I am trying this new thing where I schedule my day better so I get more done, waste less time, feel productive and thus can bask in the resulting satisfaction of a day well lived before going to bed each night. I’ve been trying this new thing for about a week and so far I’m shocked at how much time I really waste in a day.
Of course, at the time, it didn’t really feel like a waste to spend an hour catching up on all the buzz from the Oscars the night before. But like, seriously, Megan, do we even care about the Oscars? Not enough to watch it as it was happening and certainly shouldn’t care a day later when it’s already well beyond old news. Plus, it’s Hollywood and I’ve never been one to care before.
Sometimes when I talk about how busy I am, I realize I’m not actually that busy. #realhousewifeyxe
— Megan (Megs) Lust (@meganlust) March 3, 2014
After blowing through an hour and completely derailing my schedule, accepting the fact that all the stuff I had left to do wasn’t going to get done now I sort of wrote Monday off and went and had lunch with a friend, went to the mall (which I usually hate, by the way) and bought some earrings for fun and walked the dogs.
But since I’ve asked Levi to help make myself accountable to my goal, I was worried that it would be obvious that I totally neglected my schedule so at 3:55 in the afternoon I rushed into the kitchen to prepare something – anything! – that would totally distract him from the giant pile of unfolded laundry, unvacuumed floors, and job tickets that were stacked so high which I didn’t invoice. I wanted it to look like I’d been at least somewhat productive that day.
I think it did the trick.
Side note. How I knew that this distraction tactic would work on Levi is simply due to history and his predictability. Literally without fail every single time I have something simmering on the stove and walk away if Levi walks into the kitchen he will yell out to me wherever I might be in the house with a sense of panic that ‘something’s boiling!’. One time, just one time, I forgot about something on the stove 13 years ago and he has it built into his DNA now to remind me when there’s something on the stove. He’s helpful like that.
This dish comes together remarkably fast. The yam roasts up in just about the same amount of time that the quinoa takes to cook. Speaking of yams, I struggled with naming this recipe – was it a yam or was it a sweet potato? The sign at the supermarket is never always reliable; some days it says yams and some days it says sweet potato and I know for sure it’s the same vegetable I’m getting each time. I tried to compare what I had to pictures on the internet but shockingly (not really) the internet produced conflicting answers. If you want to get a sweet potato get a nice dark orange fleshed one.
The cumin-lime dressing is really subtle in flavor so even if you’re not huge into cumin you’ll probably still like this. I had some lime marmalade on hand and I think it made this dressing really unique and, quite honestly, pretty darn awesome.
Forgive me, but I was kind of obnoxious and used the term pepitas in the recipe title. Pepitas = the Spanish word for pumpkin seeds. (‘Pepitas’ sounds a bit more fancy than just ‘pumpkin seeds’, don’t you think? Ladedah.) If you don’t have roasted pumpkin seeds on hand, that’s fine. Use sunflower seeds or pine nuts – or anything nut/seed that gives this a crunch without being totally overpowering.
Just looking for a tasty side dish/warm salad-type dish? Then you can omit the lentils – or leave them in, because who doesn’t need an extra boost of lentil protein!? This makes a lot – enough to feed 4 people as a meal. If you’re making it as a salad then you’re looking at enough to serve 8. It keeps well in the fridge so you can enjoy this cold the next day for lunch too.
- 1 medium yam (or orange fleshed sweet potato), peeled and cut into 2" cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
- 1 bunch green onion, sliced
- 1 x 15oz can lentils, drained and rinsed (2 cups cooked)
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- Cumin-Lime Dressing
- 3 tablespoons lime marmalade
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Large pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the yam cubes on the parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until fork-tender. (This would be a great time to cook your quinoa if you haven't already.)
- In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, sweet bell pepper, green onion, lentils and pumpkin seeds. Add cooked yam.
- In a small bowl combine lime marmalade, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, cumin and sea salt. Whisk to emulsify. Pour dressing over the quinoa-yam mixture. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
For the record, I did do the dishes. And while I was at the mall I stopped by the postal outlet and mailed some stuff. So there’s that.
Despite saying how shocked I was at the time-wasting that I do, I’m really not that surprised. I am mostly shocked at how difficult it is for me to stick to a schedule after being self-employed for so long though. I mean, I get stuff done, and I am highly productive with a deadline. But, when I see some of my friends who juggle working full-time at a secular job, full family schedules, other extra-cirriculars – and some who even blog on top of it all! – I’m a bit stumped as to how they do it. I don’t work full-time, I’m “self-employed”, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a lot of other responsibilities and yet I sometimes struggle to get dinner on the table each night. Hence the need for this schedule experiment. I’m going to keep at it and try harder for a few more weeks and see if it helps – or at least helps me feel that satisfaction of a day well lived each night before I fall asleep.
Are you a procrastinator like me? How do you keep yourself focused on the day’s tasks?