lists

You may have noticed that this blog has been a little dormant lately.  This has a little to do with the holidays and the continuous stream of family visits, but I think I have been feeling a little blocked up because I have been avoiding writing this post, which I sketched out several weeks ago, but has been sitting unattended in my notebook since then.  It’s amazing the things you will do while avoiding.  The house is clean and I am getting really good at Zen Gems. 

Why avoid it though?  Maybe because if I actually say it out loud, I will finally have to follow through and hold myself accountable?  That’s a tough one, you see I tend to talk big and fail to follow through.  I want this to stop and that is why I am sucking it up, taking a deep breath and writing it all down for the world to see and hold me accountable for.

This is going to get a little lengthy and I apologize for that ahead of time.  You can stop reading now if you want because this post is really for me anyway.

A few notes before I get into the nitty gritty.  The goals on this list are intended to be year long goals not to be implemented immediately but taken one step at a time and built upon as the year progresses.  This is a year of change and forward movement for me though and I fully intend on working on each and every one of the items on this list.

This really isn’t a post about my new year’s resolution as much as laying out my goals for this year, but if I had to sum it up into one resolution, I would say that it is to not get overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of it all.  I think I tend to look at the big picture too much and it just freaks me out and keeps me from being effective at the step by step, day by day stuff.  So, my goal is to get organized, get motivated and tackle one thing at a time.

Ok, so here we go.

In my old book club, I had the pleasure of knowing a well known hypnotherapist and a really great woman Diane Sewell. A few weeks ago, she sent out an email (I assume to her mailing list) that really inspired me to take this year’s goal setting seriously.  Here is her list of 10 things you can do to be successful and get off on the right foot in 2009.

  1. How You Think is Everything:  Always be positive.  Think success and not failure.   Also beware of negative environments.
  2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals:  Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take Action:   Goals are nothing without action.  Don’t be afraid to get started.  Just do it.
  4. Never Stop Learning:   Go back to school or read books.  Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be Persistent and Work Hard:   Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.
  6. Learn to Analyze Details:   Get all the facts, all the input.  Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus Your Time and Money:   Don’t let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don’t be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different:   Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively:   No person is an island.  Learn to understand and motivate others.
  10. Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility:   Otherwise, #’s 1-9 don’t matter.

Diane Sewell, Master Hypnotist and Weight Loss Expert

In the past year I have struggled and worked very hard to improve my mental and emotional states as well as remove the negative environments that were contributing to my depression and life paralysis.  Now, I look at my future as a clean slate, a place to start and it is time for me to take control, set goals and direct my own future.

I have an affirmation that I say all the time.  I say it when I am feeling overwhelmed or sad or stressed, during Savasana, before I go to sleep – really any time that it seems appropriate to do so.  It calms and focuses me.    It goes something like this.

I am whole, I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful

With all this in mind, I have laid out this years goals into those four categories and listed them out below.  Some of the items are pretty simple and straight forward, but many will required detailed plans to accomplish.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting these plans as well and will link to them from the appropriate items below.

These lists are not in any particular order.  Just as they came to me.

I Am Whole

Things that are healing and contribute to my overall mental health and fulfillment

  • What are my true dreams?
  • Work hard and accomplish enough that by the end of the year I am attending therapy once a month rather than every week.
  • Complete and full 21 day manifestation. 
  • Read my tarot cards once a week for insight, guidance and awareness.
  • Be contributing $500 per month to the family budget by the end of the year.  
  • Find or create a mommy support network.
  • Create and maintain a comforting and manageable home environment
  • Be the best mom that I can that day, every day.
  • Start writing my book.

I Am Happy

Things that are simply for my and my family’s pleasure.  The things that just make life more fun.

