I do this thing where I go in phases of extreme productivity where I get All The Things Done followed by weeks-long stretches where I spend my evenings watching questionable television about teenage vampires, with an iPad on my lap, and a slice of chocolate cake at my side, getting absolutely nothing of importance done.
(I am currently in about week 4 of a vampire/chocolate cake phase.)
My friend Courtney used to ask me, "What are you doing tonight?" and she would ask me this on like, a Monday, which is traditionally a non-drinking day for single people in their early twenties, so my usual response would be, "Um, I don't know?" Courtney always had some kind of plan for her after-work hours. Paint her nails, organize a cabinet, research something, make a curtain, watch a specific movie, make something new for dinner, go to bed early, etc.
She planned out her off time in advance and I started doing the same thing and it was kind of fun and nice to have A Thing to look forward to in my evenings rather than getting home and just laying on the sofa for three hours. (I totally sat on the sofa for hours at a time anyway [and still do!], but now it was The Thing and I looked forward to it all day, which somehow made it BETTER.) Sometimes, The Thing even required a trip to Target for craft supplies or nail polish or whatever and that was also kind of fun.
I picked up on this habit of hers and I've been silently planning my evening hours for about ten years. I like to stew about what I'm going to do that evening and consider my options all morning (or even days before) and when I decide (even if I decide on vampires and chocolate cake) it's like this delightful little carrot waiting for me at about 8 PM.
"If I can get through this meeting/commute/pile of dishes/whiney child, I can do XYZ!"
Sometimes, The Thing is ambitious like "Sew Kitchen Curtains" and sometimes it's "Open A Bottle Of Wine As Soon As The Children Go To Bed." But the point is there's always SOMETHING (productive or not) to look forward to and that's the part I like.
Anyway, I go through phases with my selections. These days I'm watching Vampire Diaries but I read ahead on Wikipedia and now I feel bored and like it's not moving fast enough and there's too much pesky character development. I think my new project is going to be a huge, giant, toy purge. I can only do it in the evenings so the children can't see me donating/throwing away their toys, but we have seriously reached Maximum Capacity with toys. There are four plastic bins in Claire's room because there is simply no place else to put them. Charlotte has also outgrown a lot of baby toys and there are even more toys with missing or broken parts, plus lots of toys nobody plays with that need to move along to their next home.
(This is making me think of Toy Story and how sad the toys must be because I'm going to pitch them. Surely THEY KNOW, right? They have to know. Too bad, toys!)
Anyway, I was wondering what YOU all do after everyone is home from work and dinner has been eaten and children are in bed, pets fed, cows milked, etc. and you have some time of your own. I am about to abandon Vampire Diaries and the toy purge can't take me more than two days, and then I'll need some new, exciting ideas, and I would very much like to just copy you. And, does anyone else do this "wheeeee, it's finally MY time" thing? I realize it might read a little OCD, but I do keep the whole thing loose and easy and I'm not militant about it AT ALL. I just like to look forward to things!