Category Archives: time management

Resolved: ‘March’ing On!

Lets-write-something-writing-4545938-1024-768

Ok, I promised. Now that it’s officially March, I can share my new Resolution of the Month with you! Aren’t you excited?? I can feel your anticipation vibrating through my keyboard as I type this. Seriously, I can. I’m sure that you’ve been doing nothing at all for a month but waiting to hear about my next resolution. (If you haven’t detected the sarcasm yet, I’m truly sorry for you.) But for the three – or four, on a good day – of you who actually read this, I’ve got a new goal. And it actually fits in with my Life Plan, so that’s a win-win, right? I sure think so. Hold onto your hats – here it is…

Writing.

Yep, that’s right. Writing. See, I’ve been pretty good about daily blogging lately. At least the mechanics of it. The quality? Not so much. My brain has been in a dry period the last couple of weeks, so some days have been a real stretch as far as finding a topic. But I’m not just talking about blogging here.

If I really want to be a Writer (and the capital ‘W’ is oh-so-important) I need to make writing more of a priority. I already carry a journal with me everywhere, in case something just hits me or I need to vomit excess thoughts out of my brain to make space for the day-to-day stuff. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

I need a dedicated time and space for Writing. Daily. I mean it. Not just a few minutes in the park between checking Facebook, eating lunch and reading my book o’ the day. Serious Writing Time. I want to make it a priority. Which makes sense, if I want to turn this little passion of mine into a career someday. Trouble is, time is at a premium for me. Correction – time during which my brain is coherent is at a premium. I’ve got plenty of time if you count the hour in the morning before my coffee kicks in or the two hours after the minions are in bed. But it’s hard for me to count that as Serious Writing Time when my brain resembles a greenish poof of cotton candy during those times instead of seriously alert gray matter.

See my dilemma? It’s a biggie. So I’m asking for suggestions here. Writers – how do you schedule non-negotiable time for writing into your day? How did you transition into a Writer? Moms – how do you find that solitude that’s necessary for free-flowing thoughts? What’s your perfect writing space? Manuscript or computer?

I’m open to any and all ideas here – please keep ’em coming!!

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Filed under Careers, Hobbies, time management, Uncategorized, working moms

I. Am. So. Tired.

I am tired. So stinkin’ tired. I’m so tired that I’m going to drop my scruples and list everything that I did yesterday just to prove to myself that I’m justified in being tired. Because right now I just feel guilty about it and keep apologizing to my fam.

Let’s see. Yesterday. Hmm. Got the ‘rents off to the airport at 4 AM. Put myself and the minions together for work and school after a three day weekend. Mediated a minion smackdown. Threw a load of laundry into the washer. Spent the first 45 minutes of my commute just getting to the highway. Work. Did a speed-editing job on a rush new listing. Five major but quickie revisions on said listing. Troubleshooting on a marketing application – complete with bug report involving company IT. Sorted and scanned ten files for archiving. Troubleshot new user account logins with outside company – and turns out it was their server error. Project for sales manager.

Lunch. A cup of soup. Seriously. That was it. Quickie revision on rush new listing for head honcho. Financial revisions on old listing. Project involving market research for boss. All afternoon. Schooled by office guy on an issue. My mistake.

Drive home. Major traffic. Left work at 6 PM. 7:30 PM – finally close to home but had to pick up little minion from older minion’s scout meeting. Spent time with younger minion and got him off to bed just in time to get the older kid home and into bed. Died on the couch. Woke up this morning – repeat.

Now, I’m not listing all of this in an effort to self-promote. Hardly. I’m trying to make myself feel just a teeny bit justified in being the abso-freaking-lutely exhausted mess of a human being that I am this morning. Really. Because I feel horribly guilty and keep apologizing to my fam about it. Did I already say that? Sorry. Can’t remember. Memory si shot.

So in the midst of all this, I remembered a conversation with a colleague from a couple of weeks ago. It was a very Monty Python-esque chat – ‘Always look on the bright side of life,’ and all that. The subject of choice came up, as in, you have only yourself to blame if you don’t like your situation. Because ultimately your choices led you there. And the true road to acceptance, inner peace and healing only comes with realizing that you and only you are responsible for everything that happens to you (per the conversation).

