The 6 Ps

It’s Tactics Thursday and sometimes I think of Thursdays as being a sort of calm before the storm.  The storm being the weekend.  I always welcome the weekends, but in the past, it was also wrought with tension and  stress because they are unpredictable.  No kids to hustle off to school, no waking to the droning of alarm clocks, etc. I kind of always felt that the weekends were a sort of battlefield for me whenever I was “on a diet”.  I don’t have quite the same feeling of anxiety that I had in the past about it, but still, I fear the way a weekend can sort of unfold and undo all my hard work during the week.

When I was growing up, my dad shared with me the idea of the 6 Ps, and said not to forget them.  Well, I do, on occasion, when I stomp my foot and refuse to take charge of my weekends. So, I’ve decided that I should put it to use in my little toolbox of knowledge and not let the weekends unpredicability get the better of me.  Perhaps in the future, I will lead a more regimented life, but right now, it’s a pirate’s life for me, ARRRR!

6 Ps I present to you, the 6 Ps, in all their simplistic glory.  May they serve you well!

One of my family’s greatest temptations over the weekends is fast food.  We get so busy doing things, and running around, and all of a sudden, we’re totally starving.  And, how convenient! There’s a Mickey D’s right over there!  But we already got chicken out or whatever! But by the time we cook it and sit down to eat, we could have already eaten our fat pills.  Hmmm….okay, let’s just get burgers.  See how that works?

And that’s usually how it is in this house.  I’m determined to change that though, by planning ahead and sticking to that plan.  I’ve been working on my extraordinary productivity exercises from last week, and I’m determined to stick with it through the weekend.  I will not worry about every little thing that crops up on my radar and worry about when I’m going to find time to take care of it.

I have my plan and my schedule of to-do’s, and I will write it down and do it when it pops on the schedule.  I’m big on planning and making lists, but I try to schedule too much, or I spend too much time on one thing, so then I run out of time.  You would think I would be much better about the time management, but I’m actually pretty terrible at it.

I have a friend that once told me that when I had to be somewhere by 2 p.m., I would arrive at precisely 1:59 and 59 seconds.  And sadly, I have to laugh, because it’s true.  I thrive on routine and schedules, and I admit I am a little disappointed I need to regiment my schedule like that.  However, I’m understanding myself a little better now and realize I need more than a list of things to do, I need to learn to schedule the time to do it within the time I have to do things.

For instance, I know I have pretty much from 9-3 every day to do what I need to do.  That may seem like an eternity to some, but I find I can’t use my time wisely: frittering away a morning to read, typing away on my blog, reading other people’s blogs, checking my celebrity gossip, taking care of my little one, or putting out unexpected fires.  Well, remember when I said I was done with being an ostrich?  That was about the time I had to fess up to myself that I was wasting too much time wasting time instead of doing what had to be done.  If everything is an emergency, and has to be done right away, where does that leave me?  I’ll tell you: it leaves me with a pile of mail that need to sorted and floors that still need to be cleaned.

And so, enter the Covey’s time management matrix, and now the 6 Ps.  I’m still struggling to learn to use the matrix, as I don’t have enough information about it just yet, but I can no longer wait till I have all the answers to start something.  I know how I’m doing things right now is not efficient, and I sincerely feel it would be a mistake to wait, so I’m really going to have to jump with both feet without testing the water first.  Maybe I’ll find the water is just fine.

Set Heading for Quadrant 2

I’ve been trying to keep up with my life and this blog and sometimes, I feel like I need a vacation from my life! I’ve really been struggling lately with my time management and my daily schedule.  It sure is hard to try and balance what I need to do, what I want to do, and what I have to do.  I’ve had this increasing feeling of anxiousness, and feeling like there was more that I needed to be doing, could be doing, but I just didn’t know how I was ever going to get around to it.

enterpriseLuckily, I heard about this amazing way to prioritize things using Franklin Covey’s time management techniques.  It was just a brief snippet, and I’ve started looking online for more information.  I have the distinct feeling I will need to buy the damned book because I’m just anal like that.

Anyway, I’m trying to work on my personal and professional development because I’m tired of feeling like everything’s such a freakin’ crisis.  It’s totally stressing me out.  Another realization I’ve had (again): I can’t manage my time effectively because I essentially have too much of it, which makes me think I have enough, but then isn’t nearly enough time to finish anything, making me wish I hadn’t procrastinated!  *taking deep breath*

So, I heard about this 4 Quadrants deal, and I’m ashamed to admit, I’m usually either in Quadrant I, or Quadrant 4, usually in Quadrant 4.  And that’s because I spend way too much time wasting time by reading, surfing the internet, or busy work.  Yes, even when you don’t have a job, you can be doing busy work.  Like when I suddenly decide I need to sort my kids’ toys when I should be working on my monthly budget.  .

quadrantsThis graphic I found online illustrates the 4 quadrants.  Basically, Quadrant 1 items are urgent and need immediate attention like sick kids and last minute shit. Being in this category mostly signifies Procrastination, but it’s also those things that you have to take care of first and can’t wait.  Quadrant 3 are distractions, and 4 is just wasting time.

