In Pursuit of an Organized Life

. . . putting life in order

“Once you know that it is possible, you can work on making it better.”

I love the quote. I heard it on NPR today. “Once you know that it is possible, you can work on making it better.” The quote alludes to the theories of positive mind-set and also one step at a time. It’s easy to have big dreams of success and what “could be”, but it can seem so far away and unreal.  I also like that it focuses on succeeding at short term goals on route to the long term ones.

In the area of fitness, I think I have completed this portion this year. I shifted from I can be healthy/lose weight to I can be athletic. That I can not only check weekly exercise off my list, but enjoy it and am beginning to see measurable progress.  I have progressed with my fitness before that, but this is the first year where I believed it and see the value of exercise in itself—rather than a means to an end.

In the area of organization, I’m not quite there yet. I don’t feel like my life or house is organized. I’ve seen glimmers of it when I finnish a project or get the house clean for a party, but overall I don’t feel like organization is a strength of mine.  It still feels like a chore and a treadmill of frustration rather than a meaningful part of my life.

The quote is a good motivator for me to keep working at it and seek progress, not perfection.  Enjoy your day!! Now off to get stuff done rather than talk about it.

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Productivity and Creative Distractions

I brain stormed a list of things I wanted to accomplish over my time off. I did brain dump and wrote down as many ideas I can think of. I think sometimes having a small list is motivating because it’s not as an intimidating and seems more achievable. For longer periods of time, I think a larger list helps me be more productive because I can choose tasks that fit my mood and time allotted for the day. I hope to get some of the projects done on my list or at least inspired by my list. Last break, I didn’t get many projects done that I planned, but we tackled organizing our laundry/craft room.

I acknowledge that part of break is recharging and relaxing. I believe it is an important part, but shouldn’t be the only part. I’m hoping to be able to relax without wasting away an entire day/week. I love how one book I am reading talks about “Creative Distractions”. It describes how the most effective stress reducers are activities that involve either your body or passion/enthusiasm. So exercising, reading, socializing, or watching a movie I love–versus flipping channels on the TV. I’m hoping to try a variety and see which ones help me the most so that I can apply them when I have limited time.

I also want to try more active recovery–like during workouts. Instead of stopping and not working out or pushing yourself to exhaustion, you alternate easier and harder tasks. It can also be used to switch between exercise types–cardio versus strength or arms vs legs.  I’m hoping to apply this to my time off as well.  Alternating types of tasks or amount of focus required with a different type of task rather than not doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

Wish me luck!

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2011 Goals in Review

The end of the year is coming so its time to reflect on how I did on my goals that I set for 2011. Some were more formal goals and others were more vague.  Anyways here is how I did.

  • 5K —-completed  Corn Maze 5K (well technically shorter than a 5K, but zig zaggy so it balances out)
  • 9min mile—–not met—-shaving off a minute off of a mile time is a lot more work than I anticipated
  • Flossing—-Moments of enthusiasm then periods of drought (currently in a drought, but gaining enthusiasm  (but I will have been to the dentist twice this year)
  • Organizing/cleaning—small steps—honestly I probably thought about it more than actually doing it.   It’s a start though

Now to brainstorm for next year.

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The Perfect Goal

     Working in education, I know the guidelines of writing a good goal.   It should be  SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive).  For example  By March, I will be able to do X number of push-ups in 1 minute.  However, knowing the format and being able to write good goals are two different skills.

      The most difficult part is trying to figure out an attainable goal is.  Setting too easy of a goal can lead to slower progress than I am capable of or putting it off till the last minute because it isn’t that hard.  It can also be anti-climatic to meet the goals.  Setting a goal that is too hard can result in frustration or giving up.   When I set and achieve that “sweet spot” goal,  I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride and feel motivated to continue to work on that area. 

     The other challenging part for me is trying to figure out how far out the goals should be.  Too short of a time period and life gets in the way and there is limited time to see progress.  Too long and its easy to loose focus.  I suppose that is why people set long term and short term goals.  How much time am I realistically going to put into this area of my life?  How hard am I willing to work?

    The goals also relate to go with the flow or planning.  I tend to be on the fence about this one.  If I plan, it helps me feel more at ease and gives me focus.  However, I sometimes have difficulty adapting to a change of plan and can be stressful or depressing.  Going with the flow can be relaxing and allows for spontenaity, but time can be easily wasted and can lead to regret.   

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and success or struggles with goal setting.  Have a great day!

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Organizing Decorations??

Anyone have any tips for organizing and tracking decorations?  I need to find a place to put them so that they are accessible so I use them.  That place also needs to be out of the way so its not taking up valuable storage place for items I do use on a daily/weekly/basis.

I also want to find a way to track which decoractions I actually use so I don’t save some and never use it for 10 years.  Some decorations that I won’t use now, but will use once the kids understand the word FRAGILE (whenever I see that word it makes me smile because I remember A Christmas Story) .  My theory is once they know what the word means they should be able to be careful with it. 

I also want to find time to watch some Christmas movies.  I’ve seen parts of Frosty, Rudolph, classic Grinch, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.  The next movies on my list is Elf and Alastair Sim‘s The Christmas Carol (which I don’t have).  Have a great day! 

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To do list update

Below is my original goals and how I did.  If I keep checking in on what I actually get done, I will either create more realistic goals or get more done.

Plan for today:

  • NO—Clean bathrooms–cleaned 1/3 toilets (nothing else)
  • YES—Exercise–weight circuit 2x with running as warm up and breaks  (changed some exercises, but complete workout)
  • NO—Clean surfaces so decorations can be placed on it
  • YES/NO—Plan for week for school (planned Monday and Tuesday)
  • YES–Plan chores for the week (rough draft)

Bonus tasks:

  • Get Groceries—NO
  • Organize counter—NO
  • Purchase Christmas presents—YES—got 3 more presents I needed
  • Visited with Mom and sister
  • Watched parts of Packer Game

Overall I had a productive day without being stressful–perfect for a Sunday.  Now to relax before the work week and sleep.

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Christmas Decorations!

It’s December!  There is snow! Time to decorate for Christmas!   The nice part of it is that it actually motivates me to clean.   We wanted to vacuum before we set up the tree so I cleaned up the toys in the front room and vacuumed.  Then I figured since it was out, I might as well do the family room.  Then I got into a rhythm and started cleaning the floor.  It felt good.

My oldest daughter (3) is starting to get into it.  She grabbed ornaments that she saw on the counter and started putting them on the tree on her own.  I had Christmas music in the background and it was so fun to sing along to and get both girls to dance to it.  I love to see the enthusiasm that little kids bring.  As you get more excited, they get more excited.

Plan for today:

  • Clean bathrooms
  • Exercise–weight circuit 2x with running as warm up and breaks
  • Clean surfaces so decorations can be placed on it
  • Plan for week for school
  • Plan chores for the week

Bonus tasks:

  • Get Groceries
  • Organize counter
  • Purchase Christmas presents

Hopefully I can make a good dent on the list. Good luck getting your own list done!

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