine, that might help..
posted by Seboshin at 6:25 PM on July 6, 2021


Are you eating dinner on the couch or at the dinner table? If you eat dinner at the table with no phone around then when dinner is over you'll have to make the decision to go to the couch to surf or to study.
If you live alone then dishes at night should take you what, 3 minutes? Don't even think about it just do it.
My trick for laundry is to have more clothes so that I don't need to wear the same thing again that week. Then I can do a big whack of laundry on the weekend.
Brushing and flossing can be done while you're on the couch vegging or when you're studying.
Can you cut your hair short so it doesn't take as long to maintain?
What time do you get off work? Is there time to study before you make your dinner? Even if it isn't enough for a full session a bit of studying followed by a break for dinner may motivate you to continue studying after dinner.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:27 PM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


I don’t remember where this came from but the most effective habitat builder I’ve experienced is creating a trigger for your desired habit.

For example: spend a few evenings before bed envisioning when you close your laptop you go straight to the kitchen and take out the garbage.

Once you’ve actually done it for a few days then you start actually checking whether it needs to be done and decide maybe you’ll check the sink after the garbage. Then move on to the laundry.

As I understand it, the visualization, especially as you’re about to fall asleep, is about convincing your subconscious mind of the importance of these things.
posted by Francies at 6:46 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Keep your shoes on while you make and eat dinner, and don't take them off until you're done with your chores (this does require you to shower last and deviate from your ideal schedule a bit). This is what I do when I am in the habit. Taking off my shoes kicks on party mode in my brain.

It also sounds like studying for two hours every night is asking too much of your brain. Can you break that time up differently? Do something like flashcards during your lunch break at work, and/or get 20 minutes in every morning?
posted by twelve cent archie at 6:57 PM on July 6, 2021 [5 favorites]


Best answer: I like to mentally vegetate by listening to not-too-taxing audiobooks while I do chores. It is really the only way I can motivate myself to get them done, but it is very effective.

Not too much help for moving onto studying but maybe the sense of accomplishment from finishing chores will help your momentum?
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2021 [8 favorites]


Do it before dinner.

I have this problem, and once I am sat down and eating dinner and fucking around on my phone or reading a book, I am done. It’s over. No work is happening. The only thing that works is to just get home and do the stuff IMMEDIATELY, then dinner and post-dinner is explicitly and absolutely yours to do with as you wish.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:59 PM on July 6, 2021 [18 favorites]


Best answer: Get the internet out of your home.
posted by aniola at 7:04 PM on July 6, 2021 [4 favorites]


I have many of the same issues but have whipped most of them into shape over the years by making new habits that are easier to keep up with. Technology can help, too.

Long hair washing: My hair is 5 1/2 feet long. I don't wash it unless it's really oily. Most often, I tie it back and just bend over the sink and wash the top near the scalp where most of the oil is, rinsing with several fills of a plastic water dish. Then dry only the top. If you do this right after work, it will air dry by bedtime. I also swim often in the evening and wash my hair at the pool. It's still a bit wet by bedtime, but the top is dry.

Other hygiene items that save time and are easier: I use a water flosser that attaches to my bathroom sink faucet. It's fast and efficient and you can do it right before or after brushing your teeth. I have also installed a hand held bidet sprayer in the water hookup to the toilet, very easy installation. Keeps the messy bits fresh and clean after every trip to the toilet. Keeping those areas clean can allow you to skip showers unless you're all sweaty elsewhere.

Dishes: use as few as possible. I eat right out of a microwave bowl, for instance. If dishes are hard to wash immediately, fill with water and let them soak, BUT finish washing before bedtime.

Do the trash and wash on your days off when you have more time. I watched a few episodes of Hoarders and that inspired me to be diligent about washing dishes and clothes and taking out trash!

Use internet as a reward after studying.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:15 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


At the end of a busy day, I'm exhausted and feel I've used up all my self-discipline and brain-cells on work.

