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.

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Be Miserable

That’s right.  “Be miserable.  Or motivate yourself.  Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” (Wayne Dyer).

This is what I’ve been telling myself all day.  In fact, I tell myself this frequently, sort of in a “I think I can. I think I can.” kind of mantra.  When I first came across this quote, I fell in love with it.  It sort of became the seed that grew the whole “Quit Bitching, Get Fit” sapling.

 

gary the snailToday was a bit rough due to Murphy’s Law.  That bastard!  All my careful planning about trying to start my week using Covey’s matrix for extraordinary productivity, and my Monday has all but been a wash.  I was in such a fog for most of it!  I have resolved to love Mondays because it means a new beginnings and fresh effort.  Mornings, however, will still be on my shit list. I can’t help it.

You see poor Gary the Snail?  That’s how I felt this morning.  Sure, we all have those nights of tossing and turning.  And those of us with kids also know the sheer “ugh”-ness of one (or more) or your sweet dumplings having  a restless night.  And of course it has to be on the same night! Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be worth commenting on.  And of course, this is what my night was last night.

Usually, I’m down for the count within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.  Seriously.  And I sleep like the dead.  Last night, I don’t know what happened, but I tossed and turned and finally dozed off about 1 a.m., only to be awoken by my 3 year old who then crawled into our bed with a pillow, 2 stuffed dogs, and his woobie.  Then he got out of our bed, went and got his blanket and another pillow and got back in our bed.  Where he then played fish-out-of-water for about an hour until he decided to go back to his own bed.

An hour after that, I’m still lying there, wide awake, listening to my little bit talking to himself and making car noises across the hall.  Then he comes in and tells me he has to potty.  So, after a little trip to the bathroom for both of us, I lay down.  And hallelujah, my body finally gives the okay for some serious shut-eye.  But, before I did, I reset the alarms. (I hang my head in shame.)

I had figured out that I need to wake up super early if I want to have time to do what I need to do every day.  Super early being 5 a.m. I made up a little checklist of things I want to accomplish over the next three  days, along with some other odds and ends and notes for stuff.  Then, I tried to go to bed.  Maybe that was a mistake.  Maybe it was the equivalent of exam jitters, and my mind just couldn’t shut down because I was worried about sleeping through the alarm and thinking about all the stuff going on.

So, at any rate, I woke up at the usual time, had my shake, and eventually did my workout.  I also managed to get some of the other this-shit-can’t-wait-till-tomorrow off my list.  This morning, I could have just been miserable.  And in the past, in my old all-or-nothingness, I would have stayed that way, believing the whole day was lost because I couldn’t stick to my new schedule right out of the box.

I just kept repeating “Be miserable. Or get motivated” over and over again till I got the most important things done.  Even though I might have only been 20% motivated at first, it got me through the first tasks, so that by the time I finish this blog, I will have completed 4 of the six things I needed to complete today.

And I think that is just outstanding!  I will still have time later on to work on the other 2 things later this evening.  Some people may say, what’s the BFD?  And it may not be a big deal to a lot of people.  And some may be saying, well, she didn’t do the other 2 tasks.  It’s a big deal to me, though, and it’s my opinion that matters.  It’s not about what I didn’t do today, it’s what I have done today that matters most.

 

 

 

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!