Sunday, March 02, 2014
Sometimes I felt as though I didn't have the energy to do a project that needed doing and I ended up doing other things instead. Maria Gracia, author of "Finally Organized, Finally Free for the Home", devotes a whole chapter of her book to resolving this problem. She writes that you should focus on breaking the project into small tasks that are more manageable, that you should know your limits and work at your speed. Some people can do their best in long marathon sessions. Others work in bursts but need to take a break after ten or fifteen minutes.
According to Maria, if some days you are more energetic than other days, you should keep a daily journal to find out what works and doesn't. Log the time, the activity, the amount of sleep, what you ate and drank, what happened that cause you any stress, and your energy level on a scale of 1-5. After two weeks you may see a pattern and have a better understanding of how to obtain the energy needed to complete a project.
In the same chapter, Maria gives solid advice for becoming more energetic: 1) determine what time of the day, (morning, noon or late evening) your feeling most energetic and schedule the most important or most difficult tasks for that time, 2) get about 8 hours of sleep each night for if a person gets more or less, they tend to become more sleepy; 3) be sure to eat a healthy breakfast like oatmeal with fresh fruit - avoid foods that tend to make you sleepy such as flour and sugar; 4) drink plenty of water as dehydration causes one to feel exhausted; 5) Start off your day with a ten minute exercise to get your blood to circulate; and, don't sit for long periods without taking time every couple of hours to get your blood circulating again; 6) breath deeply whenever you feel tired or out of breath, you can even use a scented spray or candle to awaken your senses; 7) avoid smoking which causes a lower energy level; 8) any form of meditation can help you avoid or resolve stress factors which are energy busters; 9) avoid work stress and negative people, if the situation at work is too stressful for you, and your boss or human resources people cant help you resolve the problem, it might be to your advantage to find a more enjoyable less stressful job.
Still other ways mentioned by Maria to have more energy while preforming a task is 1) to listen to some soft but upbeat music as long there is no vocal or loudness such that it becomes a distraction; 2) associate with an energetic partner who can help motivate you; 3) take a walk break outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air if possible; 4) try a new or different approach or thing each week to keep the mind sharp; 5) plan a fun activity to do as a reward for accomplishing a task; and 6) keep a positive happy attitude in general - read motivational books, enjoy the clouds or the sun, the day or the night, make small talk with a friend or a foe, set goals that have a better than 50 percent chance of success (basically what ever it takes to have a enjoyable day) and the energy will follow.
If the above doesn't bring more energy to your day, Maria suggests that you get a checkup to make sure there is no medical condition to cause the stress; or, make a determination to avoid doing more things than you can handle.
My own advice to add is to write things down in a journal as they come to your mind so they won't be forgotten. That way every matter troubling you can be addressed latter; and, with the help of a friend or friends - or a higher power if you are a believer -, a resolution of each problem can be found.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I have gotten a couple of inquiries re the mountain lion picture used as my profile image.
This picture was taken by my brother-in-law through the picture window of his study in March 2008 (about 6 months after retiring and moving to a mountain top home) in Bailey, Colorado. He said he was hoping to see a mountain lion in the region but did not expect to see one so close to his home (about 12 feet). Luckily he was able to snag his camera and take a picture before the animal disappeared. The sighting was reported in the Denver, Co newspapers.
After seeing this lion, my brother-in-law set up a state of the art critter camera of his own making (since photos taken by the critter cameras on the market lack the quality he desired). The critter cam and strobe lamps for night photography were triggered by motion detectors. Total equipment cost was around 7,000 dollars. He used this system to take pictures, over more than a 4 year span, of the numerous animals (skunks, raccoons, red, gray and silver foxes, mule deers, coyotes, bighorn rams, a fox and and a couple of skunks peacefully coexisting together, a black bear with two clubs, and a couple of more mountain lions, were the most notable) that traversed the path taken by the lion past his house.
The best photos including the above noted pictures and the original mountain lion photo were assembled together and were self published in a book (What's in Your Backyard?) through Costco, complete with a history, brief captions and the date and time taken. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Everyone (or almost everyone for those who are in denial) reaches a point where they find that their sense of reality differed from what was real in some way. lt seems to me that we all have had our fantasies.
