Posted in Happiness Project

Not Exactly Listless

After Bubba ate his muffin and sipped his morning Coke Zero™, I asked him (because you don’t ask Bubba anything before he’s had some sugar and caffeine), “What are your plans for today?”

Bubba:  I have a LOT to do.  I have to check on reservations for my buddy’s bachelor party, get snacks like pretzels and chips, I have to check in at the gym, and I have to buy a whole ton of stuff . . . (his voice drifted off, gazing, as if reading his to-do list from the ceiling)

Me:  Okay.  Because all I really have on my list is to go to the grocery store and do some self-reflection.

Bubba:  You gonna go look in the mirror?

I don’t think I’ve really spelled out what a compulsive-obsessive list-maker I am.  I have as many lists as ways of accumulating them.  I use Springpad, Out Of Milk, Mindjet Maps, FlyLady, ColorNote, DroidDia, Netflix, Habit Goal Monitor, Pinterest and good old fashioned pen to paper.  This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the different lists and gadgets I have for listing out ways to eat and exercise.

All my life I’ve looked for formulas to life.  Everyone has one to sell, read, download or listen to, and if I could only find the one that works for me, life would be simple, right?

Lists found from a brief walk around my house.  Not a reenactment.
Lists found from a brief walk around my house.
(Not a reenactment)

An article titled The art of list-making by BBC News mentions compulsive list-making.  I couldn’t have written it better myself, and so to truly understand my thought process, you must read the following:

There are several stages to writing a list.

First there is the gentle thrill of anticipation as I contemplate the pristine paper in front of me. I may not yet have a subject for my list, but just the thought of one gives me a sense of purpose.

Second there is the light-headed buzz that gradually develops into bliss, euphoria and an all-consuming calm.

Third comes the extraordinary sense of satisfaction from having created a rigid timetable of impossible tasks that has taken a disproportionate amount of time and thought.

It doesn’t matter that I will never look at it again.

Psychologists say that obsessive compulsive list makers (I guess that includes me) are trying to create an illusion of control in otherwise chaotic lives.

Eero Saarinen
Design genius Eero Saarinen’s to-do list included changing light bulbs

My compulsion has now been spoken aloud.  It does get worse at times of hormonal mutiny.  Following or falling off of my plans can also coincide with hormonal uprising.  With this in mind, you must now know that I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  This is list-making on a grand scale.  Caution must be exerted along the way.

It is The Happiness Project that inspired my Best Practices page, which is indeed a list I have collected through life experience.  Gretchen calls them Commandments and Secrets to Adulthood.  Not being a religious fan, commandments sounded too . . well . . religious, but also restrictive.  Once I renamed it Best Practices, I had a hard time sorting the secrets to adulthood from the best practices, so I joined them into one list.  Gretchen is very reassuring about making this project your own and to be honest, I need less lists not more.

So far, so good.  My Best Practices list is a list of things I already, for the most part, do.  It is good to have a list of actions to remind myself to keep doing, celebrate that I am the kind of person who behaves this way, and (because I am a good mother) nag my kids to do.

There will be more posts about my journey, but as you know (or will know if you just tuned in), I meander through life.  Since my blog follows me wherever I go, so too will you, my reader.  There is much of life to explore!  More lists to make, more food to taste, more vegetables to grow, more sorry excuses about which to rant!  So this isn’t going a straight line from beginning to the end of this book.

I subscribed to Gretchen’s newsletter, “liked” her on Facebook, and followed her on Twitter.  I downloaded the e-book, then forgot I did, so I bought it as an audio-book.  And as I listened, I really wished I had a hard copy so I could highlight various excerpts, so . . . you guessed it . . . I ordered a hard copy.  So much for my How-To-Be-A-Minimalist list.

I’m seriously afraid she’s going to take out a restraining order.

Peace . . .

Posted in Awards

10 Easy Steps To End Award Procrastination

alan-smithee-award1
One of my prestigious awards

Once again, I have been the lucky recipient of some quite prestigious awards.

Did I say luck?  Luck has nothing to do with it.  You are looking at bona fide skill, here.  I like to equate the blogging awards to Pokemon cards.  I never did understand what the kids did with Pokemon Cards.  I do, however, appreciate these blogging awards and display them prominently HERE.

I have been procrastinating accepting my awards.  It’s a little like homework, and I procrastinated at that too.  Just ask my teachers.  Wait.  They are probably all old and senile, or worse . . .

