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Home Alone [Nov. 20th, 2010|03:10 pm]
Yes, home alone. All day. With no outside demands. I will spare you the near sleepless night I suffered, tossing and turning, weighing options and plans and schedules.

Do I GO someplace I haven't had the time to and the Captain really wouldn't want to...do I wallow in sloth and self-indulgence? (Yeah, right. When they invent a medication that will MAKE me do that and enjoy it guilt-free...) Shopping? Reading books? Cleaning house? Catching up on the ten million projects and...

Thankfully, I suffered through a couple of time management/project management classes this past year (no really, suffered. More than ten minutes of the same person talking and I get all narcoleptic. And not just in a eye-lid droopy, head bob kind of way. When I fall asleep sitting up, I like to snap myself back awake with a big "SNORK!". Ah, yes, the Subtle. I don't have ANY. I don't fall asleep during group exercises, because the eye-rolling doesn't give my eye lids time to rest; they're too busy concentrating on keeping said eyeballs in my head...and I have to concentrate very hard in order to keep myself from saying "Oh, for expletive's sake, you're some special kind of an idiot." to my fellow group members.)

But still I do always manage to snag at least one helpful hint/technique and that makes it all worth it. Okay, plus I have a 20 hour a year training requirement to be met.

And I have learned to evaluate tasks -- is there a hard deadline to be met, is this a critical control point task, in other words, is the completion of any given task necessary in order for another one to happen, obviously you have to do these first. Then there are the things that you need to keep making regular progress on and the things that don't have a deadline, but are not going to go away. Then the things that you can ignore to a certain extent -- that you have 5000 e-mails in your inbox, which slows you down when you need to find stuff and increases the risk that you'll forget something -- but eventually need to chip away at because at some point: CRITICAL MASS. And then there are the things that don't HAVE to be done, but make you happy or bring you fulfillment. or may not pay off now, but will down the road or just bring you joy.

And the plan is -- yes, you have to handle the showstoppers...but you also need to allot a certain amount of time in any give day to all of the others as well. And the things that bring you joy -- let that be your reward fo accomplishing the others. WHEN I get this presentation done, I get to spend 30 minutes researching the viability of landfill mining.

And then you take all of tasks listed under each category and rank them. You have to take into account deadlines, resources you need to accomplish it, and other crucial factors. Look at chore 1 and chore 2. Which one is more vital to do first? Chore 1? Put an "x" next to chore 1. Compare Chore 1 to Chore 3. Put an "x" next to the one that needs to be done first. Compare Chore 1 to Chore 4...repeat until you've matched Chore 1 to all the Chores on the list. Then match Chore 2 to Chore 3, put an "x" next to the most important one. then compare 2 to 4 and so on down the list.

If you're compulsive and have actually been mentally or physically mapping this out, you will see that once you've compared all of the chores on your list to each other, one of them will have more x's than the others. That's the one you do first.

Holy expletive, I heard your eyes rolling from here! Sorry, but if you always have more to do than you can possibly accomplish and you find it hard to think when you're buried in screaming deadlines and staring at a list of 20 things that all have to happen RIGHT NOW...looking at the entire list is daunting, headdesking, overwhelming to the point of tears. Comparing two at a time and not worrying about any of the others...easy. Takes the weight off. Not that I do a list with "x's" much...it's just a mental exercise, you literal expletive.

So, when I found myself hyperventilating instead of sleeping....

I settled on a heady mixture of a thing that HAS to be done due to an externally imposed deadline: winterizing the garden pots. Because sooner rather than later, the freeze will be HARD and there will be nothing left but cracked pots. So all of the remaining mint and parsley have been chopped down to nubbins, and their pots, along with the thyme and lavender, are moved into the front garden, against the house, where they should stay warm enough to winter over. The scented geraniums cut back and the pots moved to the basement, along with the bay tree pot. Hopefully they will send me postcards from time to time to ensure that I remember a once a month watering.

Which ranked #1 in things that need to be done first -- deadline of the frost, needs to be done in daylight when weather is reasonable (which is why it beat out clean up slumhole of bedroom, raving disaster of office). Plus, only AFTER that was accomplished, could I use the cuttings to make mint butter and rose geranium syrup. I also went to the farmer's market and the hardware store -- because I needed a new paint roller in order to paint the bathroom, which is not hugely important, but has been on my list of things to do for so long, that it's damn near earned a lifetime achievement award. And it is a chore that will make me happy.

Plus, the paint was in the dining room. And as I'm near to the post-Halloween dining room cleaning, I remember that LAST year I bought paint to paint the bathroom. And when I ran out of time to do it before Halloween, I put it in the dining room. And when we cleaned out the dining room, the paint went....damned if either one of us can figure out. So I finally broke down in August and bought more paint...which is sitting in the dining room.

I am NOT going to do this again. So, painting the dining room is the late afternoon chore. Followed by the self-indulgence of a lovely ribeye steak, a bottle of wine and complete control of television channel choice. Or simply finishing my book. I'm going to live dangerously and play it by ear.

Right now, I'm writing, which both makes me happy and --- I've discovered, is necessary to bleed off pressure. The last seven personal e-mails I've sent have gone on and on and on and wandered off topic as they frolicked in waves of unnecessary metaphors. I need to save my friends and family from this and get it all exorcised here. Which explains the next post. Which you probably will have read first. And thought "What the....?"

But now you know. I'm like the boiler in the Overlook Hotel. You've got to bleed off the pressure, or the whole thing blows up.

[User Picture]From: sestree
2010-11-20 08:31 pm (UTC)
Weird stuff - time management never worked for me. I'm the oddity. It actually makes it worse. I guess it's because I'm continually planning and evaluating priorities in my head all the time. Or maybe it's my very organized disorganization that even the best can't quite figure out and simply say "ok you find it Stephanie". Then again I can lay my hands on any piece of paper in my office in less than 5 minutes (which since I haven't filed since July that says a LOT) so they leave me alone to my own little chaotic corner and only enter my lair after arming with mace and a dustpan.

Paint? I'd rather bleed myself with leeches. I'm cheap but I'm also lazy - if I can't hire it done, it stays the ugly shade it is right now ;)
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