The PIRDY Plan

Walking my dog one morning in the last week of 2009, lamenting the fact that another year had gone by and I had yet to figure out how to fit time for all my interests into my life, I came up with a plan I think will help me do it. (Notice I don’t call it a new year’s resolution. For some reason, that combination of words – for me – seems to invite failure.)

I started with the question: What are the things you want to make more time for?

Drawing. I’ve taken courses off and on for years but except for the occasional summer, have rarely managed to find/make time to do it outside of class time. The last time a course ended I vowed I would not take another till I’d started devoting some time outside of class to develop my skills in this area.

Reading. Too often it seems the only time I have for leisure reading is in the last minutes of the day, just before I fall asleep. Not nearly enough to get through all the books I want to read.

Yoga always makes me feel better, physically and emotionally. Again, I’ve taken classes but have done little more than a few stretches outside of class. Recently, someone put me on to a free online class that can be done at home at any time, so now all I have to do is set aside that time.

Photography is a hobby I’ve become increasingly interested in and some people have said I have a good eye for it. I’m pretty good at sorting my photos into various Occasions, People & Pets, and Places folders, but I’d like to spend more time making albums, printing up favourites, and playing around with the many possibilities of digital photography.

Internet surfing, beyond what’s helpful for professional reasons, is something I do seem to find time for, and it may be part of why I’ve had trouble getting to the other things on this list. So it’s part of the plan so I can relegate it to a time slot so it doesn’t take over time I’d like to give to the others. (Also because I needed an activity that started with a vowel so I could come up with an easy-to-remember acronym for my intention.)

The next question: When can I possibly fit these things in?

Early morning? While a great time to read a book (like I do on weekend mornings before getting out of bed) or practicing yoga (as I did for an hour one morning last year), early morning is also my best time for writing and that’s got to be my my priority. Evenings? Some evenings I’m leading workshops, attending meetings, or I’m just too tired to do more than plop a few pieces into a jigsaw puzzle or catch up on a few emails. So, how about late afternoon then, before the dog needs a walk or dinner needs to be made, when I’ve put in a good day at my desk?

That’s it. 3:30 to 4:30 each weekday will be the time to institute the PIRDY plan. Mondays will be for Photography, Tuesdays for Internet stuff, Wednesdays for Reading, Thursdays for Drawing, and Fridays for Yoga. Weekends can be left unstructured. Who knows? Maybe having that hour of drawing on a Thursday will make it more likely I’ll devote some time to it on a weekend. So often that hardest thing about establishing new habits or routines is starting.

Maybe come spring, if this plan works, I’ll adapt it to be the GIRDY plan, to accommodate my interest in gardening. In the meantime, please wish me luck! And good luck to you in finding time for the things you wish you were doing more of.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Carrie on January 5, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I like this Plan!!…it's "pirdy"!!

    Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting on my blog. I'm a big fan of your picture books and was thrilled that you read my little review of Red is Best.

    I look forward to checking our your chapter books with my daughter!

  2. Kathy Stinson on January 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks Carrie. Pirdy might become pordy if I decide I need an hour a week to Organize my life more than I need Internet time.

    I hope you and your daughter will enjoy my chapter books, starting with Pebble Creek, I saw when I went back to your blog. (I tried going back so I could add a link to it here, but then I lost my comment.

    Please feel free to comment again with a link to it. I'm sure some of my blog readers would be interested in your What We're Reading blog too.

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