Have you considered that you are actually exhausted and are trying to push yourself to do more things than you are capable of sustaining long-term? Maybe there are ways you can adjust the energy expenditure associated with your work and commute to take some of the pressure off there and have more energy for the other "life" things that you need/want to do?
posted by heatherlogan at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2021 [33 favorites]


What would be your actual routine be if your ideal routine were handled by handsomely paid service personnel, so that everything would get done but not by you, leaving you free to do whatever you might like?

If somebody else were doing your dishes, taking out the trash, and doing the laundry, if you didn't have to wash your hair each night, and if there were no mentally taxing topic to study, would you be reading things you're not interested in? Surely not, right? You'd be doing something delightful. Why not try that now and again? Skip all the chores for a night ON PURPOSE and allow yourself to do what would actually please you: no punishment time killers. Eat something that you love that won't make a lot of cleanup work and then do something lovely and fun until time for bed. Of course you avoid choring if you don't let yourself have any fun breaks.

And do you have to wash your hair every night? If you do, I'd definitely try a humble nudibranch's genius plan where you wash just your scalp right after work and let it air-dry.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:22 PM on July 6, 2021 [5 favorites]


The same thing happens to me. I think this is normal. We try to cram so much into one day, we forget that vegetating is necessary. This is not happening because you are lazy or lack discipline. It's happening because you are tired!

I personally can either cook OR do dishes OR do another major task. So what I do is try to alternate the big things. Like day 1 is for cooking and dishes. I make enough to have leftovers for a few days. Then days 2 and 3 dinner is a quick reheat with minimal dishes so I can do laundry instead.

Also, paper plates. Or eating out of the tupperware. Prewashed and chopped veges. Cooking and freezing extra portions. Very very simple dinners, like a sandwich. Anything I can do to reduce the effort required.

Also, I tried doing my version of studying at night but could never make myself do it because I was too tired. So I gave up and just went to bed much MUCH earlier. Now I get up early and do my stuff before I have to leave for work. I hate it so much. It feels unnatural to be up so early and doing "nighttime" tasks, but it works. I know you say this isn't possible for you, but I'm mentioning it anyway because it really is the only way I can get outside work done.
posted by rakaidan at 8:51 PM on July 6, 2021 [9 favorites]


Here’s what I do: add an evening study block/meeting to your calendar for every workday evening with a 15 minute reminder. Then, set a bedtime ‘meeting’ for when you will get ready for bed. Some portion of the time you will ignore the reminders. But eventually, you will study for at least part of the time you’ve set aside, and you’ll start getting to bed at a reasonable hour. You’re trying to change your behavior so it won’t happen all at once. The goal is to study most nights, not all of the nights. No need to be perfect about it, you just have to have more study evenings than slacking off evenings. It will take about 6 weeks to really get in a groove, but it will happen. I’ve been doing this for 4 years now and it’s gotten easier with each year, and I have way more study days than I did initially. Give it a shot, it’s cheap and easy.
posted by skye.dancer at 10:32 PM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


You sound really tired. It's ok to be tired after work. When I feel like this I look around & negotiate what I have energy for & what's the smallest amount of effort that's absolutely necessary. One thing you might try is switching up the order of operations & see if it feels better. Like what if you had after work you took a shower first then made dinner then study while you eat. Then your hair is drying itself. Then clean up then you can veg.
posted by bleep at 11:12 PM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Dish hack: Fill a plastic tub in the sink with hot soapy water and put all the dishes in as you go. If you fail to come back and sort them out, the worst case is you have to drain nasty cold water off, but at this point you can pretty much rinse the dishes and be done.

Laundry hack: Buy more underwear, then you can do laundry less often.

Cooking hack: Cooking far too much of whatever you're having and then eating leftovers for days, uses less dishes AND less time cooking and making decisions about cooking.
posted by quacks like a duck at 11:59 PM on July 6, 2021 [5 favorites]


Does studying have to be 1-2 hours? For me that would be an "ugh if I start following my rules I'm on the hook for two hours of studying" which honestly sounds like a lot and I'd be pretty good at avoiding the whole thing. An hour, tops, hard stop? Even half an hour?
posted by away for regrooving at 12:31 AM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]


I wash the dishes I used to prep while the main part of the meal is cooking. Just before eating I fill the bowl with suds and sling stuff in as soon as it's cleared of food. It's usually still warm enough to wash up as soon as I've finished eating. Stuff is then left to drain dry. It may be put away before it's used again, but no biggie if it stays on the drainer til next time.

