The Sometimes Unspoken…..

Words of another single full time working, student & parent

Posts Tagged ‘goals

Sometimes it Takes a Moment….a Dance with Productivity

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I have been on a search the last six months to find productivity skill sets.  I know, many of my friends are reading this and rolling their eyes.  Not because they feel that I am lazy, but because they have accused me of being a chronic workaholic.  I will take on more than I should or that I am truly capable of doing.  I do that habitually.  Many of my friends would not accuse me of lacking or needing productivity skills.

It is almost like parenting to me.  I am a parent.  It is a huge part of my life, in fact, is my life.  I can not run away, hide or escape the role of being a parent.  That does not make me an expert at parenting.  I love to discover new tips and skill sets that I can stick in my tool box for use.  I constantly research parenting at different age ranges, but mostly for the ages of my children.  If something isn’t working, I need to find something that does.  As a parent, there is one choice and that is to deal with whatever issues and matters that present themselves to me.

The same is for productivity.  I do many things.  I have lots of projects going on besides work and school.  There are many demands on my time.  Productivity is important to me and though I may exercise skills in it daily, I honestly can do better.  I strive to do so.  It is not easy to have a job where everything is critical and an A priority.  Staying on the Dean’s list is not a simple task either.  Toss in a family life and things can get down right interesting if each has something critical going on at the same time.

A good example:  A child gets too ill to care for themselves, work has a critical project that has to be done that same day and there is an exam that you must take that night.  If you miss the exam it is a zero, there is usually no retakes.  The project has to be completed, there is no choice and the child has to be tended to.  Just a little stressful, but I am not complaining.  But it is days like that, it is good to have some tools in your tool belt that can help walk you through how to handle each situation.

There have been many books read while on this search.  The most recent that I have completed is Getting Things Done by David Allen.  This book was interesting and had many a tip that would make a productivity mongrel drool.  For what I have going on, the starting technique is not realistic.  I just can not take a day or two and go through everything, making piles and lists, calendaring, etc.  If I were an executive, that would be an option.  The reality is, Mr. Allen addresses and consults executives, therefore his approach is geared towards executives.

Yet, there are some cool things in this book.  I will be referring back to it over the next year as I get portions of it in to my habit zone.  Right now, I have grabbed my work email and created two main folders @Action and @WaitingFor.  @Action has sub folders that pertain to my job tasks.  Instead of having to search the hundreds of emails that need to have something done, I can group the tasks that I am working on and do them at the same time.  It has allowed me to get more done faster.  It also allows me to keep emails out of my Inbox, which has always stressed me out.  My old method was to simply let undone emails sit in my inbox and I would file them away as I completed the tasks they requested.  This is fine if you get fifteen or so a day.  I get hundreds a day.

Sometimes it just takes a moment to realize a times savings.  This technique alone has saved me approximately a full hour each day.  I am not searching for things and jumping from very different tasks.  Grouped tasks get done faster because your brain is already processing in that specific mode.  Every time you change the base task, it requires some study and processing time.

I am now currently digging through Boundaries and Brain Rules for additional techniques.  One for better abilities in dealing with others as they drain away time from my work day (known as the “J” time in the Administrative field) and the other for better abilities to learn, assimilate and process information faster.

I have even pulled a nugget from a recent interview.  I was invited to participate in a Doctorate students study for their dissertation regarding Veterans and their transitioning from the military to school.  We were given a web form of some basic questions to answer.  Some of my answers were on the snarky side.  That snarky is why she chose me as one of the veterans to interview.  While doing the interview and chit chatting, she had posed the question “How do you balance work, school and family?”  I had to think about it for a moment and I realized that I didn’t.  My response was, “I don’t balance them.  I do not even try to balance them.  I do not plan them out.  I do notate events and things on my calendar that are important because I have to deal with them in some fashion, but the reality is…..some days there is no way to balance everything.  It is like labor.  At that moment, the baby is coming.  It does not matter what is going on in other segments of life.  The baby is coming and coming now.  You deal with it.  I deal with each thing as it comes because many aspects to work, school and family simply are unplanned, unexpected and quite frankly have very good (or bad) timing.  You just have to take it in the moment and run with it.”

Sometimes it just takes a moment.  In a moment life is changed.  No matter how productive, how many skill sets we have or don’t have, what position we are in or where we are, life happens.  Our brains do not multi task.  It is a proven fact.  This is why talking on the phone while driving does not work well.  Sometimes it takes a moment and our focus is changed and in that we have a dance with productivity.  We have to just go with it.  The best laid plans are disrupted, the calendar changed and we are dealing with the labor of a new baby arriving in the moment.




Written by neomav

November 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Running in a Closet

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There are days where I feel like I am running in a closet.  A closed in, suffocated, endless run in the darkness.  It is stiff ling and feels like it leads no where.  Actually, it does not lead anywhere at all.  Its a long run in a closet!

This feeling comes when I find myself hiding within.  Rather then share what I am thinking, what the goals I have are or even in some cases who I am, I hide.  I am an expert at this.  I can hide right in front of people and avoid being seen.  Good ole army training!

