“One Year,” Priorities, and Introduction

I confess that I’ve lost some momentum this week with my One Year to an Organized Life plan. It was finals time at one of the schools I teach for and that makes for some crazy long days, very little sleep and some truly dreadful eating habits.

The good news is that grades were turned in yesterday but weren’t due until 11:59p CT tonight, so I’m early. Or, put differently, I didn’t procrastinate, which was one of the things I was supposed to be working on in the one year plan. The other good news is that the bathrooms were the target area for this month. P and I had already done a major bathroom clear out a few months ago — before Katie was born. We chose to do this because we wanted to make room for newborn diapers and all that fun stuff for the time period where she would be sleeping in our room. She didn’t sleep in there with us for too long. Maybe six weeks, and then she moved to her crib and has been happy sleeping there ever since.

I guess I’m fortunate that the procrastination thing and the bathrooms fell where they did so that I could finish strong with the course I was teaching and really work on not procrastinating my way through my work. Normally, at this time, I would be grading like a crazed woman fueled on terrible food and enough caffeine to light up a small country. I did do the bad food and caffeine but I managed to finish faster, so it all worked out well for me and I’m pleased with that.

I’ve decided to take a break from the school that just finished for a bit. I’m not as strong as I would like to be and I feel like I can’t give the students everything that they deserve right now, so I’m just not going to teach there until I feel like I can do that. It’s what’s best for me and best for the students even if it’s not necessarily best for my bank account.

I’m thinking again about doing more writing, so we may see an upsurge in talk about fiction and such things. Then again, we may not. I’m more than willing to admit that I haven’t been feeling like writing and that I need to get myself back together on that.

Having said that, I’m going to go back to staring at my beautiful daughter as she works on forward motion and getting tired enough to go to sleep.

Oh, I’ve added a couple of blogs to my blog roll, most notably, Momsomniac. She dropped by here about a week ago, we got to talking, I read her blog; she read mine, and I think she’s good people and worth the read. If you’re stopping by here to read me, you should definitely wander on over and take a look at her, too.

One Year — April Week 1

This was another brain week for me. First, I needed to confront the reasons why I procrastinate. I suppose it is vaguely amusing that I chose to procrastinate on answering those questions. I know that I procrastinate. I’m good at it and it’s something of a talent and a skill for me. I want to be more structured and procrastinate less, but I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to get around that. I’m hoping that this month will help cure me of this.

I do know that I procrastinate, mostly, because of the “high” I get when I finish something right before a deadline. I guess I’m something of an adrenaline junkie. I don’t miss deadlines, but I have been known to come very close with them sometimes. It’s important to me that I lose the reputation for getting things done at the last minute. I would like to be more successful at getting things done before the deadline and not have to sweat it at the last minute.

On the other side of the coin, the home side, I’ve been thinking about how I tell the story of my life . . . or how I don’t tell it. I’m, surprisingly, a very private person when it comes to the difficulties I’ve had or the challenges that I’ve faced. I don’t talk about them much as I don’t think they’re that interesting or I don’t want people to see me differently. Plus, it would break up some of the mythology that I’ve created and would make me have to face things that I honestly would rather not.

However, being that I don’t want to recreate that family structure for my children and that I don’t want my later years to be full of regret for the things I didn’t do because I was afraid to try, I’m going to have to begin to believe that I am braver than I think I am and that I can have faith that things are going to work out for the best.

It also means, for me, that I have to redefine what family means for me and how I think about it.

I’m also supposed to be creating new affirmations for myself that will help me, but I’m not sure that I’m in a place right now that I can do that. I’m going to have to think about this part of the process and consider whether it’s going to work for me or not. Right now, I think not.

“One Year” — March 2009 recap

Okay, so this is a recap of the March efforts which were on paperwork and the office as a general thing. Unfortunately, March is also when I started having more health problems, so I didn’t get as much done with this as I would have liked. However, I do have a fairly clear desk, an organized filing drawer and a lovely system for organizing Ben’s homeschool materials (Core Knowledge stuff). We’ll have to move to a different system later, but for now this works for us. We have more control over the paper inflow and outflow in the house, and with very little difficulty I think I could lay hands on any of P’s paperwork if I needed to (particularly if I didn’t have to fear his wrath for messing with his desk).