For studying, the only way I can make myself do this after work is to leave everything out and ready to go. This only really works if you have space, but even just cracking a book at the right page and leaving it out can help me. Set a twenty minute alarm and just read for 20 mins. If you want to you can carry on.

However I will say that this is hard! It's ok to be knackered after work. Maybe try staggering your activity - plan efficient evenings Mon-wed when you're fresh, then allow yourself to veg out guilt free on thur and fri. Like an early weekend!
posted by freya_lamb at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


You are doing a lot and it's no wonder you struggle to manage it all! I also struggle with evening procrastination, and I don't do half the amount you do!

I feel very tired after eating. It's like the act of eating dinner signals to my body that the time to be 'on' is over and it's time to vegetate.

I have much better luck with my routine if I do all the boring chores before eating. This means I eat later than the average Western person - around 9:30pm - but it does mean that I don't have to think about ANYTHING after I eat. Also because I live alone it honestly doesn't matter when I eat. (on preview: what showbiz_liz said)

Also consider if you are giving too much energy/attention to your job and if you can get away with doing a little less. I hate doing the washing-up/taking out the trash/recycling esp at night when I have zero motivation to be productive anyway. So I do this stuff during the day, during my work breaks.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:38 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


Are you blow-drying your hair immediately after showering? You could try wrapping it in a towel or t-shirt (look up "plopping") for half an hour or so while you do other things, and then your hair will take less time to dry. I sleep on my waist-length hair damp and clipped up, with a waterproof pillowcase inside my regular one, because it works for me; but no way would I try to blow-dry it when it's still mostly wet.
posted by lesser weasel at 3:51 AM on July 7, 2021


Also agreed re: the not-taking-off-shoes suggestion, or something similar. I don't wear shoes in the house, so if I need to make sure I do things that I am fighting my self on doing, I will come home and not sit down until those things are done.
posted by lesser weasel at 3:55 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


Bedtime: A couple years ago, I was having a lot of trouble getting myself to head to bed at a reasonable time. I put the living room lamp on a smartplug & set it to automatically turn off the light at bedtime. When the room went dark, it was a clear signal to my brain that the day was "done" and I needed to get off the sofa & head to bed.
posted by belladonna at 6:26 AM on July 7, 2021 [8 favorites]


In the same way that many people find they need to eat a light meal for lunch to avoid the dreaded afternoon food coma the same is true for dinner, if you are trying to be productive after dinner.

If your dinner is typically a substantial affair you may want to experiment with a smaller, fairly light meal and a snack when you finish studying to make sure you're not going to bed hungry.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:45 AM on July 7, 2021 [4 favorites]


I have this same problem. And people who can do your "ideal" schedule every day are alien beasts to me. Its really hard to get motivated to do things I dont want to do. And I have a career that required years of intense study on top of paid work. I try to work with my weaknesses instead of fight them. These are my tips:

- don't try to do everything every day. I would set my study goals for the week (say, 100 pages or 10 hours), then have a rough plan of how I will accomplish them (3 weeknights with 2 hours of study then 4 hours on either Saturday or Sunday). It gives me flexibility so that I can rearrange my study schedule to fit either my mood or my plans. It also made me less stressed on the days I wasnt studying because I knew that I had given myself make-up time just for this reason.

-save my cleaning for 1 or 2 days out of the week. I am also a single person and so I dont make much mess. I essentially try to clean half my house on one day and the rest on another (or maybe the whole thing in one day once a week). Dont do this on the days you're studying (except maybe the weekend day). Give yourself a break and only do one thing you dont want to do per day.

-allow yourself time to relax after work. That's not a bad thing. You're not going to be able to study effectively if your brain is too tired.