Huh? Not sure where I chose to have my body develop a condition that leaves me fatigued and feeling like I have the flu some days. Guess I chose to take my doctor’s advice and go on medication for it – and that leads to other side effects. But it’s chronic, and not going away.

Or this random example: a person chooses to put on their left shoe first, as opposed to their right, which leads to slower tying and two minutes later out the door. After the resulting car accident that leaves them paralyzed – are they truly responsible for choosing one shoe over another? See what I mean? It’s a flawed argument. (Tangent – Can you tell I aced logic in college?) I mean, it’s an interesting Sliding Doors concept and all that, but where do you draw the line about being totally responsible for everything that happens to you?

And where does God fall into all of this? My choices aren’t truly my choices, are they? And what about predestination – a big can o’ worms there…

And I’d love to have that same chat after the individual in question walked a day in my shoes. Like yesterday. Granted, there are some bright sides: I have a job, I have a family, I get to commute 21 miles each way five days a week. But really. It’s so easy to preach about ‘finding the greatness in every moment of every day’ when you’ve got unlimited time to do whatever the heck you want with every moment of every day. Really.

I know that ‘the good is so good.’ Trouble is that apparently due to my choices I don’t have time, energy or mental stamina to find and appreciate it. But apparently I lack the acceptance of that, and therefore inner peace. Huh.

Don’t know about you, but I could really appreciate a nap right now.

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Filed under family, Life choices, Philosophy, Positive thinking, Predestination, time management, working moms

Seriously, I Need Help!

I realized this morning that I have a serious problem. A Very Serious Problem. I’ve been stewing about it for most of the day (well, stewing is relative. In the sense that it’s been nagging at the back of my brain while my body has been busy with a zillion other work-related tasks, that is.) Here it is: I have no real time to read. And for once, I have too many books.

Too many books, too little time. In between my 6 AM alarm, getting self, Spouse and two minions out the door, hour-long commute to the office, full workday and the hour (sometimes hour-plus) drive home – there just isn’t time left. Add to that the fact that, once I get home there are family activities, homework to check, minions to spend time with/prepare for the next day and Spouse to chat with – and there’s JUST NO EXTRA TIME!!
And, truth be told, reading is my real hobby.  I would rather go a day without breathing than reading. I mean it. Writing is a close second, but I really don’t think I would survive long without immersing myself in a good book (or several.) The current dilemma is that, between Barnes and Noble and Amazon gift cards, my reading stash has grown and I can’t decide what to read first. I fall into my normal pattern of staring blankly at the pile of books (and my Kindle) like a deer in headlights. Waste all of my time trying to decide what to read rather than reading. Bummer. It really stinks, especially given my lack of time.
Diehards would tell me to suck it up and get up an hour or two earlier to ‘enjoy some quiet reading time just for me.’ Who are they kidding? Those peeps have obviously never tried the kind of 12+ hour days full of required stuff that are the norm on my docket. Argh!!
So what exactly is in the oh-so-tempting pile? I’ll tell you. And it’s even worse now because I got a box from Amazon yesterday. Books, of course. Here’s my stash:
1.       A Storm of Swords – this one’s kind of on the back burner. I got burned out by all of the head-rolling.

2.       This Side of Paradise – always have loved Fitzgerald and Zelda.

3.       Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen, of course.

4.       Quiet!I actually just finished this one. An interesting study of introverts and society.

5.       Outliers – Just started this one but it seems good already. Gives reasons for refuting the ‘hard work is the only thing that determines success’ idea.

6.       Case Histories – new novel

7.       The Liars Club – another new novel.

Can you see my dilemma?? What do you think? Which should come first?? And how the heck should I manage my time?!

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Filed under Hobbies, Reading, time management, working moms

Still Hobbily Challenged

Since I don’t think I can make a hobby out of Downton Abbey or Gosford Park, I’m still looking for a ‘real’ hobby. The Spouse is fully in support of this, probably because if I do find something to do in my (very rare) free time he won’t get nagged about the ever-present sports – Cowboys, Rangers, Mavericks – that rotate through the house on a clockwork-like schedule.

I’m just not that big of a sports fan, so it gets irritating.

So a couple of weeks ago, over the holidays, the Spouse went on a cleaning spree. Yes, you read that right. An Actual Cleaning Spree – which for him is rare, given his borderline hoarder classification. And his inspiration? Something I said. Yep – you read that one right too. Apparently in the course of some casual conversation I made the comment that I didn’t really feel like I had a spot in the house that was ‘mine.’