Seriously, I notice that I am hiding myself and have to at points wonder why.  I know that I hate being criticized tremendously.  It takes a huge toll on me personally.  In fact, I tend to internalize those types of things.  I know that is related to relationships in the past and truly, it is time to let those things go.

I work hard at trying not to take that long run in the closet.  Some days its just harder than others.  It makes me daydream for old friends, that never let me near the closet door.  One such friend had an oxygen addiction.  Anytime we were outside she was the giddiest person I had ever known.  We could make anything pleasurable.  I think the two of us together were just so strong willed and determined that we reinforced the positiveness of life.  Even if we did not want it.

I think back to those experiences and usually it is enough to get me out of the closet.  Yet, lately, I think the closet is not so bad if I just stand.  Boring!  Standing is boring!  I want to move.  I want to run.  I want to do things and to share.

So what to do when you find yourself running in the closet…..?

Simple open the door and head for the light.  Share something quick.  Even a small thing.  Dare to daydream about where you want to be.  It does not have to be realistic, just dream it.

Write it down and look for the points.  Why do I like this?  What is appealing about it?  Hidden within are keys that can gain you momentum outside of the closet.  Now you can have the run of a whole room!  Eventually, you can get outside and run amuck in the world.

The point is, start where you are at.  Start small.  Do not have the great expectations.  In fact, check expectations at the door on your way out.  Go beyond.  One small step at a time.  Rinse, wash and repeat!

Written by neomav

November 17, 2011 at 12:51 am

Enter Empowered!

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Sometimes we just loose our way.  We are busy chasing the dream or running from the dream chasing us ~ no matter which it is, we still found ourselves somehow off course.  My mind thinks, “I could have sworn I was on a road.  What is with all these trees?”

After having quite a bit of time away, to myself and mostly offline, I realized I was sitting in the middle of the forest frolicking with the forest creatures, enjoying my time and loosing track of my priorities.  I can’t say that I was ever totally lost.  Just a little misplaced from time to time.  Nevertheless it was still in the midst of a forest and I was an adult form of Alice in Wonderland.  Still am, actually.

I have to say that life has been giving me a pounding for a good solid four to five months so far.  Someone sped life up and I was on overload.  Too much information to absorb and too many things, people and tasks to pay attention to.  To be honest, I was feeling a bit trampled.

I think sometimes it is necessary for each of us to do the unthinkable and stray from the status quo of the day.  I have friends in various groups: my Christian friends, my Goth friends, my Second Life buddies, my virtual world hopping crowd, my internet pals and so much more.  Each group is a bond to people through an interest, a lifestyle choice or something in common.  After a while, it just seems to be too much too fast.

I have always been afraid of just shutting down, yet I am no stranger to running away if I have to.  I am really good at running away and hiding when the need happens to appear.  I suppose talking to my friends would be the societal choice.  In some cases, maybe so.  But I have learned that at the end of the day, one has to contemplate over life and determine what is true and what is not.  We need to measure things by whatever standard we have chosen and see where we are sitting to figure out what to do and where to go next.

I am visual.  I have been ignoring that aspect of myself for quite some time.  I am also physical.  I can learn things rapidly because of these two things.  I think in pictures and my body memorizes movement incredibly well, even at this mid age.  We had an awesome sermon given at our church this past Sunday.  It was simple, but yet, it was empowering.

There are days where we go back to the basics, other days we wipe the slate off and start clean, but this was different and exciting.  It was not about either, but both were a part of the resolution.  Rather it is where is your center.  What is your life based upon?  What principles or precepts do you engage or practice?  What obstacles are in the way?  Most importantly, what relationships are in the way.

It was foundational – reminding me of the book on boundaries.  I have to pull that out so I can properly reference it.  Another to do a bit later.  I am writing off the cuff while waiting for class to start.

We have measures of time, pressures of space and stress in our lives.  Yet most are self created.  We choose our relationships, what we will spend our time doing and how we will accomplish things, or not.  What we choose not to do is just as important as what we choose to do.  Thus, where we center our lives has a dramatic impact on our everyday.

Enter empowered!  Just these little tidbits of knowledge empower us to create, to change and to address issues in our lives.  God centered, me centered or money centered……choices.  What are the consequences and what is it that I truly desire?  When riches fail and money no longer fulfills, what next?

God gave us the choice of where we place our hearts, what we do with our time and how we do things.  The only catch is that one has to bare the consequences of ones choices.  A hard life can be where we started, but it does not have to be where we end.  Living proof.

Have to run….will write more soon!

Written by neomav

October 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

The Question/Request

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I have a reader that requested me to do a step by step showing how I do my goal setting before moving onto other things.  After thinking abut it, I believe that she is right – it does need examples to give everyone ideas.  I had originally thought, “No problem! I can just write a post using my examples.”

As I started writing, I realized that this is going to best be done with some visuals.  Sooooo, later on tonight I will be creating those visuals and before the end of the weekend I will post the step by step walk through on how I do goal setting.

I use a simple tool that I created, which I will make available, with a few conditions.  LOL!