A big problem for me is getting motivated to get off the couch and do something to begin with. I think here, you have to be able to punish yourself. If I didnt get my studying done during the week, then I would have to study all weekend, and I made myself do that! Find ways to give yourself consequences for slacking and follow through on the punishment, and that might motivate you a bit more.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:02 AM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]


Have you tried the pomodoro technique? It works wonders for me. There are plenty of free apps/websites you can use for it, or do it manually with a physical timer.
posted by sillysally at 8:29 AM on July 7, 2021


I would also consider giving yourself a break on your "ideal" night. For example, maybe you really need to study a lot now. But it sounds like you don't NEED to blow dry your hair, as you don't end up doing it most nights anyway. Can you plan to not blow dry your hair for now? At least until things slow down? Having less that you feel like you SHOULD be doing, might help getting those fewer-but-more-important things done.
posted by sillysally at 8:33 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]


A thing I did for a while was completely revamp my whole sleep/wake/eat cycle such that: I didn't eat dinner. Or I ate very light and very early. I went to bed shortly after dark, then woke at 4 in the morning and did the choring*, like dairy farmers of old. That lasted a year or two and then I fell prey to Netflix addiction and night noshing. I was a lot more productive during the 4 a.m. period and am always trying to get back to it.

*I love this word. I learned it recently when I finally watched Letterkenny, which I discovered contains many good object lessons for someone who may be on the verge of achieving a slightly less shiftless personality. It includes a lot of wholesome footage of people throwing bales around barns and picking up rocks in fields and appearing happy to be where they are, doing what they're doing, even though where they are is not on the couch and what they're doing is not watching TV and eating.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2021 [3 favorites]


That’s a lot of friction in your routine, extra effort of transitions and overcoming inertia making it harder. See if you could redesign such that you keep more momentum. For example, if possible, you could go somewhere to study (for, say, a pomodoro or two) before going home, eat leftovers (at work, at the study place, or at home), rinse or soak the dishes you used, then wash your hair and let that be the signal that now it’s leisure time. Batch cook on the weekend or on one evening where you don’t do anything else; that also reduces how often you have to do dishes.

As I heard on a podcast recently, you can do hard things, but you don’t need to do them the hardest way possible. To me, it sounds like there’s too many things for you to do and too much of them. Why cook every day? Why so many dishes every day? Why so much hair care every day? Why such long study time every day? Reduce the frequency, the intensity, or the number or a bit of all and watch out for where you can keep momentum.
posted by meijusa at 9:15 AM on July 7, 2021 [6 favorites]


Can you afford a subscription to an internet blocker? It's a game changer. I have mine scheduled to block my favorite time wasters on my phone at 8pm on weeknights. You can set it to locked mode so that you can't turn it off while the session is active.

Also, why do you need to do laundry every single day? Can you aim for 2-3x week? Same with making dinner; are you making it from scratch every night? Would it help to do some food prep on the weekends? Cut the studying back to 30 minutes and/or try doing alternating it with laundry night.

I would try just lying down for 20 minutes when you get home, with your internet blocker on. Working a full-time job and commuting IS tiring.
posted by fozzie_bear at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Clarifications: I don't actually do laundry every night but 3 times a week. However, the evenings I do laundry are tiring.

As a single person, I generally eat the same thing for multiple meals and do freeze extra portions as well as rely on frozen/canned food but dishes are still generated.

I've cut my hair short in the past but I found it not worth it because my hair didn't seem to dry that much faster and I had to get it trimmed professionally regularly which is expensive and troublesome. With my long hair, I just cut it myself once in a blue moon. I've experimented with putting my hair in microfiber turbans but it didn't seem to dry that much faster and generated extra laundry for me instead.

I actually set an alarm for bedtime on my phone but I can never finish my routine in time. Usually, when it goes off at 10 p.m., I have not showered yet! It becomes a source of shame instead :(
posted by whitelotus at 8:23 PM on July 7, 2021


Can you shower and do laundry before dinner? My family and I have a "Don't sit down" joke, because once we're on the couch, that's it, we're done for the day.

e.g. Come home, toss load of washing in the machine.
Eat snack or drink beverage of choice (to tide you over).
Wash dishes from yesterday. Put dinner in oven or in microwave to defrost.
Have shower, dry hair, get into pj's.
Hang clothes.
Finish off heating dinner. Eat.

