Getting comfortable with things that work – and changing things that don’t

I was on a roll this weekend.

  • I had finished reading The Secret some time ago. While I don’t buy into all of it, there was some encouraging stuff in there. Being intentional about how my brain works, where my thoughts go, and what my energy is focused on has been very helpful.
  • My inbox is still at under 10 messages. Talk about GTD. The lesson here is the fewer times you can touch something (email message) the more productive you can be. Get the email, process the email, file it or delete it. Don’t let it hang around.
  • After reading a few of Lyman’s post on Simpleology, I decided to check it out. I dig it. Deliberate, paced, and fun. The Daily Praxis has been most helpful. And Mark’s delivery is very funny – I like funny.

These things are working. They may not work for everybody, but they (with my tweaks) are working for me.

Tweaks…that’s where my train got derailed.

I have decided I am going to start The Reading Chair here at Beautiful Chaos. Why?

  • I like to read smart stuff. There are all kinds of people reading smart stuff. I make a little note to read whatever the recommendation is, lose the paper, spend a ton of time trying to find the recommendation.
  • I like to tell you about the stuff I read but I want the posts all in one place. Remember, I am trying to streamline certain aspects of my life.

Well, in an effort to do this, I got lost in the tweaks.

  • Wow, I must have this new plug in.
  • Look at this neat format idea.
  • My blog just would not survive without this.

Hours later, I am no closer to standing up The Reading Chair than I was 15 minutes into the endeavor. Stupid.

So, here is my daily affirmation.

  • I like the way Beautiful Chaos looks.
  • Beautiful Chaos serves its function as a blog.
  • Beautiful Chaos is user friendly and aesthetically pleasing just the way it is.
  • I will save mindless tweaking for my free time.

Time wasters. We all have them. This is one of mine and it is sickening. It must be eradicated. Sounds overly dramatic, I know – unless you see all the “to dos” yesterday that suffered from my lack of management.

Did something else this morning. I changed the way my email runs. I can’t turn Outlook off – it has my schedule on it and I have set up some alarms to keep me on track. But there is no doubt that real time email is this shiny thing that glitters and I find it impossible to resist – time waster. Solution – I turned off the “automatic send/receive.” Yes, I am experiencing withdraws. Yes, I am twitching a bit. No, I will not turn it back on. I hope.

I am batting .800 for the day

And that is saying something in the world of Beautiful Chaos!

First – the things I did not do

  1. Make a breakfast meeting – which I hate that I missed
  2. Get my college enrollment letter in the mail – which I can do tomorrow

But – I did

  1. Have lunch with a friend
  2. Get my Constant Contact set up for Turn Around Tuesday
  3. Got the Bryan County GOP website up (read “started) – come on, nobody’s surprised I am a conservative.
  4. Got as far as I could get with the Top 2 Bottom Organizing webpage
  5. My crowning achievement…MY FAVICON WORKS! After some direction from Jay, a lot of procrastination, and a link from Char…woo hoo!!

Sure – that’s only .714.  But if you take into consideration that I fixed my hair, brushed my teeth, and kept up with all the kids – that’s an even .800.

I am going to take a nap 😉

I do not respect the egg timer

I try – I really do try.  Lani had an excellent suggestion in time management. I read her schedule with great envy.  So, employ the egg timer technique. Simple genius. With one flaw. I do not respect the egg timer. I set it, I work, it goes off, I continue to work…just a few more minutes. Failure.

Athol is very correct in his assessment of my love of my life. It is busy.  It is chaotic. It is beautiful. But, it is not as productive as it could be. I am grown up enough to admit some serious short falls in my management plan. I am sure there are a gazillion wasted minutes because I fly by the seat of my pants much of the time. I almost feel like I have to as the life of a wife/mother/daughter/friend/realtor/self leaves infinite amount of possibility to change, last minute reschedules, and immediate needs.

But I also know I am making excuses.

I am Bruised but not Beaten (AKA – my fight with my Inbox)

I am making a rule right now – there will never be more than 10 sitting messages in my inbox. OMG!!!  I cannot believe I let it get so carried away (I deleted all the extra “ooooo” on the end of “so” – I am not a fan of a lot of creative spelling.)

There had to have been a hundred messages in my inbox.  That is unproductive, irresponsible, and just plain lazy!  Luckily, I did not discover and smelly socks (read as “crap I forgot to do”).

I use Outlook because it is easy.  I can organize my junk stuff into neat little trash cans folders.  Then I have all the stuff I don’t need for a time when I am not going to need it.  No wonder my house is always cluttered…I can’t stand to throw stuff away. 

I might need that email coupon from that one store…that doesn’t even do business in the Savannah area – I would have to drive to Jacksonville.  I might decide to go shopping, in Jacksonville, two hours away, with my four kids…right. 

Or that link to that one site that tells me about that one product that I might buy, one day, if I need it, but I am not sure that I do…ok.

And I can’t part with the email from my friend that contains her vacation pictures, of palm trees and water, which I downloaded so that it is not only taking up room in my email but also on my hard drive…madness!

So, I am setting out to conquer the clutter and my husband has joined me.  We agreed that I can’t do the house until he does the garage and the attic (yes, “I”, yes, “him” – I am that kind of wife and he is that kind of husband and we like it that way.)  But, that is a hard task during the week, so it will have to wait.

That’s okay – there’s more than enough “throwing out” to do right here on my laptop.

My scattered brain

I have to tell ya – my brain is all over the place.  If I could harness all my thoughts and follow them through – what a wondrous accomplishment that would be. But, alas, it is but a jumbled mess and I am trying to decide how best to untangle the web.

I am a producer of clutter.  According to the Law of Attraction, this is a result of the clutter in my brain. So, I do the mental exercises, the positive affirmations, the clear the head before bed…guess what…it’s even more cluttered now!  Now that I concentrate on my goals that I have learned to set, and focus on the good things in life – expansion to the possibilities has opened up.  More stuff in my brain!

The blog should help – get things down, in a category, out of my head.  But it is awfully public.  I love you guys, but I can’t tell you everything.  Maybe it’s time for a journal.  Or maybe I should use the Mind Jet program more – but I am not real sure I am using it to the best of its abilities. Has anybody else used it with any success?

Dwayne Melancon has a great post concerning one of my biggest problems – managing email.  Actually, managing isn’t the problem – it’s not like I get that much. The problem arises from when the little announcer sound goes off to tell me I have new mail and I will stop whatever I am doing to check it. I know – compulsive.  I know – I should not leave it running.  Guess what – it’s still running.

So, then I check the email, check my google reader, and then it’s three hours later.  How does that happen?  j david macor give some great tips for getting this part of my life organized with one flaw – there are too many options.  Just tell me which ones to use!

I think maybe I should resort to a doctor’s office type schedule – you know, the one that is color blocked with certain activities at certain times of the day. Ha!  The title of the blog is Beautiful Chaos.  I am not so sure a highlighter could tame it.

So, there’s my dilemma, and your mission, should you choose to accept it.  Any ideas or things that have worked (or not) for you?