Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2009

I hab a colb

A bad one. The last few days have been pretty much a wash. I can’t believe I have to start teaching again on Monday. More soon.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Before: The Bookcase of Doom

Before: The Bookcase of Doom

 

More images from the Bookcase of Doom

Another Image from the Bookcase of Doom

In Process

In Process

 

 

After (for now)

After (for now)

 

close up of "After"

close up of "After"

Our living room bookcase was a total disaster (you may recognize it – we got it at a popular Swedish home store). It went from being a nice adult showcase of our offbeat taste in music, art and literature to a combination of toy repository -slash- dumping ground for anything we don’t want Buddy to touch. So the other day I committed to cleaning up the bookcase as well as doing a major toy purge in our living room.  Buddy has SO many toys and he only plays with a fraction of them. Cleaning up is a major chore and we often left the room a mess for days. Since we live in a TINY house (more on that in future posts) and the living room is our, well, living room as well as our play room, art room and often our dining room.

The result of all this purging is that my office is basically a receptacle for junk at the moment, but it is worth it because the living room is so much easier to keep neat now and Buddy really seems to like it. The bookshelf is still a work in progress – SG has plans for a better stereo set up which will hopefully take care of all the ugly wires that you see, and I have plans for more clear containers for craft supplies and so forth. I have also tried to apply the Organized Homemaker’s tips on grouping – now all of Buddy’s books are in the same place, as is our liquor and wine (so everyone is happy).

Read Full Post »

I haven’t had any time to sit down to write about my next steps in following the program in Confessions of an Organized Homemaker but I have been busy continuing to declutter and to apply her next “Basic Organizing Principle”: GROUP. 

A few excerpts:

Whenever practical, group and store like items together…The main purpose of grouping is to give everything in your home a well-defined place. If you have a family, this is paramount! Without well-defined, specific places for everything, your family will only have a vague idea of where things belong. They will put things back haphazardly, and you’ll have to look for them when you need them…Have you noticed what a mess people can make when thy’re looking for something? Giving things a well-defined place makes it possible to find things before they are in disarray.

This is SUCH a huge problem for us. SG is the KING of picking things up and using them and then just putting them down again wherever when he is done. And I do it too (although not as much). He is constantly asking me where stuff is (it drives me nuts) and we are both constantly pawing through piles of clothing and boxes of toys and so forth, looking for things. 

So in addition to decluttering, I am going to try to think about grouping and keeping the idea of “well-defined, well-confined” in mind for the next week.

Read Full Post »

 

Nana's Castle

Nana's Castle

We’ve been at Nana and Pappa’s (my parents) for the last few days. It is a great place to be a kid – particularly a grandkid – great toys, an art table, play doh galore and lots of doting attention. Check out the castle sitting on the niche in front of the big picture window!  Now that’s hard to beat.

Plus Buddy got to hang out with his cousins (my nieces) Belle and Zippy (ages 7 and 3 respectively). But there is no internet there and with all the toddler wrangling I had no time to get anything done, so I just tried to relax for a few days and relish the fact that I decided at the last minute NOT to attend the big academic conference in my field this year. I just couldn’t deal with it – especially after both those interviews and then not getting either job. I didn’t want to be away from Buddy that long and I have some time off this week so I need to get ready for teaching and get some writing done on the next chapter. So I unplugged for a few days and just played with the kids and hung out with my parents. SuperGuy enjoyed it too, although his cat allergies make being around my parent’s Persian an ordeal. 

Now we are home and we continue to celebrate Buddy’s second birthday (it’s a week-long celebration). This morning we did all the stuff he likes. We went up to the cupcake place and sat in the kiddy chairs and shared a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting and drank water. Then we went over to a local fountain and threw pennies in it. At which point we needed some milk so we walked over to the grocery store and let him push around one of the toy-carts they so thoughtfully provide. Despite his tendency to ram into things (both accidently and on purpose), no cases of wine were destroyed. Finally we went down to the dock and had fish and chips (which is something we do together every other week or so). Now we are home and he is exhausted and sleeping and I think that I’m going to treat myself to a nap as well.

Read Full Post »

dream home library and office

dream home library and office

Read Full Post »

This week I am still on DISCIPLINE (and likely will be for a few more weeks) and so let’s turn to the next quiz question:

I’m good at controlling perfectionism, realizing that some things are good enough.

Actually, I am pretty good at controlling perfectionism. My advisor thinks that I have a problem in this area and that I tend to overwrite and overthink everything. But I think that the core issue is really procrastination and a difficulty with follow-through – I have problems finishing what I started.

I think that the reason for that (the procrastination) is a combination of fear of failure and fear of success. Now I know it sounds crazy that I would be both at the same time, but at heart I am afraid of change. But it is clear that I have screwed myself in some ways as a result – the research was done 3.5 years ago and I could be finished and employed by now. And now I will be on the job market (after an unsuccessful attempt this year) in the worst year in recent history for getting a job, let alone an academic job. So I have issues. But perfectionism isn’t one of them. So on to the next question:

I avoid putting things off or waiting until the last minute.

