November 30, 2007
Well, to say it’s been a crazy week would be an understatement. Just getting through real life was tough enough, so time for blogging was more than out of the question. I’ve wanted to write. What about, you ask? Well, I don’t have much time to delve deep, so here are three mini posts I would have blogged if I’d had time. Enjoy!
1. Why Not To Dare Monday, No Matter How Great a Week You Had Previously
Your house gets broken into. Goodbye, week. Goodbye, iPod. Hello, endless phone calls.
2. What to Do When Your Boss Gets Mad About Something Minor Because He’s Had a Stressful Week And You’ve Had the Week from Hell
Shut up at the first sign of annoyance and back slowly out of the office. Avoid total meltdown at all costs. At this point, your sanity is more important than the fact that he’s upset and working on next year’s budget. Hopefully, your work will stand for itself and he’ll remember how many times you’ve come through this year.
3. How to Avoid Being at Mandatory Evening Board Meetings When You Have To Get Up at 5 A.M. to Raise Money For Charity and Already Met at a 3-Hour Lunch the Day Before
Don’t do what I did (go, then try to duck out early) unless you to fall asleep at midnight. Do this instead: Say no. Don’t RSVP. They will have more than enough brains to brainstorm themselves into oblivion. You, however, may be in danger of losing yours.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes life and work just collide, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When this happens, it’s best to just quit worrying about the things you can’t control. Focus on what you can. Prioritize what’s important. Be responsible to do your part, and know you will get through it.
October 11, 2007
I blamed it on the business trips for a few weeks, the listless lack of focus and intense, non-stop feeling that a rush of deadlines, to-dos and priorities were weighing in too much. I thought surely I’d get over it after I’d had time to unpack, relax, and unwind. I’d find time to make those calls, to post those posts, to reply to those e-mails, to organize my closets, to start on those projects. Right?
So last weekend, all of two weeks of endless yawning sessions and incredible fatigue after the two-week travel spurt, I let myself sleep. Or more like, myself let me sleep. I went to bed at 8 p.m. Friday night. Lame right? Honestly, I haven’t been to sleep that early since I was probably 6, or maybe, possibly, after I got home from a month-long stay in Berlin.
I just fell asleep without warning or plan about an hour after I got home from a delicious, luxurious sushi dinner date with my boyfriend. We were watching some TV we’d missed that week, and all of a sudden, all I knew was it was 9 p.m. and his caring face was looking down, telling me to brush my teeth and that he was going home so he didn’t wake me up.
Then it was 10 a.m. Saturday morning, and I awoke, refreshed, ready to go. I had tons to do, felt totally rested, and had no good excuse not to do anything. So of course, I just sat around, catching up on TV, tidying my room a little. Not vacuuming or folding laundry or anything.
Then I went over to his house to watch the big game with the boyfriend and his roommates. Which meant both of us read Y the Last Man trades and back issues for three hours while everyone else watched the game. (Yep, I love comics. Bet you didn’t expect that one. Also, I despise televised football. Too little game, too much advertising. Lucky for me, the boyfriend’s not a sports on TV nut either.) Anyway, it did not mean working on my thesis research even though I took my laptop. I decided that doing nothing on my to do list for just one day would be a good way to reset, to just have a day where I didn’t have any big expectations for myself. So, I relaxed, ate really delicious, unhealthy sausage queso (the boy frat house that could kill you variety), just lived a little.
It was nice.
So of course, I expected Monday to roll around and for me to just feel ready to go, for the to-dos at work and on the personal list to start flying off my list. I had hit the reset button, after all, right? Instead, Monday morning hit me with panic. I hadn’t done ANYTHING this weekend, and I was going to pay for it. I nearly had a panic attack in the shower, thinking about one specific detail I hadn’t followed up on for an event I’m planning. Then of course, Monday and Tuesday were full of meetings. I probably sat at my desk an hour and a half each day. So those hours were useless, spent trying to figure out where to spend the little time I had. It was getting even worse. More out of control than before. Time was against me, no matter how hard I tried.
Then this morning, the electricity went out in my bathroom. And I had the brilliant idea I needed to reset the electric outlet, like that would do something, like when your dryer doesn’t come on the first time. So, I pushed it. Of course, the electricity didn’t come back on, because my dryer wasn’t the problem. The lights flickered a few times in the house, so I finally figured out it wasn’t just my bathroom, and that there must be some sort of brownout in the area. So of course, hitting a little reset button on the wall was a lame way to try to try to fix it.
So I started thinking, maybe that’s why my Saturday didn’t exactly reset me the way I needed it too, even though I really needed it to. Could it be it was really a lame attempt to fix a much bigger issue? I’m considering it. Because while I’m glad I was able to take some time to chill, I also really need to take some time to remind myself exactly what I think about time management, getting things done, and multitasking. Because when I’m working, I need to be able to work. That way I can really relax when I try, and maybe, somehow, find some balance in the process instead of feeling like both work and life are overwhelming me all the time.
But I have to tell you, I really, really wish sometimes there was just a reset button that I could push to start that day over, to recharge my energies and priorities, force me into focus. You know what I mean?
July 20, 2007
In my continual quest to get more things done, I love using and sharing new tools that help me do it. Here are some links to a few great tools I really enjoy.
1. TaDa Lists. Thanks to Bryan Person for this tip. Access, write and share to-do lists at this site from the wonderful people at 37signals. You can even get an RSS feed to lists if you share them and want updates. Simple, easy and free.
2. Backpack. I discovered this when I visited TaDa Lists. It’s to do lists and more. You can make up to five pages for free and post notes, links, to-do lists and other cool things there. You can pay to access more capabilities. This is a great place to capture all my blog post ideas so I don’t have to e-mail them to myself or log into my account and write drafts or quick ideas I want to elaborate on later. It’s a true lifesaver so far. Plus, with a name like Backpack, I can’t stop talking it.
3. Jott. A really cool site that lets you set up a free account so you can call a toll-free number and get your short message transcribed and e-mailed – to yourself or other people. Great for the blog-post-strikes-during-the-commute moments.
4. Five Sentences. An initiative to limit e-mails to a max of five sentences to help everyone you communicate with have more time to get things done. This one will be tough for me, because I’m a talker, but it will be a great challenge! Read more on LifeHacker’s post about this tool.
5. Google tools. What can I say. There are lots of great applications that are shareable, searchable, and available anywhere I can get online. I love gmail, Google docs, Google calendars and all the great tools they offer. If I didn’t have Outlook at work, I’d probably use them even more.
I’m sure these aren’t the only cool, easy-to-use tools that help us organize our busy, wired lives. Let me know what you think I missed in the comments below!