  • Have one great family adventure every month.
  • Take time for fun just for me – book club, girls nights etc.
  • Find a babysitter
  • Have more sex
  • Kiss my husband passionately every day
  • Give myself a break sometimes
  • Laugh out loud with my kids every day

I Am Healthy 

Things to improve both my body and mind

  • Achieve a slim, fit and healthy body – this means to me…  Look and feel great naked and goal weight of 135.
  • Experiment and incorporate more healthy foods into diet
  • Sleep better
  • Walk the dog more
  • Garden and landscaping projects
  • Generally by more active and productive – just get up and do it, when you think about doing it.
  • Reduce TV watching by 1 hour per day
  • Be reasonable with the puzzles and online games – have a picture and a crossword puzzle printed out to work on during downtime.  Online games only during designated relax time.  Get a grip.
  • Complete PHP certification

I Am Beautiful

This is as much mental as physical for me.  I want to feel beautiful in my own personal and distinct way.

I am terrible at  forming good habits and have neglected much of the womanly maintenance over the years.  As many moms can probably relate – I have let myself go a little.

Now, I am not really into a lot of the girly stuff and looking perfect all the time doesn’t even reach my radar, but it is important that I begin to feel good about myself again and keeping up with some physical improvements will generally lead to that I think.  You’ll notice, this is pretty basic stuff here.

  • Wash my face every night
  • Shave my legs once a week (I have very blond fine hair so this is all I need to do), even in the winter.
  • buy some quality makeup
  • Get a haircut regularly
  • Lotion all over, every day
  • Figure out my own personal style
  • Buy new clothes that fit well and make me feel good about myself.  Don’t just buy what’s cheapest.
  • Look in the mirror and say you are beautiful inside and out, every day

I caught an article today listing 25 Banned Books That You Should Read Today. I was glad to see that ten of these books have graced a bookshelf in my home at one time or another. This includes And Tango Makes Three, which is one of Ada’s favorite picture books.

This is a lovely true story of two male penguins at the central park zoo, who have chosen each other as companions. As they look on as all the other penguin couples tend to their eggs and raise their young, they pine for one of their own.

Everything works out great in the end (I won’t ruin the story for you) and along the way you learn some pretty great lessons about love and family.

I think reading all the books on this list is a good idea. If a book is controversial enough to hit a list like this, then it must at leave have something to say – good, bad or otherwise. Next for me, I think, will be Candide by Voltaire.

I look around my house and all I see are all the things that need to be done. Beyond the cleaning that I can’t seem to keep up with, there are so many little projects that would make the house a much more livable, homey place and they are easy and inexpensive and would provide me with a sense of accomplishment.

So why do none of these projects ever get done. Laziness, busyness and exhaustion. These are my three main culprits when it comes to most productivity items. Well, as always, let’s start with a list. A list always puts things in perspective and at least breaks things down into doable chunks.

One day at a time, one item on the lists at a time.

Kitchen

  • Clean out and reorganize cabinets
  • Get rid of all the old Tupperware and replace with a smaller amount of higher quality food storage containers.
  • Put shelves in the pantry (currently wire racks and very wobbly for small items.
  • Organize and buy storage containers, dividers etc to help keep the pantry neat and organized.
  • Figure out how to clear some space on the work island (way too crowded)
  • Plan for kitchen remodel, plan A and plan B budgeted and spec out plan and materials.

Dining Room

  • Empty Ada’s piggy bank, count all the money and open a savings account for her.
  • Come up with and create some sort of storage solution for the corner. Needs to hold sewing stuff, magazines and spillover items
  • Clean out and reorganize the buffet drawers.
  • Paint the door threshold to the kitchen white.
  • New pads and covers for the dining room chairs
  • Give all the wood on the dining room table a good cleaning.
  • Whole dining living area needs warmth and hominess

Living Room

  • Measure and design new layout for new living room.
  • Pick color scheme and design elements
  • Shop for a choose furniture and styles
  • Figure out how to hang the TV and run the component wiring
  • Buy Couches
  • Buy additional furniture pieces
  • Buy Rug
  • Accessorize
  • Fireplace mantel – what do we need, design and spec out, buy materials and build
  • What new electronics are we going to need
  • How to minimize kids toys and such in the new scheme

Hallway

  • Finish molding
  • Reorganize the bookshelf
  • Clamp/Bumper for gate
  • Clean out linen closet and make more functional for storing things we actually use
  • Photo Wall

Hall Bathroom

  • Clean out last cabinet
  • Minimize what needs to be in here. Way too cluttered.

