Sunday, March 16, 2008

We love you

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. I've been feeling very stressed out and can't really pinpoint why. Work is busy, but not *that* busy. We're not traveling much, and don't have too many social commitments.

I think it's because I have a lot of things clattering around in my brain, a lot of half-finished projects and goals, and no real sense of priority among them. I'd like to learn how to sew, make a bunch more jewelry for my Etsy shop, have a perfectly-organized house, tackle the yardwork in our horrendous backyard, bathe the puppies every 3-4 weeks, catch up on the giant "to be ironed" pile in my closet, get into shape, do fun and interesting things with my husband, take the puppies to the park every day, etc.

You get the picture. The list is neverending. I'm not very good at just sitting still and BEING. I am always thinking of what I need to do and what's next. Which makes me not a lot of fun to be around, really. But not only that, it makes me sort of 'float' through life, without really focusing on what I'm currently doing. I get up, go to work, fritter away some time watching TV or surfing the Net, go to sleep and start all over again. I catch up on errands and chores on the weekend. Not the most fun existence, and it's making me stressed out all the time.

And really, I have a pretty awesome life. I should be enjoying it more.

I started reading David Allen's "Getting Things Done" last week on the bus. I already know the principles from the "Managing Action" course I took a couple of times at Microsoft, which is basically using Outlook as a tool to apply the GTD principles. Now I love a good time management system.

One of the first things you do in the GTD system is identify your projects. I realized I have a ton of projects and have never really identified what's most important to me. This post on an awesome blog called ZenHabits, really hit home for me.

So here goes. The stuff that's most important to me, in no particular order:
  • TJ and the puppies
  • Really, truly, getting control of my weight (yep, still at it)
  • Staying in touch with friends and family (yes, I'm really bad at this)
  • Making our house a home (my castle and all that...)
  • Being crafty, and secondarily, working on my etsy shop
So, you might notice that my work/career is not on this list. I like my job. As a way to earn money, it's better than getting repeatedly poked in the eye. But I'm (finally) discovering that my job can't make me happy. It can definitely make me UNHAPPY but it's not bringing me great joy.

But it does bring me a way to buy shoes and pay for everything else on my list of priorities. So it's necessary, but for me, not a real priority. So for now I'm going to focus on the stuff that makes me happy. Of course, I'll still show up for work and do a good job while I'm there, but I'm going to try and keep it confined to my work day. Not a lot of extraneous email checking at home, or "getting ahead" by putting in 10 hour days. Because I'm the sort of obsessive perfectionist that'll let it totally take over. Yeah, there will still be days where I need to work late because of a customer problem, but I'm not going to voluntarily *choose* to work late. I'm going to practice being just a bit less of an overachiever, and see if that gives me more time to focus on what's really important.

So what did I do this weekend to further my new set of prioritized goals?
  • Baked brownies for TJ's birthday month
  • Baked pumpkin muffins for myself (not very pumpkin-y)
  • Made a kickass healthy beef stew for both TJ and me (and he likes it!)
  • Went to the dog park on both days
  • Walked an hour with Aimee yesterday
  • Walked 5 miles with Aimee today for our half-marathon training (yeah, baby!)
  • Wrote down everything I ate today
  • Finished and put away the laundry
  • Ran the dishwasher twice
  • Went grocery shopping with TJ
  • Emailed my mom (finally!)
Not bad, huh? I feel a lot better about clarifying my priorities. I think it gives me a framework to cross off the stuff that isn't important. I felt more relaxed this weekend than I have in weeks. Months, maybe even.

And now, I'm just sitting on the couch, under my favorite down comforter, with two sleeping dogs curled up next to me. TJ is here too. Life is good.


  1. Hi. I am not sure if you remember me. It is Ila, Kristine's friend. I found your blog through Kristine and it is very errie how similar we sound. I have a blog too.

    I didn't know someone else celebrated a birthday like me, for a prolonged period of time.

    I hope we can be blogging buddies!

  2. I too am a recent convert to GTD, but only after finding an application that allows me to have my GTD with me all the time, on my desk at work, computer at home and even on my cell phone, with no synching necessary. You can read about my experiences in a recent post on my blog at

  3. @Ila - Yep, I remember you! Thanks for sending the link to your blog! I guess I have some reading to do ;)

  4. I couldn't agree more! Great accomplishments this past weekend. Woo-hoo!

  5. I think it's great that you're taking a step back and looking at things from a new perspective.

    It's best to remember that life lists aren't made to be completed. They're just there to give order to the multitude of things we all have to do. Don't get crazy trying to "cross off" as much as you can. Just focus on crossing off the ones nearest and dearest to you at any given time.

    Good luck!!

  6. @wendi - thanks!

    @marlene - thanks for dropping by! I'm a really big list-maker so just the act of making the list makes me feel better :)

  7. I am also a perpetual list maker, and I normally manage to cross off a lot of things, but never everything. I like the idea of the distilled list, however, with just the main overarching goals--I will have to give that a shot!


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