He actually felt really bad about that, and had to agree. So what did he do?

That guy spent the next two days moving all of my old crafting bins and stuff out of Minion 2’s closet, rearranging the kid stuff, shoveling (yes, shoveling) out his side of our dual closet, and moving unused/out of season clothes up to the top racks that no one has ever used. With a ladder. And – get this – he moved my craft bins into the empty corner of the closet, researched (and found! and bought!) folding tables, put the new table in the empty area and arranged all of my things. The table even fits my sewing machine plus leaves room for a work area!

Ta-da! I now have a crafting corner!

The problem?? WTH to do with it? I’ve fretted about my lack of a hobby before. Since my sewing projects of old consisted of clothes (the only formal I actually bought back in the day was my prom dress) and girl stuff, I’m at a loss here. If I had more confidence I would tackle drapes for the media room and it’s tricky arched window. Hmmm. I’ll have to think on that one.

Or I could move in there and use it for my writing space. The cool thing is, if I close the closet door I actually have a quiet, peaceful little room. And theoretically no one would know where I was. Bwahaha…

Still a third idea that popped into my head last night was that I used to paint. Oils, acrylics, you name it. I did it. But oils get expensive, messy and take about two weeks to dry once finished, so I’ll need to think on that one. Acrylic painting is much easier and cleaner, but you don’t get the wonderful blending of texture and color that oils make possible.

Hmmm..

So I guess I’ve got no excuses now, folks. All I need is some free time where I’m not totally exhausted from my two hour daily commute, eight hours of work and trying to keep the house from looking like a total sty.

Easy, right??

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Filed under Hobbies, organization, Space Saving, time management, working moms

Waiting

I don’t like waiting. Period. Well, that’s not entirely true. I am perfectly capable of waiting – patiently – if there’s an end in sight. Doctor’s office? No problem. Dentist? Check. Hair appointment? Got it. Scheduled  meeting at work? It’s in the bag.

See, all of those things have a deadline. A set date and time. At least if the dentist is running an hour or so late, it might not be a pleasant hour of waiting, but it’s finite. Even going to camp as a kid or preparing for an audition in college had a set start and end time and date. Those things were doable.

With everything else, my Type-A-ness gets in the way. And it’s annoying.

I think part of it has to do with being so goal-oriented. Back in school there was always a set timeline. Tests, social events, auditions and contests always had a concrete calendar – and I could work with that. In fact I thrived on it. It’s always been the ‘sometime’ future events that give me the most grief.

Like getting married. Several college friends were engaged to their guys for years. YEARS. With no date set other than ‘when we both finish school.’ I never could understand how they were able to function. I mean, how could you make a timeline, schedule, to-do list and count down the days without a definite calendar? (And to me, that’s the fun part.) To my credit, I did pretty well with that one. We were engaged a whole month (and a half) before I caved and had to set a date or go crazy. Once the date was set – nine months in the future – I was OK. I could function. Goal, schedule, timeline – all ready to be in place.

Even now, it’s the unknowns that get me. ‘We’ll take that vacation sometime,’ is a popular one around our house these days. Not. Good. Enough. I’m antsy – even if it’s five years from now, I’d like to know that from April 7-11, 2017 I will be on a beach in ___________ . Crazy, I know. Just one of my many quirks. I’m sure I drive others just as crazy as they drive me. Trying to plan nights out with the girls is a prime example. ‘We’ll do this again soon,’ is a pretty common saying. I get it. We’re all moms with kids and spouses – with schedules of their own. I’d much rather look at my trusty calendar and get something down – even if it changes.

And my Type-A brain likes to grumble, ‘Why isn’t everyone like this?’ It’s frustrating. Frustrating because I thrive on a schedule, frustrating because – even after a fun time – I need ‘the next thing’ to look forward to. And finally, frustrating because it’s times like these that make me realize just how weird I am. I know it and I own it.

Living in the moment. Enjoying the journey, not just the destination – that’s my new challenge. (Well, along with accepting the knowledge that I’m quirky that way and that part of me – just part of me – needs to get over it.)

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Filed under goals, scheduling, time management, type a personality