More later! 😀

Written by neomav

August 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

Step 1: The Calendar ~ Part A: Goals

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So here we are working on today’s task of establishing Goals.  For many this may seem like a daunting task.  It can be difficult at times.  Here are the guidelines I typically follow when establishing goals for myself.  (Warning, I sometimes am guilty of not following these guidelines).

  • Picture where I will be in one year, five years and ten years.  Don’t be afraid to dream big and don’t be afraid to have different ambitions then what you previously listed.  Time changes things.  Time changes us.
  • Compare the one, five and ten year views and determine if they are steps towards a common goal or if they are unrelated.  They are usually related, but I have experienced times when they are not.  There are no right or wrong answers here.
  • Take a moment and pray.  Allow yourself to be inspired by reading scripture, singing praise or worship songs or simply from prayer itself.  Do not be afraid to ask for what you desire or for a confirmation of the views you pictured.
  • For each of the viewpoints, list out all of the steps that you know you will need to take in order to see that viewpoint manifest.  If you do not know, mark it as needs research.  You will find that you will know some of the steps, but may need to research other steps.  Each viewpoint can have a combination of these or be all one or the other.
  • List the items around you that you need to deal with, but never have the time.  Things like replace the carpet, organize all of my books or redecorate a specific room would apply here.  These are just ideas.  They can really be just about anything.  Sometimes its teach a child a specific concept or for you to learn a specific skill.
  • Now the work begins:  Take three of the “Need to deal with” items and write out any steps they may have just like we did for the viewpoints.  Things to ask are:  a) Do any of the steps have a cost associated with them and if so what is a rough estimate?  b) Do you need to save the money to do it or do you have the money available?  c) What tools, supplies or other items are required and do you have any of them?  d) Is there a best time to do this item?  For instance, sealing a driveway can not be done effectively in the middle of the winter.  e) When are you willing to commit to completing each of the steps.  f) Do any steps interfere with another item or do they overlap with another item?  A good example here might be replacing the flooring in the bathroom and replacing the sink and toilet.  The flooring would best be done when you have the toilet and sink removed.  There is an overlap here that can save you time and money.
  • Finally, on a new sheet of paper, write down only three tasks from the previous list and place an accomplish by date.  Be reasonable.  Do not expect everything to be done in a month.  It is okay if it takes a year.  What is important are the small everyday steps.  Sometimes the small step is the $10 put into a savings account to save to accomplish the final item.  Add in two of the steps from the viewpoint listing you created.  Yes, only two.  Set a time frame near each of those.
  • Viola! You have a working Goal Sheet that specifically details out five tasks you plan to get done by a specific date.  Double check the dates and make sure they are realistic.

You might presume you are done, but sorry!!!!  Take out that calendar.  Write micro tasks on the calendar and schedule in those goals.  Everyday is an opportunity to work toward the accomplishment of something.  Do one small thing a day.  Forget trying to overwhelm yourself and forget having a contest with the world.  This is not about the world.  This is about your adventures while you are in the world and how your actions or in-actions impact everyday.

Now I am off to do just that and I will update the Goals listed on this blog, which I will periodically update.  Feel free to twitter me or write me about what you have planned.  I would love to hear.  And yes, you can hold me accountable to what I have written.  I need that and would love that support as well.  😀

Until next time….

Written by neomav

August 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

The Fifth Day ~ Week One

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Thursday was another long day.  Work, then two classes and really no time to eat in between.  I really was rather distracted most of the day.  Little focus and little breathing.

I drank a wee bit of water.  Intended on bringing tea with me to work and left it on the table instead.  :/  Needless to say, I did not drink the tea.

I did go exercise at the club.  The owner was telling me that it is dead Thursday morning because everyone goes to the Zumba class at night.  This is good for me.  😀 I am not into the crowds.  I like the direct attention and being able to work it without the crowd complex going on around me.

So, what we have learned this week so far is that I am resistant to tea, slowly increasing the water intake, forget to breathe on a regular basis, but by golly we have the exercise thing down!  LOL!  And the plant…its still alive, although, it does need me to water it today.

Written by neomav

April 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm

The Fourth Day ~ Week One

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Wednesday, I was exhausted!  Our Photojournalism Professor kept us late in class to go over a test and to do photo critiques of our action photographs we had to take recently.  It was fun, but it was long.  Okay – let’s restate that.  The critique of the photographs was fun.  The review on the test was not so much. He put a trick question on the test and the test only had three questions.  He used the test to determine if we were doing the assigned reading and the test proved that 95% of the class was not doing the assigned reading.  L

Needless to say, that meant getting home after 11 p.m. and trying to wind down, do a few things and go to bed.  By time I went to sleep it was closing on the midnight hour.  I did not get up to go to the club for my workout.  The alarm in my phone yelled.  I hit the button and it immediately fell quiet.  Back to sleep I went.

I did manage to get the water in!  Yay!  Again, no tea though.  Not sure what the tea block is with me. I used to drink it all the time two years ago.  O.o

Breathing was not even a concept in my mind.  No breathing and we have migrated past the half way mark.  Still, the effort and progress this week was much better than the first try.  I can’t be to terribly upset about it.

Written by neomav

April 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm

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