My guess is it wouldn't take more than an hour or so, and you'd be done with the eating veggies/having clean underwear. I have thin hair, so if I wash it at 6, it'd be dry by 9, so you may not need to blow dry it. If all your homework has to be done on the weekend, well, so be it.
posted by kjs4 at 10:52 PM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]


It becomes a source of shame instead :(
At some point you may notice how counterproductive this is and just disallow shame. If not because you deserve better then because it wastes your time and energy. Shame causes you to eat up time you could be spending working or recharging for later work. Fruitless, painful rumination destroys creativity and productivity.

Meanwhile I thought of another thing I do that sometimes works:
For extremely loathsome chores, I employ an in-chore reward system that consists of: an alcoholic beverage and the Attitudes podcast. Or the Groceries podcast. Either of these two podcasts I'm only allowed to listen to while completing chores of extreme foulness--like weeding when it's hot out, for instance.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:29 AM on July 8, 2021


I don't expect you to be as much of a gremlin as I am, but lowering standards a wee bit is not always a bad thing if it makes your mental health better. You can always just not do some things in the run-up to the exam, and get back on track afterwards.

Could you explore ways to lessen your laundry burden? When I was single I washed once every one to two weeks. I grant you that I deliberately buy clothes that require no special treatment or separating, so I can throw everything into the same load, and I buy stuff primarily made of jersey and denim so I don't have to carefully fold them and can just wad them into a drawer. I wear clothes more than once before washing (which makes them last longer!), and I have a special area of the closet where I hang them up after wearing so they're not mixed in with the clean clothes and so they can air out and be ready to wear a few days later. I also wear a basic "uniform" of jeans or pants, shirt, and cardigan in a specific set of colors (greys, blacks, white, and burgundy) so I can mix and match at will--everything in my closet goes with everything else because it lightens my mental load SO MUCH in the morning.

If you're washing towels after every use, use them 2-3 times before washing (unless it's so humid where you live that they mold). Or if part of laundry chores is folding towels and putting them away, buy a hamper specifically for clean towels and just dump them into it. Who cares if the towels are folded? Especially if it takes some of the work out of laundry?

What can you push to the weekends? Can you do the meal-prep thing that preps all your meals on the weekend so the daily chore is just taking it out of the fridge, nuking it (if necessary) and eat it on paper plates to cut down the washing? Can you move all your laundry to the weekend and just designate Saturday Is Wash Day?

Can you move some of the studying to the weekend? Book 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon on each weekend day, and just use the weekdays for light revision.

What can you do in the morning? Could you try one of these?
--get up an hour early and study then, before going to work
--pile your dishes in the sink and wash them in the morning
--Assuming you've got a washer and dryer: get up an hour early, throw a load of laundry into the washing machine, study while it's washing, throw it into the dryer, go to work, put it up after you get home.
--throw washed clothes in the dryer before you go to bed, put them up in the morning.
--Shower in the morning

About halfway through the pandemic we ended up switching to paper plates because we were doing SO MANY DISHES since we couldn't go out to eat. Look around and see what you can find that's disposable that you can adopt for a while, until your life is less hectic.
posted by telophase at 8:57 AM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]


In case you'd like to try again with the hair thing. I have thick hair that grows fast. It likes to stay wet. Here's the lowest possible maintenance system. Uses very little time and very little money, dries quickly. Using this method, you shouldn't have to spend more than 10 minutes per month on your hair!

For the cost of one trip to the barber, get yourself electric clippers. Shave your hair 4x/year. I do it around the solstices and equinoxes so I don't have to remember.

When you're in the shower, run some soap through your hair, and rinse. Maybe towel it off when you get out of the shower, if you're feeling extravagent.

