Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not Enough Time



I’ve been struggling to get everything done, and frankly, I’m failing at it. It’s just difficult, because for 2 days each week I leave my house by 6:30 a.m., and the best-case scenario has me home by 9:30. So the other 3 days are me prepping for and recovering from those two days, then by the time the weekend is here, I’m exhausted and spend a day doing very little. Little enough that the next day would require constant work, and frankly, I can’t do it. I just lack the ability to push through a day of cleaning, cooking, and studying. 

Things are particularly hectic because we just had two weeks where people visited us for the weekend. While I LOVE the people who visited, and enjoyed their visits, it’s just awkward doing things like mopping the floor or vacuuming when entertaining.

BUT, I have learned some multitasking tricks that go beyond “ask the husband to do most of this”. They’re below:


  1.   If you have a washing machine and a dishwasher, load and run them, spend 10 minutes quickly wiping down surfaces, vacuum the worst areas, and get a roast in the oven. Okay, anything automated makes me feel super-productive. While the washing machine and dishes are cleaning my laundry and dishes, I’ve vacuumed and wiped down the counters. And I’ve found that when we’re busy, roast are a great way to make sure that dinner WILL make it to the table. Protip: Pull the roast out of the fridge and let it hang out on the counter so that it’ll be room temperature by the time it goes in.
  2. Once the roast is in the oven, use any extra time to make coffee and breakfast. This way, it provides a built-in break so that you don’t end up exhausted and burnt out, AND when the dishwasher or washing machine is done, it’ll signal that the break’s up.
  3. Switch the laundry over, finish Vacuuming and take care of something selfish. Usually I watch something that’s been DVR’ed while I paint my nails. The idea is to  another break after vacuuming but still get something crossed off your “to do” list. At some point around here, the roast should be done. Protip: use the dust attachment on your vacuum to dust.       
  4. Do the worst one. You’ve just done something indulgent. Now take care of the thing you don’t want to. For me, this is homework (It’s not about the subject matter, it’s more of a core concept of having homework). I work on a bunch of different sections (it’s accounting, so there are different accounts/financial statements or tax schedules. I work on one until I hate its’ guts, then work on another one. I typically have a face mask on while I do this, so at least I’m also doing something that makes me feel pretty. I know. I’m vain). Do something to make it less miserable if possible. 
  5.  Do something easy or pleasant. This is when (if I haven’t broken down and went down a rabbit hole in the internet), I head to the gym. It’s usually on my to-do list, and I feel freaking amazing afterward. I do all my errand on Thursday afternoons, but if you’re going out, I’d suggest doing your errands as well.
  6.   Do any other assorted tasks. The idea is to go for volume here. Do quick tasks. Make marinades for the week or larabars. Wash vegetables, fold & put away the laundry, put away the dishes, pay bills online. The idea here is that the “running in place” chores, like laundry and vacuuming are done, and the chore you were dreading is done, so now you want to focus on getting everything else done so you can enjoy your next day, and maybe get ahead on your week.


The next day, I make sure my clothes are clean and prep my meals for the week.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting Things Done

I've decided to do a Whole 60, mainly because I haven't been eating enough vegetables, and haven't been seeing the full energy benefit of the program. I've signed up for a gym, and will be going on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and at least one weekend day (unfortunately I have class on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I can't really space out trips to the gym, as I'm gone from home from 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.).

In terms of getting things done, I've been running errands for the week after work on Thursday (I can flex time and leave early on Thursday and Friday). I've been doing my internet-ing while watching TV, and doing chores on the commercials. It's been working fairly well, as the smaller things that can really add up have been taken care of (I've hard boiled eggs, gone through mail, unloaded the dishwasher, changed over the laundry, made tea, frozen avocados, and baked chicken during commercial breaks. Yay multitasking!) I've also been listening to audiobooks while folding laundry and unpacking boxes upstairs.

I have noticed that when I start the day off, if I stop and sit for more than 20 minutes in the first 3ish hours that I'm up, I tend to get really bad sinus headaches, and the whole day is spent lying on the couch, which happened yesterday ( and the past 3 Saturdays in a row). So now it's a matter of making myself keep going for at least a few hours each morning I'm off. While it takes a significant amount of willpower, those few hours end up with my being super-productive.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Still in the "prep" phase

My 30 days is over halfway done, although to be honest, I may push the whole 30 into a whole 45 or a whole 60. I feel loads better than I did before I started this plan, but I haven't put in tons of effort; I'm still eating lots of fruit and nut butter (I'm keeping it to one serving of each a day), and craving carbs. This weekend required a lot of willpower not to demolish the Halloween candy.

I'm going to join a gym on my way home from work tomorrow, and scope out how crowded the gym is on a Monday (typically gyms are most crowded on Mondays, because people want to start the week off right, then lose interest as the week goes one. Essentially Monday is the January of the days of the week). Then I'm going to go home an prep my meals for class and get ahead on my homework.

On Thursday, after running errands, I plan on going to the gym and starting and actual workout plan. On my days off from the gym, I'm going to do yoga, in addition to assembling my meals for the day after, cleaning, and doing homework.

I also plan on starting to make my own nut butters. We'll see how much I can get done.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Slow Progress

Today is my tenth day of the Whole30, and if this timeline is at all accurate, the next week could be the most challenging week. And so far, the timeline has been accurate (I'm counting it as a good thing that my husband's work schedule took him away from home this past week, because day 4-5 and day 6 were "kill all the things" days), so I'm a bit nervous about the next week.

But I've committed. Everyone knows that I'm doing it. I've been feeling better, and the discipline from eating in a manner that complies with the plan is spilling over into all areas of my life. I'm developing overall healthier habits. I'm actually debating extending this into a Whole 60, because then I can get through this semester with energy, and hopefully create a regular exercise plan.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

So much to do

Work, school and unpacking have been keeping me super-busy. I'm ready to make a bonfire in the backyard with everything that's still waiting to be unpacked. That being said, a big hurdle to still unpacking stems from the fact that the house we bought is dirty.

It's not dirty in the gag-inducing the bugs/rodents/mold way, it's just that the former owners didn't really do any deep cleaning, and I suspect that in the last few years that they lived here, the house became too much to keep up with. Also, once they the house was under contract, it's likely that they stopped actually cleaning (which is exactly what happened to my apartment when our offer was accepted), so before we can unpack, we've had to deep clean every room, closet, cabinet and shelf. It's been daunting, but we're in the home stretch.

I've been struggling to stay healthy: my eating, exercise, and sleep have all been just awful, and it's spilling over into everything. I've gone to bed with makeup on, procrastinated freaking everything, and generally feeling very much like Gollum.

So, after about 6 weeks of feeling like I'm failing at being a home-owning adult (who works full time and is taking 2 classes), and running out of positives to focus on (Gollum didn't focus on the positivity in *his* life), I'm taking advantage of fall break (no 15 hour days this week!) and actively changing what I'm doing.

I'm in Day 2 of the whole 30. Duck fat is rendering on my stove. We bought a food vacumn sealer, and are freezing chicken soup (not linking to a recipe, because it's chicken soup.), this beef stew, duck breasts, and whatever else on my list that I get through tomorrow, although I'm going to finish my taxation homework, and one of my 2 intermediate accounting projects. I do think I'll be able to at least make mayonnaise, sweet potato hash, some kind of egg bake thing that I'll just wing, and this soup (although I couldn't find whole 30 approved sausage, so my version will just be balls of ground pork instead of sausage) . I also made pureed parsnips and boiled beets. We're working down a backlog of CSA box veggies that are still good, so doing the whole 30 will help me eat the stuff that's in the fridge (although I will never like kale). I'm going to ask my husband to grill me some turkey burgers, so I can microwave them at work, and eat them wrapped in lettuce, with tomatoes and avocado, and sweet potato fries with aoli (which I will make,I'm not sure what recipe I'll use).

I'm also actually cooking in the kitchen, which I haven't really had time for. Usually my husband and I decide on a meal the day of, so cooking this much in advance isn't really normal. I'm hoping that the stuff that I've made this week and frozen will make for quick meals when I'm starving NOW. My whole 30 started a day after I'd planned, because the cashews I ate to stop from feeling dizzy (because I didn't eat enough) were roasted in peanut oil, which is not whole 30 compliant, so I'm working on pulling together snacks, and make meals that I actually want to eat, and not just putting ground beef on spinach.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I haven't done my homework yet

hence, no post because I procrastinated getting my homework done (except this short one).

Accountability!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Everything is Changing

BIG news: I got a shiny new job!! One that has a better commute and is willing to pay me better (well, I won't get overtime anymore, because I'll be salaried, but they're paying me on par with that one year when I worked 12 hour days, and I'm only really allowed to work 10 hours a day max, and even then, it's assuming I'm flexing time). The only downside is that I have to step my game up.

Seriously, where I work is like a wal-mart level of formality (although it is a call center, so no one can see us), and this is more at a JCrew or at least a Gap level of formality. On one hand, this was exciting, because it's harder to feel like a trainwreck in a pair of dress pants and a sweater. On the other hand, my closet just got more crowded, and I'm going to have to learn how to properly iron and work a pants crease.

In some ways, the fact that we just moved into OUR NEW HOUSE and I just started classes and am starting a new job and classes started last week is good, because I don't even have a typical day anymore, so I can start just doing the things that I wish I did as a habit. On the other hand, unpacking and getting my apartment cleaned is really miserable, and I'm gone for 12+ hours, so I'm not exactly working out. Also, we just had a party, and there are a lot of delicious carbs, and I'm giving myself a pass, because of the aforementioned 12 hour days. (Plus, the gym stuff haven't been unpacked, and carrying boxes upstairs is hard, and I've been sore and stiff more than once this week)

Yes, I will be eating salad & protein at work this week, with my carbs. I'm going to spend 20 minutes a day trying to unpack everything, and 20 minutes a day working on maintenance cleaning, so that I don't end up with 2000+ square feet of mess.

Unfortunately I may need to post less, but I am hoping to continue with the weekly posts.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

So much to do

I am officially moving in 6 days, with my classes starting in 9 days, and officially freaking out.

I *think* I have everything under control for the move, although I'm frankly terrified about closing. Mainly the thought of how much the mortgage is going to be, because I've never been in debt before, so the thought of all of a sudden being in a lot of debt is scary, but the idea of home-ownership is really exciting (and really scary).

I also managed to hurt my knee, so between packing boxes and prepping for class, I'm thinking of taking the next few weeks off from Insanity, partly because I'm not following the set program anyway, and partly because the thought of maintaining the workout schedule, prepping healthy meals, packing, starting classes, moving and starting to paint and take wallpaper down makes me want to curl into a ball and cry.

That being said, the Insanity workouts HAVE made a huge difference in getting me smaller. I can officially fit into clothes that have not fit for over a year. They may be on the tight side, but I honestly can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's closer than I thought that it would be. After feeling like this summer was the summer of being/feeling like a train wreck, knowing that I'm so close to one of my goals feels so good.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Being realistic

I've posted about doing the Insanity workouts. I should be up front, and mention that I'm not following their workout program (obviously, as their program doesn't call for 2 workouts a day). Frankly, I can't do the program as designed. Between moving in 3 weeks and starting classes in 3 weeks and 3 days, I will not have the time to do the workouts as planned.

Now, I understand that the "I won't have time" is, usually, an excuse. However, my schedule for 2 consecutive days a week will be "wake up at 5:30, get ready/take the train to work, work 8 hours, take the train to school, wait 50 minutes for class to start (review homework, notes, list of questions doing the homework generated) , class for 2 hours, get home at 9ish p.m.". Yes, I can probably wake up at 4 to do a workout on the first day, but it's a bit much, and I know that I can't commit to doing 40+ minute workouts on those days.

I'm planning to compromise by getting up at 5:30 and doing half hour workouts when I get home at night, or doing longer, more relaxing yoga sessions, or not working out and just drinking tea because being gone for almost 15 hours is bad enough.

