Tag Archives: personal

The Planner Failed To Plan

You ever know about something early yet nothing gets done? It isn’t entirely your fault, though. Life happened, kids got all needy with their needs and your financial sitch got dicey a few times. You knew none of that was going to get in the way. You saw said thing coming and then it all pretty much went to shit.

I am a little light in the pocket and on a normal April Thursday, I would not be phased. Only, this April Thursday is different. It is the wrong time. Graduation is a month away.

Remember said thing you saw coming? Imagine you saw it coming eighteen years ago and stood idly by while the slowest train in history pulled into the station. You had a daily reminder living and growing before your very eyes yet you didn’t plan. For shame.

On paper, before kids, it is easy to say “We will save $5 a week until he/she is 18.” Or “Well after they are born we will start saving for college.” But when life hands you lemons and you have no patience for lemonade you wave off their little $5. Suddenly the furnace is broken or you need just one more day of gas or you have no job and you think ‘I have plenty of time.’ And instead of saving you start surviving.

Here, eighteen years later I realize (painfully) the planner failed to plan. Ain’t that somethin’? The one person who can compile planners, charts and papers at the drop of a hat didn’t prepare for this moment. And here I stand staring blankly at the nothingness I have to offer.

Life lesson #75: plan for the inevitable. There are a few things that happen in life we have the responsibility to actually prepare for death, birth, flat tires, car breakdowns, and at least one hospital visit. If you have kids, high school graduation always comes (at the same time in life…go figure).

Luckily, most high school graduates who are itching to take the real world by storm don’t care much about dinners or brunches celebrating their accomplishment. About 99% of these young men and women are clamoring to shed the flimsy gowns and uniform dress attire and head to the nearest party. Spending their first moments of freedom with their elders and parents isn’t exactly top of mind. And because of that, I release myself from all the guilt of not being planner perfect and responsible.

Even though I would prefer to have the graduation brunch of a lifetime with cloth napkins and delish chef specialties, I know it isn’t worth the trouble. He really won’t care. And even though I failed to plan for the inevitable, it isn’t decorations or amazing graduation gifts he is concerned with. Deep down, what matters to him most is that we are there. He cares that we are somewhere in the crowd proud of him for being his own kind of great.

~SM

Timeception

The Professor called on Saturday afternoon and was excited to share her latest journey in time management. She extended an invitation to join in the fun. Me? With all six of my planners? Of course, I would! This was going to be a piece of cake (an actual piece of cake and a full day of time sucks later, I was still lost).

Time blocking. It is terminology I had never heard before but practiced on several occasions (just a few months ago to be exact). I failed, of course, and set it for when I grew up more—well, until this weekend. Time blocking, for those who do not know, is the practice of—well—blocking time for daily activities. It goes much deeper than that, but for the sake of simplicity, we will leave it at that.

Start by writing down a list of your everyday activities—from the roota to the toota. Morning sex on Thursdays? Write it down. Daily 4 p.m. dump? Write that, too. Once you have your list written down, prioritize. Okay, now that is done, make an appointment for each task. Sounds easy enough, right? Workout: 5 a.m. – 5:30 a.m., Shower/Dress/Hair: 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m., and so on. Morning routine time block, BAM! You know between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. you are working out, showering, doing hair, getting dressed and eating breakfast.

But wait! There’s more!

Time batching is taking various tasks and grouping them together by brain power. Doing your taxes uses different brain power than, say, blogging. Go back to your nifty daily activities list and take a peek at all the things you do. Group the like-minded items together. By doing this, you will find it easier to focus and complete each task because you will not be wearing out your brain.

We won’t stop there, though!

Forgive me for forgetting the terminology, but when working in said time batch within said time block, it is best to set a focus time and a break time. From what I have been reading, most benefit from a 25 minute focus time and a 5 minute break time.

(Whew! I am spent just thinking about the timeception within the inception)

Needless to say, I failed miserably. I spent the majority of my day writing lists, researching planners (yes—stop judging), printables and the like. This means nothing work related got done. My brain hurt from all this time management planning and apparently (as seen in recent work productivity) I am getting nothing important accomplished.

I am still going to join The Professor in her quest to manage life better because the truth is I need to do better, too. Besides not working on actual work due to organizing my time, what do I have to lose (besides my legit job)?

~SM


Whatever Happens, Love That

“…you need a mantra…Whatever happens, love that…”

~Match Making for Beginners

 

For a few weeks now, the thought of settling into mediocracy has become more appealing. Even hamsters get off the wheel sometimes. The barrage of ideas, plans and what-ifs can make a person weary in their well-doing.

I have been wrestling with mediocracy. I tell myself I just simply cannot be ordinary or I must dream big, but really…do I? What if all we were ever meant to be is exactly what we are? Not everyone was built to be an Oprah or a Michelle O or a Bey. Some of us are just meant to be exactly what we are, and that is okay.

We are taught from a very young age through various channels we should go beyond where we are. If you are fat, be skinny. If you are as flat as a teenage boy, buy body parts. If you are poor, get rich. If you are uncoupled, be coupled. In the years between vanilla life acknowledgment and the colorful just out of reach, we claw our way up. But should we though? Think of all the energy wasted on trying to be something not meant for you. Was it worth it?

Last night I watched a group of young men and women sing and dance. They were all amazing. The courage to stand in a crowded room and leave their talent spent on stage was beautiful to see. Afterward, I thought about what would happen to them in the next ten to fifteen years. How many of them would ignore the present and fight to get a toe onto the promise land? How many would be still be talking about making it when really they have already made it? How many would be satisfied with church on Sundays, meatloaf on Wednesdays, and a 9 to 5? My guess…hardly any.

They have been taught to pursue dreams and strive to get from their present point A to the magnificent point B. And that is not entirely wrong. We should dream, but we shouldn’t ignore the regular. And we shouldn’t abhor staying there (some of us). Some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing lived normal lives. They paid their bills on time, punched a clock every day, loved others and were as full as a person traveling the world with millions in the bank. Who says greater is better? Shouldn’t it be more about loving what comes your way than trying to climb over it for the unknown? What if what is right in front of you is all you are ever going to have? Is it worth missing?

As I start the descent to cuarenta, I am coming to terms with vanilla. Whatever comes my way will just come. I am no longer in need to push the mountains. There is nothing wrong with setting up camp at the foot. I will sit there, outside the tent watching all those who dare to push or climb. I will gladly offer water to the thirsty and nourishment to the hungry. The homemade of flimsy canvas and dirt floor will offer rest to the weary. I will offer a smile and perhaps even a word of wisdom. I will be the cheer squad for those who need it. I am waving the white flag and surrendering to taking it down a notch. Finally, after all this time, I will accept what is present. I will not overlook it for the sake of something better. What I have right this moment is enough. And whatever happens…I am going to love that.

~SM