Quadrant 2 is where I need to be to have extraordinary productivity.  With planning, focus, and eliminating the distractions and the slacking off, I could essentially find that elusive balance I so need in my life.  I would love to actually end my day feeling productive and satisfied, instead of frazzled and worn out.

Now, I know that a lot of this is very generalized, but I think the picture is pretty clear.  When I spend all my time frackin’ around instead of doing what needs to be done, then everything becomes a crisis.  I’m sure most of you are thinking I’m a lazy b right now, but I could care less.  I just find myself engaging in this activity more and more lately, and it’s not making me happy.  Seeing this little chart made me realize I’m in a funk, and I’ve been in one, but I don’t have to BE in one.

I’ve been wanting to start doing more personal development stuff, and this was just the boot in the ass I needed to re-evaluate my daily schedule and really be honest with how I was spending my time.  Yeah, sure, there are days, and times when I’m Q2 all the way, but I want it to be that way 90% of the time, not 30% of the time.  I have long felt that I was definitely more productive when I worked full-time and only had 2 days to do everything I needed to do.  Now that I stay home, I am often under the misconception that I have all this time to get a certain task done, so I procrastinate.  I spend too much time on Facebook, too much time looking at stupid slideshows on Buzzfeed, too much time reading my books.  And then, OMG!!  I have to start dinner!  I forgot to do XYZ! Oh, I don’t have time now! and my favorite: Fuck! We’re late!

I hate that.  So, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf.  I’m going to do more studying up about this and over the next 2 days, and then on Sunday, develop my execution.  I feel big, positive changes coming.  Extraordinary productivity, here I come!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

I apologize everyone for not having posted the last few days. My POS computer has caught some virus that is being a total bitch to remove, and I’ve been working on that the last 2 days. The problem is still not resolved, so as I’m still running scans, posting logs, and awaiting my knight in shining tech armor, I’m using hubs’ laptop because I’m just chomping at the bit to write!

ephemera-i-chooseAnyway, so, yes, as you are humming Aretha’s signature song in your head while you are reading, I’d like to share a little story.  A while back, I had mentioned my in-laws living with me and how it was a total nightmare.  But they moved out, and everything started going right-side-up again.  Things are still okay there, but one of the biggest issues we had to hurdle this week has been about my mother in law.  Right now, she is living with them, but our intention when she came here was for her to live with us.  She has long-term medical needs that her other son would not be able to provide for her since she is too young for Medicare.  We, on the other hand, would be able to add her as a dependent under my husband’s medical and dental and her needs would be taken care of.

So what’s the issue?  Simple, really.  My sweet MIL has been doing nothing but taking care of other people, practically forever.  When I first got married, she was caring for her mother-in-law.  Then she was having to care for her mom, who had a stroke, and then her sister-in-law who had terminal cancer.  The sister passed, and then her mom recovered enough to come home, but then she was caring for her full time.  Not long after she passed, her husband got sick, and she took care of him at home until he died.  Now, before y’all freak out, all these things happened over the course of the last 10 years, but she took care of these people for a long time, as they became ill, dysfunctional, until death claimed them.

Now widowed, with an assload of debt left after FIL’s death, and their national economy in the toilet, we convinced her to move here until the debts were paid with her meager pension.  Once my BIL and his family got an apartment, he was convinced that his mom needed to live with them since his wife doesn’t speak English, and they need someone to translate and help his wife and kid learn some English.  To go into the drama that goes on in that place would take too long and is really apropo nothing, but the bottom line is: his wife does nothing but fart around on Facebook all day liking fashion pictures and talking to her family back home, and his kid doesn’t do any studying after school.  So, MIL is basically useless over there, the only time she leaves the apartment is to go wash the sheets her granddaughter’s soiled overnight, or when she comes over here.

She comes over to our house to watch the kids  so the hubs and I can go to the gym, or on one of our 5 mi walks, and usually stays for dinner.  Every time she is here, I can see how unhappy she is over there.  She feels like all she does is sit there all day, watching TV, but she can’t call her friends or her brother to talk to them about her troubles because a certain someone is sure to take offense at being called a lazy ass.  She’s right to worry about her son not being able to take care of her medical needs, but she doesn’t want to leave him in a lurch.  She needs to be needed, and there she feels not only unneeded, but unwanted.

The other night, I finally told her, in pretty much these words, that she has spent her life taking care of other people.  Her sons are grown men with families of their own.  She needs to start putting herself first in her life, because no one else is going to do it for her.  I also told her that her staying over there is just another crutch for those jackalopes to not learn English, or learn to do things on their own without her as a crutch.  I told her that we don’t need her to live with us, but we want her to, but she’s got to make the decision on her own.

