Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, January 17, 2011

Done for the Week: Two Steps Forward, But Then. . .

More snow this morning.  What is this, winter?

I'm trying not to feel like I'm missing important deadlines.  I still haven't resolved the issued of New Year's resolutions.  My (technically, live) Christmas tree continues to glow in the middle of my living room.  And I haven't answered the question of where I'm going with my blog in this, its second year.  I trust I'll get there when I get there.  I'm relying on this mantra from the Wicked Witch of the West--"All in good time, my pretty.  All in good time."

Meanwhile, here's what I got done last week.

Done for the Week:  Jan. 10-16
  1. Continued off-season race training; biked twice; ran twice
  2. Succeeded in getting husband to gym with me once
  3. Finished Switch:  How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath; Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen; The Happiness Project:  Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, by Gretchen Rubin
  4. Continued providing minimal volunteer support to transitioning nonprofit
  5. Worked my two part-time jobs, with schedule changes, and heavier number of hours
  6. Published 5 blog posts
  7. Wrote 7 Gratitude Journal entries
  8. Wrote 3 Morning Pages
  9. Meditated 4 times
  10. Watched our two favorite basketball teams play 4 games, with son and husband
  11. Foraged for food at the grocery store several times
  12. Attended one yoga class
  13. Attended church to hear fabulous sermon; dragged my husband along
  14. Attended board meeting
  15. Attended Issues Night
  16. Attended meeting with County Executive concerning transitional jobs program
  17. Attended organizational breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with my son
  18. Had date night with my husband
  19. Discussed multiple installation impasses with electrician 
  20. Provided TLC for sick son and grandson
  21. Had lunch date with my husband
  22. Spent time with one son watching anime
  23. Watched Wonder Boys while my husband was out of town
  24. Accepted work help from both my sons 
Last week's focus goal, for the sixth straight week, was "to post five blogs, exercise four times, meditate six times, and make the time to resume writing the novel--before I forget what it's supposed to be about." Highlighted in green on the list above are the "done" items which pertain to this goal.  I continue to keep up with my blog--maybe because it feels so public.  Though I don't have a mass readership, "the internet knows," like the Shadow, whether I make each day's deadline or not.  I am still, however, having difficulty getting my posts up during the a.m., while balancing outside commitments that are all too frequently intruding on my mornings.  I renew my intention to anticipate morning conflicts, and to write ahead whenever possible.

I was more successful this past week in meeting my exercise target.  I am especially glad to have resumed running, after a bout of winter laziness during which I leaned toward biking.  Stationary biking, at the gym or on my own trainer-mounted bike, has the advantage of being something I can do while sitting, and more importantly, while reading.  In motivational slumps, it presents a lower bar I can still get over.  But I am moving out of the maintenance phase of race training and into the building phase, so it is time to get back to the track.  Which I did.

I had a harder time getting around to meditating last week.  My time on the cushion really needs to be the first of the "first things [I am trying to remember to put] first."  I think I am having trouble with the being as opposed to the doing state of meditation, and the indulgent feeling that comes with it.  And my instinct is that the extent to which I am struggling is an indication of how important this activity is to my overall growth and well-being.  

The final piece of my conglomerate focus goal was time spent working on my novel.  Changes in my work schedule last week obliterated my routine writing times.  And extreme overcommitment in addition to compensated obligations claimed too much of the remaining time and sapped my energy to use what there was.  Once again, I got no novel writing done.  The coming week should see a return to my regularly scheduled programming, which should be the stimulus I need to get back to my work-in-progress.  

I have decided to end my experiment with the mega focus goal.  In fact, it seems from this vantage point somewhat of a contradiction in terms.  For the coming week, I will focus on meditating at least 15 minutes, on at least six days.  I am hoping that really focusing on this will increase the likelihood of success, which in turn will build confidence and continued motivation, as my mixed results have not.

In red above is what I see as my most important accomplishment last week.  Like a lot of overworking, over-caring mothers, I have a hard time getting my kids to do their share of household and family work.  But on two separate occasions, I asked for, and received their help when my babysitting schedule clashed with other commitments.  I paid them both for their time, over their objections.  And when one of my appointments was cancelled, instead of immediately relieving my son, I used the time to pick up Mexican Spice lattes for him and me, and to take care of a self-care task I had been neglecting for weeks.  

It sounds small, but this kind of behavior is a sea change for me.

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