Yeah. I gave myself a 1 on this one (1-5 with 5 being totally agree) so, as noted above, I clearly have a major problem with procrastination. 

She points out that it doesn’t matter if you check off 9 of your 10 tasks on your To Do list, if the 10th is the one that really matters. She writes:

Your work as an employee will consistently outpace your coworkers’ work if  you spend your time focusing on the critical few tasks that lead to the highest performance, value, and output.

That sounds a bit dog-eat-dog but I sort of appreciate the ruthlessness implied. No silly Men-in-Black “to be the best of the best of the best, SIR” mission statements for her. Let’s rewrite that for the “almost finished” Ph.D. and job candidate:

Your attractiveness as a job candidate will consistently outshine other candidates’  attractiveness if  you spend your time focusing on the critical few tasks that lead to the highest performance, value, and output. 

In other words: FINISH the damn DISS and get some articles out for publication!

I think that the following mantra sums it up:

My (Brain) Work Must Come First

I should probably have that tattooed – backwards, so I can see it in the mirror – on my forehead.

She then has tips for specific issues:

Is the task overwhelming?

Umm, yeah. So she recommends breaking it into smaller pieces. Tried it, doesn’t really work for me – the big project still looms and stuns me into paralysis. 

Is the task distasteful?

Well, yes, in the sense that it is so daunting and overwhelming and soooo much is at stake. She recommends that you schedule a five minute work session with yourself, but that you have to sit down and work for those five minutes. Good advice, as I mentioned before, once I get started it is fairly easy for me to keep going.

Is the task trivial?

No.

And finally:

Is there no accountability in completing the task?

Well, that used to be the case, but it is getting embarrassing at this point. Plus I have missed so many self-imposed deadlines that my advisor has sort of lost the faith. She was, to say the least, pleasantly surprised to receive my introduction today. So I have new deadlines and here they are for all the world to see (if anybody cares to look):

  • Chapter 4 to advisor – April 11
  • Chapter 5 to advisor – May 4

Yikes! That is going to be tough. But I am resolute. Once those two chapters are in, we will talk further deadlines.

So what is my task for this week? I need to work at least one hour every single day on the dissertation.  Of course will aim to spend many more hours per day, especially since I have the week off, but I will only commit myself to one hour per day. I need to finish grading and prepare for teaching but I will make sure that I will not let that overwhelm my life or even one single day. Instead, My Work Will Come First.

Read Full Post »

Book One: Leave the Office Earlier

The TaskWrite first thing in the morning (after dropping Buddy at daycare).

EvaluationTwo out of four days isn’t bad. On Wednesday I did end up writing for a good chunk of the day, so I’ll give myself credit for upholding the spirit if not the letter of the law. On Thursday I had that interview for the adjunct in the morning and was in a tired funk in the afternoon and took a nap so I fell down both in the spirit and in letter.On Monday and Friday I did work first thing in the morning and got a lot done on both days. And I turned in the introduction so I have a real and tangible result for all my work. Which feels good. But kind of scary.

Further Thoughts: Even though I wasn’t quite up to getting started first thing in the morning everyday, the important thing I gleaned from this mini-experiment is that it is the getting started that is the hardest part for me. Once I am writing, I can keep writing. Sometimes I even want to keep writing. But I dread writing and I allow myself too many get out of jail free cards. Sometimes the answer is to be harder on yourself, not easier.

——————————————————————–

Book Two: Confessions of an Organized Housewife

The Task: Do some decluttering, based on her discard/sort system and some of the variations.

Evaluation: I haven’t made much more progress on this front this week. I think that decluttering is an ongoing project that will probably not be done for a long time for us (I am going to say that it will get done some day). As a follow-up I’m going to set a specific goal for this week, which is to sort through the linen closet and the bathroom drawers.

Further Thoughts: I am trying to keep the overall message in mind, even if I don’t have a ton of time to actually implement everything. And that message is that being organized means more time to do the things you want to do and love doing.  Also, it is an ongoing, incremental process. I always want to wave a magic wand and have a completely organized (and clean) house. Not going to happen, and certainly not overnight.

——————————————————————–

Book Three: Collect Raindrops

The Task: Keep a eating journal, be more aware of what I eat, talk to SG about a CSA.

Evaluation: Like the decluttering, changing eating habits takes time. I did keep a food journal and had some more successful days and some less successful days. I also did two shopping trips without Buddy, which was much better, I took more time to think  about what we needed (and was able to use my list without little hands grabbing at it) and still got out in less time then when I take him with me. And SG is excited about the CSA so I just have to remember to follow-up.

Further Thoughts: I will try to keep up the food journal for another two weeks and then review it to identify any sticking points.

Now on to week two!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »