I’ve got things to do

When I don’t have any particular plans on a weekday night, I like to spend a portion of the day figuring out what I’m going to do with my time. Making a mental list of what I’m going to do after work helps me avoid getting on the computer or sitting in front of the TV all evening: if I tell myself, “Tonight when I get home I’m going to put my laundry away and sweep the patio,” I’m much more likely to do those things. I’ve found I can be the most productive when I pick just a few chores and intersperse them with more interesting things. No matter how many times I say, “Tonight when I get home I’m going to clean my whole apartment,” I’m probably not going to do it; it’s too big a task and it sets me up for failure.

Last Thursday I didn’t have any plans, and I’d bought an old teak bar cart and some sandpaper on my way home from work. I decided that I would unload the dishwasher and pay the electric bill, and then sand and oil the bar cart while watching “Lost.” When I got home, a friend called and asked me if I wanted to take a dance class with her that evening. I told her I couldn’t go because I had plans, and then I wondered if sanding and oiling a bar cart while watching TV really counted as plans. Was I really so nerdy and reclusive that refinishing old furniture sounded better than going out?

I know people who go out a lot on weekday nights. Hell, I used to go out a lot on weekday nights. But I’m slowly realizing that it’s all right if I’d rather stay in; just because other people want to go out every night doesn’t mean I have to want that, too. I like sanding teak and I like watching “Lost,” and it’s okay for those things to count as plans.

Here are my plans for tonight:

  1. Go to the farmers’ market.
  2. Go to Room Service and maybe Uptown Modern or Home Girls to look for a coffee table (the bar cart, though beautifully sanded and oiled, is likely too tall to be a coffee table). Uptown Modern will probably try to murder me in the wallet, though.
  3. Unload the dishwasher and vacuum the carpet.
  4. Use the iTunes gift card I got for my birthday.
  5. Finish sewing cloth napkins while watching a PBS documentary.
  6. If there’s time, finish writing my ultra-bitchy post about Iron Man.