I am going to work on following a better diet, and getting enough sleep, as well as keeping the workouts going, packing a box of stuff a day, spending 15 minutes a day cleaning and another 15 minutes working on finding a better job.

I'm not necessarily hoping to lose weight at this point, but I am hoping that I won't gain any weight. It was a huge deal for me just to not gain weight this year, so I don't feel like I need to lose the 10ish pounds that I want to lose immediately.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Quality over Quantity

This past week, I've been working on building momentum and checking things off my (revised) to-do list. I've been modestly successful---things are packed, I have worked out, and I haven't felt completely overwhelmed, to the point where the sheer amount of things I have to do is so much that it destroys my motivation just by existing.

I've also been trying to focus on quality over quantity--1 really good workout where I'm an exhausted, sweaty heap is probably better than 2 stationary bike rides where I hate it and I'm watching TV, and not working very hard at all. I'm trying to let go of setting aside larger chunks of time to clean and pack and focusing more on cleaning as I go about my day (I did clean for an hour, but I've been capping any "cleaning time" at an hour, because that's when I start hitting diminishing returns).

I've focused on "big shifts" in working out, and smaller changes for the rest of my goals. So far, it's working. I'm having a bit more energy and sleeping better. I also made it a rule that I couldn't sit down when I got home until my workout was finished, which means that I'm working out as soon as I get home. The only problem is that, on really bad days (when I'm in a super-negative mood), I do a second Insanity workout. In one way, it works, because the workouts reduce me to a sweaty exhausted heap, and I've stopped thinking about whatever it was that made me upset. On the other hand, I'm an exhausted, mindless drone for the rest of the night. I'm looking at the glass as being half full, in that it's getting me out of my negativity, flooding my brain with endorphins, and getting me to bed earlier.

I've had good results so far--I've made tangible progress cleaning, packing, and applying to jobs (I have an interview on Monday, and the position feels like it would be a good fit for me). I've also lost a little over a pound this week.

This weekend is a little crazy for me, but as long as I don't spend too much time sitting around in my pajama pants, I should be able to get everything done.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Changes

One of the problems with trying to change almost every part of my life is that it's hard to note progress. At this point, even when I make a change, trying to keep the momentum going AND making more changes is like juggling monkeys that are juggling chainsaws. I feel like everything's equally important, and it leads to really feeling just overwhelmed.

Some of the changes that I've been able to make (flossing) are easier to incorporate, because they're under 10 minutes. But the problem is that while these changes are easy, they don't really make an impact, so they're a bit more difficult to maintain, long term. And the changes that WILL make a big impact, are difficult to find time for, because in my head, everything's equally important, so I end up spending an hour cleaning up, taking out the trash, re-organizing my yarn stash, and basically spinning my wheels for minimally important things, when I could be applying to jobs, making healthier foods, and working out. (Note: I am not saying that cleaning and taking out trash is unimportant, but frankly, I can ask my husband to take out the trash and help clean up, and my yarn stash's organization probably doesn't matter, as long as I check it monthly for signs of infestation).

So this week, after almost crying at knit night, I took a hard look at my to do list. I realized two things. First off, unless I find a rip in the time/space continuum or learn how to thrive on 5 hours of sleep a night, I will never get everything done. Secondly, not all things are equally important. Frankly, working out and submitting applications to find a better job (or just a shorter commute) will have a bigger impact on me than finishing another book on my list, working on conjugating French verbs, or knitting another 10 rows on a project (My commute is about an hour and a half each way. While the majority of this takes place on the train, I still can't really do whatever I want. Finding a shorter commute would be HUGE).

I re-did my list, assuming that I only get 2 hours per weekday in which to get things done, and seriously considered how important each thing on the list was. Some things (learning French) were completely dropped, others (knitting--not on the train) were kept, but listed as bonuses, meaning that I have to get other things done.

Today I am applying to jobs (I finished updating my resume yesterday), having a workout, packing up for the move, and planning/prepping the weeks menu. I already made a Giant Pot of Tea.