April is bathroom and time-wasting habits month. This should prove interesting as our bathrooms are, well, already fairly well organized and work fairly well for us. I’m taking this as a sign that I should split my focus between my office and my bathrooms. Also, continue working on the removal of things that we’ve earmarked for removal. As I’ve said before, the biggest issue there is P’s difficulty with letting things go. As for time-wasting habits, this is definitely something I need to work on. I have to be more productive with my work related efforts so that I can pursue my other activities (including Ben’s activities — he wants swim lessons, desperately, but not quite desperately enough to use the potty — yet). So, I will be reviewing the material on these two areas this week and getting to work.

It’s April; it’s actual springy weather in Florida; it’s almost Easter. All reasons to recommit myself to this project.

One thing we did get done in the last week is finally hanging our pictures in the front hall. I had this vision for a long time of a wall of pictures, and I finally managed to get off my butt last Friday and hang the pictures. Top row is a picture of Ben with the blanket his godmother made him, a family portrait, and a picture of Katie with the blanket her godmother made her (all I can say is, I know how to pick supremely talented godmothers). The next row is a picture of Sam, a picture of Ben, a picture of Peyton, and there will be a picture of Katie. P moved the frames out of Katie’s bedroom and, well, we have to find them. Katie’s picture is sitting on the counter waiting. The nail is already there. So, I’m on it. The second row is birthday pictures. I take a picture (or have pictures taken) on birthdays. So Sam’s is very new and she’s very grey. Ben’s is his 3 year old picture. Peyton’s is her three year old picture. Katie’s will be her Gene Simmons impression picture because it makes me laugh and she’s not a year old yet :).

So, progress is being made and I”m pleased with how the house is coming together and how my children are developing. Now, if Peyton would walk NICELY on a leash, we’d be all set :).

One Year — March 2009

So, I’ve been sick, but I have made some progress in the office and with paperwork. I managed to clean out the main file drawer and the main filing cabinet in the office. Most of the files are things I can’t get rid of due to school requirements, but they are things that can be less accessible at this point.

I have created a folder for Ben’s preK materials and divided things for five days, since he tends to want to ‘tivity sheets five days a week. He doesn’t always take his breaks on weekends, but it works for us. The office is a work in progress and will likely need to be revisited this year. I’m thinking that I will go back to it when we hit moving month since I’m not moving in the foreseeable future.

I’ve moved some things around and I’m still trying to figure out the best configuration for my school books and for what will be Ben’s school materials. We’ve pretty much settled that we’re going to home school. At this point, I think we’re looking at prepackaged curriculum. While I’m confident in my ability to teach, I need something to help me focus what I’m doing. We’re not sure what we’re going with, but we know we need to set aside space for his materials and work in the house — somewhere. It’s going to be very interesting, I think.

The month of April will bring a focus on the bathrooms. I’m looking forward to tackling the two bathrooms, but I’ll likely also be working on the office as part of my continuing effort to improve the space I work in.

One Year — Week 1

Having completed week 1 of both one year and one year at work, I’ve learned some really interesting things about myself. First off, it’s a lot less frightening to stay on top of making the bed or wiping down counters if you think if it as something that you’re doing for today. It comes back every day, but it’s not as scary. I guess the whole idea of being scheduled freaks me out more than I realized.

The main thing that I learned is that I do not have a clear understanding of how long something should take. I get frustrated with myself when it takes longer than I think it should, but my estimations are not rooted in reality. For example, I tell Phil it takes 20 minutes to grade a paper, but realistically, because I get distracted, it likely takes more like 30 to 40 minutes to grade a paper. I also can’t estimate how long it will take me to, say, go to the library or go to the doctor. I saw that while I was ill after having Katie. I estimated that it would take us 30 to 40 minutes to get back from my doctor’s office, but I didn’t factor in rush hour, so it ended up taking us over an hour. This was not cool for my sister, who was watching the kids, and it wasn’t cool for me because I was very stressed.

I also realized, though I had kind of done this before, that what I do for a living is not really my passion. I like teaching, don’t get me wrong. However, I learned while I was so ill that if my last day on earth had been made up of completing course design and resolving a grade issue instead of spending time with my son and husband, I would have had a lot to answer for. Now, this is not to say that I shouldn’t work at all, but I think it means that I need to find better balance for my work and find a way to keep it from eating up every bit of my home life as it does now.

I hadn’t realized, until I started tracking my time for work and made a percentage chart of how much time I spend on various things, just how much time I spend on a computer. I think it’s okay to be connected and to be online, but I think letting it eat up everything else is something that I need to stop. I need to draw some limits and I learned that through my one year experience.

This week is more brain work while I figure out where I want to go with my career AND work on developing a better relationship with time. It should be interesting.