Anyway, today is the day.  I have three awards to dig myself out from under.  It occurred to me that it might be helpful to document my story for others who find they are in the same predicament.  You, too, can end Award Procrastination

  1. Catch up on all new posts in your Reader.  You need to be current on all new content from anyone you follow.  Imagine the embarrassment of posting a link to Willy Week without realizing it ended on Friday, November 30th!
  2. Check out your notifications and reply to all of them.  This ensures a full house cleaning, making sure there are no awards lurking in the corners or on the top shelf of that entry closet.
  3. Make a pot of coffee.  User creamer if you need to, otherwise drink it like you blog it — hot and bitter.
  4. Step away from the computer.  Slip on your favorite hoodie and run a brush through your hair.  You’re going to need donuts . . . or a vice of some equivalence.  Vodka, if necessary.  I’m not here to judge.  Basically the idea is raise your blood sugar.
  5. Find a format for handling awards that works for you.  Irishkatie had a procrastination problem worse than mine.  Let this be a lesson to all of you.  There is always someone who puts things off more than you.  You do NOT want to be that person.  But here’s the deal.  She addressed it and handled it.  I’m proud of her.  I love the format Adam S. at My Right To Bitch  uses to display his Pokemon . . . er awards.  I’m going for that look.  It’s going to take the better part of this day and maybe more donuts.
  6. Find a few blogs you would like to promote . . . per award.  This could take some time.  I like to try to find writers who don’t receive many of them.  It’s kind of like receiving that first Pokemon card.  At first glance you are like, “What the . . .?”  And then you see how cute it is, and how happy it makes the person who gave it to you, and the next thing you know you’re making a separate page just for your awards.
  7. Click on “New Post.”  Find a snappy title announcing your good fortune.  Write about it.  Include appealing visuals, relevant links, possibly a soul-wrenching music video, or pictures of your pets.
  8. Give credit to the blogger who gave it to you.  Didn’t your mother ever teach you to say thank you?  What the matter with you?  I was told you write a thank you card like this:
    • Use the person’s name
    • Say thank you for [insert the item given]
    • List one thing you like about it (or in the case of money, how you might use it)
  9. Follow any other guidelines your awarder has directed.  There may be questions to answer, trivia to list, or money to send.  I’m just kidding.  As a side-note, if they ask for money, it is okay to decline the award.
  10. You, too, can have an award.  For those of you without this backlog of recognition, it’s like getting a free Pokemon toy inside your McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Click HERE and follow the 10-Step Process above.  Let me be the first to say, “Congratulations!  You deserve it.  You’re the BEST!”

So there you have it.  As I stated above, you may view not only my latest three awards, but the first two as well by clicking HERE.  In addition, you will find some really cool bloggers which could lead to *enriching your life in ways unimaginable.

*Results may vary.

Posted in Lore

On Goal Setting

What is it about goal-setting that unnerves me?  The exercise is paralyzing, the final product dispiriting.  Let me share my agony with you.  I’m going to use the ever-popular SMART method.

SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Specific:  Here is the who, what, where and why of the goal.  Here is the core.  The foundation.  The point.  Here is where I usually ask, “What’s the point?”  Already I am shutting down.

Measurable:  This is the unit of measurement and quantity of units.  This is how you can tell if you have or haven’t — as the case may be — reached your goal.  Not lose some weight, but lose 10 pounds.  Not save a bunch of money, but save 100 dollars.  Units are easy.  Quantity is touchy.  Too few, and it seems fruitless.  Too many and it’s unattainable.  Which brings us to the A in SMART.

Attainable:  Here is where you figure out how to make it happen.  This looks great on paper, but come Monday, it’s going to look like recycling.

Realistic:   What am I both willing and able to achieve?  As a child I was told, as so many kids are, that I could be anything I want to be.  I consider myself a realist.  I suppose I was born that way.  I always knew I was never competing in the Olympics, walking the Miss Universe runway, or  being inaugurated for the presidency of the United States.  Mom and Dad were either full of it or got the wrong kid at the hospital.  Realistic?  Chances are, I’m going to bite without getting too much to chew.

Timely:  Make a timeframe.  When is this going to happen?  Most likely, no time in the near future.  If I start at all, I’m going to choke near the finish line.

Listen, I’m not being cynical.  I’ve lived in my head for 50 years now, and I can’t keep expecting it to be something it isn’t!  I am very unlike most people.  Sad to say, it took me 40 years to accept and — yes! — enjoy it.  A lot of my time is spent biting my tongue, minding my manners, and acting all grown up.  I can come up with a SMART set of goals, but I get more done and feel better about myself using the SMART ASS method:

Abandon
Sponaneous
Sincere

Abandon:  This is the part where I drop all of the above.

Spontaneous:  Eyes closed, I ask myself, “What do I really want to do right NOW?”  Not as reckless as it sounds, sometimes I actually want to clean, or change my oil, or even exercise!  Then sometimes, having been asked such a question, I might take myself on a picnic!  Or lie in the grass with the dogs . . . hike in the woods . . . call one of my children . . . or eat something sensational!

Sincere:  Whatever is done, do it wholeheartedly.  Be true to others.  Be genuine in love.  Do to yourself as you would do unto others.  Absorb the beauty of all things, and then reflect it back.

I like this method better, and as I am well-known for saying

I’d rather be a SMART ASS than a DUMB ASS.

 . . .Yes, I know I didn’t make that up.