Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day One Hundred Four

I don't know why I didn't think of this before.   I've described how I work, right?  I set a timer on my desk for 45 minutes and when it goes off I reset it for 15 minutes and get up from my desk.  I've discovered that 15 minutes is enough time not only to get a drink or a snack but to wash a sink of dishes, fold a load of laundry, cut the veggies or make a marinade for dinner prep, clear the dog hair from the floor (if you have hard surface floors and don't have a Bona mop you need one), run the vacuum, furniture polish all the wood in the house, change sheets on a bed, wipe down a bathroom and a hundred other things.  I originally started working this way because I hurt my back sitting too long, engrossed in my work.  What I've learned is the enormous power of doing things a little at a time.  My house stays clean, I cook more, the yard looks good, and my back doesn't hurt (unless I ignore the timer for a few days in a row).  My work is also better as I stay fresh mentally and physically.  And miraculously, when I actually get up from the desk for the day I don't have to do house work, I don't feel too exhausted to cook a nice meal, I'm not wrung out.  Working in increments is my strategy for being productive.  So after thinking about procrastination yesterday I asked myself what other things I've been putting off doing.  I'm good at getting my work done, I have to answer to people for that stuff.  I am good at getting the blog written, albeit late some days, because I feel accountable here.  The things I tend to put off are the things that nobody is ever gonna call me on;
"Hey Kim, did you weed that side of the driveway and get it mulched?"
"How's the roof on that silo coming along?"
"Have you gotten all your music digitized and organized for travel yet?"
"How is the giant box of pictures/negatives/slides/homes movies doing?  Gotten it all organized yet?"
 Not gonna happen, I don't have anybody who checks up on me, my sisters all live out of town and my kids are pretty much oblivious to these tasks (although some ought to notice the silo still needs to have the roof finished and make me an offer).  So I'm going to experiment with applying the incremental approach to getting things done.  What's funny is that I've bought several books on organization over the years.  I have a friend who recommends them to me and she impresses me with how much she gets done, and with how diligently she strives to stay on top of everything.  I scan them, can't bear to read them word for word because I find my brain glazing over as the details of their process are revealed.  I have learned that applying someone else's "system" to my circumstances and with my personality doesn't work well for me.  Then I feel guilty that I spent the money on the book but didn't do their process.  So I guess this realization is the distillation of all those books and discovering for myself, by myself, what works for me.

Starting today I'm going to make a list of these kinds of jobs.  There is quite a list of things to do when you're preparing a house for sale and distilling your life into a gypsy wagon (and a small storage unit somewhere).  First thing I'm going to complete is the task of getting the side of the driveway weeded and mulched.  This particular weed is about to drop its seeds any day so there are added benefits to moving it to the top of the list - I'll dramatically reduce its population next year.  I took a trash bag out with me to let the chickens out of the coop this morning and after feeding them pulled 25 weeds and bagged them.  I figure if I do this every time I need to visit the chicken coop for any reason (3-4 times a day on a typical day) that I'll have it done in a couple of weeks and can let go of that mental real estate and move on to something else.  I'd be curious to know if anyone else does this or is willing to try this.  If so, tell me what you're tackling incrementally and how it goes!

These things are donated today, all clothing:

1.  A blue yoga top
2.  A purple hoodie - I own about 7 of these!  
3.  A blouse with a southwestern print on it
4.  A pair of khakis
5.  A lavender t-shirt

Don Vardo Plans
Gypsy Tour Map

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