I feel, like a lot of women, regardless of whether we have kids and families, don’t put themselves first in terms of personal needs.  There is something, I don’t know if it’s genetic or a learned behavior that sort of keeps us from doing the right thing.  For those of us who struggle to get healthy, a lot of the excuses we might make have to do with time.  I don’t have time to go to the gym, or workout. I don’t have time to cook, so let’s eat out.  I don’t. I can’t. But how many of those excuses are really because we are not putting our needs first? I don’t think it’s selfish of me to make time for myself.  But I used to.  I’m slowly learning that taking that time each day to exercise helps keep me balanced, emotionally, and physically.  It doesn’t make me selfish, or imply that I don’t care about my family.

In truth, taking care of myself first shows how much I DO care about my family, and how much I respect myself.  I’m taking the time to ensure that I will be around for a long time.  That I’m worth it.  I encourage all of you to go into the weekend with a little more respect for yourself.  Put YOU first on your long list of To-Do’s and see what happens.

Chocolate covered morsels from the devil.

I am so proud of myself!  I am half way through my 6 Day Express and even though I’ve struggled a bit, I’ve done it with practically no cheating.  3 days of a strict diet may not seem like a big deal, but to me it’s phenomenal.  This tells me that I can succeed, that I can do this, and I will win!

I say practically didn’t cheat because usually, I’ll get all gung-ho about starting some new meal plan, and then cheat my way through the whole thing.  I’ll still lose weight, and then for some reason (*snarf*), I’ll just go back to eating the way I was eating and eventually gain anything I lost.  Or, even worse, I’ll be so focused on what I can’t eat for a measly few days, I’ll fall of the wagon for one meal, which becomes 2, and then 3… you see my point.

I haven’t done that this time.  In a perfect world, I could live somewhere like the Biggest Loser Ranch for a week, maybe 2, and not have to deal with constant temptation.  But I don’t have that option.  I live with my husband and 2 boys, and not far from “well-meaning” relatives who keep sending home sweets with my husband when he takes his mom back to their place.

Friendly gesture or Sabotage?

Friendly gesture or Sabotage?

Yeah, that cake my SIL sent home the other night that I only had a tiny bite of, that was the only bit I had of it.  In my previous incarnation, I would have been sorely tempted, and maybe would have justified eating half.  Then I would have felt tremendous guilt, which might have translated to justifying continued off-plan eating for the rest of the week.

Yesterday afternoon,  when I went to pick up my mom-in-law, I could see they had the doors to their apartment open.  When mom got in the car, I could totally smell the deep-frying that had been going on.  Apparently SIL was making donuts.  When I got back home, I told my husband that he would most likely be bringing donuts home tonight.  He was all, “Whaaaa???”  And I was all, “I know, right?!”  Yeah, yeah, we’re a coupla budding Shakespeares.

We decided to go for one of our long walks instead of the gym, so we hit the road and we get to the street that their apartment is on.  Guess what we smell?  Yup, deep-fried something or other. Mind you, we’re about 1/4 mile from their place, but apparently downwind.  And guess what he brought home after he took his mom back: chocolate frosted donuts!  Yay! NOT.  Why is everything she makes covered in chocolate?  WTF to that.

At first I was pissed-I felt like this stupid heifer was deliberately trying to sabotage me.  I told the hubs to just throw the shit out.  I don’t know why this woman has to keep sending these little fat pills home.  But he said to keep them, the kids could have them, like they had the cakes.  I don’t want the kids eating them either.  If I’m not going to eat them because they are DEEP FRIED and coated in chocolate, neither should they.  Anyway, I think I was too wiped out from our 5 mi. jaunt that I couldn’t form a coherent argument, so I just let it go.  For now.  *insert evil laugh here*

I was starving later that night.  I desperately wanted to chow down on something, but I didn’t think twice about the donuts.  Hey, don’t get me wrong; I love donuts. But I don’t like chocolate frosted ones.  I know, I’m such a communist.   Anyway, even though it wasn’t on my plan, I had a cheesestick and a piece of lunchmeat, and I had a few bites of DH’s bean soup.  The soup had a little rice in it, but it settled the rumbling in my tummy.  Just making full disclosure!  The thing is, I didn’t feel like I was making a bad choice, or cheating, even if I wasn’t supposed to be eating so late.  I ate a little off plan, but the world didn’t end.  I got up this morning, made my Shakeology, and in another 20 minutes, I’ll be doing my first workout.

I am finally doing it, and I couldn’t be more excited or proud of myself for sticking with it.  Three days may seem like nothing to a lot of people, but it isn’t to me.  I have committed to love myself and respect myself enough to do what I need to do.  It makes me feel strong to say no to foods I know aren’t right for me right now.  I don’t think my fitness and weight loss goals have ever been more clear or obtainable before.  I can’t wait to face the next challenge.