That's it. That's literally all you have to do. Cover all the mirrors in your home if you have to, but stop worrying about your hair. It's fine. It's not long enough to worry about brushing. Sure it might be a little chaotic by the time it's due for a haircut, but that's ok. Let it be chaotic. Ignore your hair. Relish the freedom.
posted by aniola at 9:13 AM on July 8, 2021


When I was in university, I did laundry slightly less than once a month. It was a college town, there were a lot of free piles. Sometimes when I was running low on clothes, I'd stop at a free pile and find a nice new-to-me article of clothing to wear.

My story may be a little extreme, but laundry 3x/week for a single person is the other end of extreme in this day and age. What would it take for you to feel ok about doing laundry once every 1-2 weeks?
posted by aniola at 9:18 AM on July 8, 2021


One thing I'm not seeing mentioned anywhere is exercise. When I'm trying to study, sometimes I feel like all I should do is be studying, when really if I just got out for the fresh air and exercise and sunshine that I wanted, I'd feel better and study better.

So if there's a chance you're avoiding exercise because you feel like you don't have the time, I'm here to say that it's ok to exercise and may actually help.
posted by aniola at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2021


Best answer: I agree with everyone above that one of the easiest way to get more done is to…do less. Could you do three loads of laundry on Saturday instead of doing it three weekday evenings? If you’re just one person, can you not do dishes daily? (If you’re batch cooking—hopefully on weekends—and give your eating dishes a quick rinse when you’re done, there’s no real reason they can’t wait in the sink a few days until it’s full.) Similarly, can you take the trash out less frequently? If so, you could almost fully eliminate the expectation that you would do any chores on a weekend night.

These solutions might require some money up front—more clothes if your wardrobe is sparse, another drying rack, more dishes, a larger trash can, etc—but the investment would be small, I think, especially compared to the weekday time saved.

Also, here are two techniques that I learned to help with ADHD but might be generally useful:

First, can you do the things that are most important to you first? It sounds like studying is your priority, but in your ideal schedule it’s placed last, meaning it’s the first thing that gets chopped if you run out of time. You could study first thing when you get home or, if you need some decompression time (I do!) eat dinner then study immediately after. (You can set up your study space with your books/tools before you eat, to help you roll right into the books when you’re finished—it’s all about removing friction at the transition points!) Then, if you’re too exhausted to do chores or blow dry, that’s okay! Because those things aren’t your priority right now.

Second, I’m with you in that bedtime timers are useless to me because they seem chiding—like they’re screaming, “You should already be in bed, you loser!” Instead, I have timers set for every step in my evening routine, starting with a warning that my workday is ending soon. (I work from home.) Then an alarm goes off when it’s time to prep dinner, when it’s time to eat, when it’s time to work out, when it’s time to load the dishwasher, when it’s time to shower, and when it’s time to “get cozy” in bed (which is about 30 minutes before I actually want to be asleep.) Then, even if I hit snooze some, I have plenty of fresh chances to keep making progress.

All these tactics have been revolutionary in my ability to do things on weekday nights. Also, you will notice, this is literally all I try to tackle on a typical weekend night—it’s nowhere near as much as you are trying to do, and still, there are days I don’t manage it all, or all on time. There’s a lot to be said for forgiving yourself, here, too. Work is demanding, studying is demanding, and taking care of our animal bodies is demanding! You’re trying to do a lot! It’s okay to feel like it’s hard. It is.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 2:34 PM on July 8, 2021 [5 favorites]


Clarifications: I don't actually do laundry every night but 3 times a week.

May....may I ask why? I usually only do laundry 3 times a month, at most.

You say that doing laundry is taxing - I think you could definitely afford doing it less and that would reclaim some of the energy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on July 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


Hang on, I just saw that you do your laundry manually - do you mean you do it by hand in the sink?

If there is a laundromat nearby, or somewhere where you could use a washing machine, that may help not only cut down on how often you do laundry, but how much effort you put into it. Although you probably also get away with doing laundry less frequently even if you prefer to do it in the sink - maybe save it for once a week?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on July 18, 2021 [1 favorite]


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