Researchers have found that people often base their decisions upon self perceived images of themselves that are not necessarily valid. In one example the AARP asked a pool of attorneys to do a favor to needy seniors by charging them only 30 dollars for their work. Overwhelmingly, the attorneys refused to do this; but, when AARP asked attorneys if they would, as a favor to the needy seniors, do the same work for free, thousands of attorneys agreed. In the first case money was a major factor and the attorneys chose the fantasy characteristic that their work was worth more than 30 dollars and that they were not the type of person that would do it for less; while, in the second case money was less of a factor and the attorneys chose the fantasy characteristic that they were the type that would willingly give to charity.
Similarly, many people fail to meet their goals because they dwell on a characteristic that tends to limit their motivation to achieve their goal. For instance, people tell themselves 'I tried to do this before and was not successful', instead of 'People like me have done this; and, I have the same or similar strengths that I can use more effectively this time around'.
People will always have conflicting images of themselves, some negative and others positive that may influence their motivation to achieve a goal. Life decisions are sometimes based upon a fantasy world that one creates in their mind. Those living in a positive fantasy world tend to achieve more of their goals. So it would make sense to choose the positive fantasy that helps motivate you to achieve your goal then to dwell on your negative fantasy.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I became aware of the tickler file with office work and find that it has use with managing every day chores at home as well. For those unaware of a tickler file, it is basically a leter size file with 43 folders, 31 numbered from 1-31 for the days and 12 more for the months. If May 15, 2014 is the current date, The first folder is May then folders 15-31 follow, then June, then folders 1-14. So in general the folder for the current day and month is up front then folders appropriate for the next 30 or so days. So if I have a doctors appointment coming up on June 10 and there is an important document regarding that appointment it would be filed in folder number 10. As each day passes, the items in that folder for that day would be processed and the folder would be moved to follow the folder(s) for the next month.
Right now I have papers for an important meeting on February 11 in folder # 11, and papers for an doctors visit filed in the June folder. As you can see a tickler file is a handy tool for keeping papers that are needed at a future date.
A tickler file can also be used to put items that you are unsure of the necessity thereof aside to be considered in the future. For instance an event flyer for a 5k race in May could be placed in the April or May folder depending on when you feel would be a good time to reconsider it. And if you are in the process of tossing out unnecessary items and are unsure of a need for a certain item, you can put a note re that item in the tickler file for consideration again at a later time. Some times a tickler file is needed to remind you of a project that is waiting for the optimum conditions to do. Like plans for a rainy day family weekend event at the indoor park would be placed in a date for one Friday but moved to the next Fridays date if rain was not forecast for that week. Also, information from relatives could be collected and placed a week prior to an important day for which you may want to write them so you could be up to date when you do.
Many of you will find other uses of a tickler file that I have not mentioned.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
My thought for the week of 1/19
I have been adapting to my new file system and enjoy it. I have a Excel calendar where one page is an event table table which lists daily events by date, time, event, and notes; and, another page is a day planner in 15 minute intervals which lists the events from the event table and leaves a blank space where nothing is on the event calendar for that time span. A reminder of the events scheduled in the next two days is also on this page, as well as three action lists (I prefer to break up my goals in to actions and create an separate agenda folder for tasks that require multiple actions to tract the progress being made).
An agenda folder is not created for tasks that require a single action. Tasks that take only a couple of minutes (or matter of seconds), such as sorting and filing the days mail, are done immediately. If one can't get into the habit of putting things away as they bring them into the house or finish using them, he or she should create a dump zones where every thing of a certain category but not in its place gets put. That way it the item can't be found in its place one can look in its allotted dump zone and not all over the house. Any way a lot of future time can be saved by putting things away immediately, and the same time savings comes from doing any two minute task as it occurs to you (if its not too inconvenient), than waiting for a later time. Tasks to do later are put in action lists.
Actions are listed in the following categories: At the Computer, At Home, and Errands. They each take up specific one contiguous time span that generally takes more than a couple of minutes. More action lists for at work or calls to be made can also be created but the above three suit me.
To do items that require multiple actions should be put into a project or agenda folder where you can collect reference material, plans, data etc. to be considered in a brainstorming session. The next action to be done on a project even if it is just to seek the advice of someone, if not done immediately, should be put onto an next action list.
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