Master Bedroom

  • Make or buy frames and find pictures to put on the wall.
  • Clean off the top of the dresser and eliminate need for so much clutter up there. Identify needs and fix problems.
  • Clean carpet

Master Bathroom

  • Don’t even get me started. Complete gut and remodel needed before usable.
  • Design, budget and spec out materials for remodeling project.

Ada’s Room

  • Sew white sheer curtains
  • Find second rod for her window
  • Set up way for her to hang things on that empty wall.
  • Sew bedskirt
  • Clean carpet

Ian’s Room

  • Clean carpet
  • Find a home for and get rid of rocking chair (maybe craigslist it as a set with the dresser?)
  • Make or buy one more comforter cover.
  • Closet organizer

Garage

  • Figure out dryer situation
  • Sweep/Vacuum floors and move/throw away all the stuff so not so cluttered any more
  • Design, spec and budget garage remodel project.
  • Explore adding to garage and making laundry room as option. Is this something we could do mostly ourselves.

Outside

  • Order bulbs and plants for front yard
  • Clean up beds and make them ready for planting.
  • Figure out how to clean up the middle by the tree.
  • What would it take to fill in the pond?
  • Finish filling pond with dirt from back yard
  • Measure and do good design drawing for deck. Order materials
  • Lighting.
  • Clean up play area and determine what improvements to that we are going to make this year.

Misc.

  • Find more book storage solutions
  • Create file folder for construction project designs

Contruction Projects

  • Re-mold all the doors and windows
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Garage/Laundry remodel
  • Deck (Work has begun – We expect to be done by next week!!!!)
  • Landscaping
  • Hall Bathroom Remodel
  • Master bathroom remodel
  • Master bedroom closet (In progress)
  • Ian’s closet
  • Refinish hardwood floors
  • New carpet for bedrooms
  • Storage space in attic

Wow, that’s a big list and I probably forgot several things.

I am in a constant search for a good to-do list tool. It’s harder than you think. Nothing seems to do everything that I need it to do.

I use iGoogle extensively, so for now I have found the best to-do list widget to use with that. I am using To-Do List with Google Maps from ScreeperZone. It has pretty good functionality and some really nice extra features. This widget is also available for netvibes and vista sidebar.

You can use headings and add subitems under each heading. You can prioritize your lists and add due dates as well as sort and print. Another really cool feature is that you can add businesses to your lists and attach google maps to them so that you can plan your errand routes or keep the name and location of a specialty store attached to your list. That’s really cool.

I am going to keep looking though and maybe even try to develop something myself. That would be a challenging project to work on and challenging projects are definitely part of my self improvement plan.

This week I have been establishing a family routine. I have done this in the past and although it has worked well for a little while, I always seem to fall astray and end up wading through days in a fuzzy delirium. I think this is due to two reasons.

First, I get into too much detail. I try to plan out every minute and what I should be doing at each point throughout the day. Although this is what my subconscious craves, we all know that with two small children I am just setting myself up to fail. So, this time I am using bigger chunks of time and more general ideas about what can happen during those times, also giving myself different options.

The second reason is as the kids change and my own circumstances change (I am working on a client’s site or not), either my schedule is not flexible enough to accommodate it or it needs to be changed entirely and I don’t do that and then it doesn’t work and we are back to square one.

So, this week I established a flexible routine that our days will follow so that the kids have predictability and stability in their day and I know what is coming next and have time set aside to do certain things. In some way, it makes me get more done. The wonder of lists. huh.

I am not saying that it is perfect and it will need to be tweaked and changed as circumstances change, such as I am expecting to start a project with a new client in late January or February or Ada’s school schedule changes in the summer or Ian stops taking a morning nap. I have test run it over the last couple of days and I think it is good for now, so here we go.

7:30 – 9:00 — kids get up, I shower, breakfast, get kids dressed and ready for morning activity

9:00-12:00 — Morning Activity. This varies from day to day. Some days it is school, some days it is some sort of class, some days it is staying home. I am working on a list of at home and outing morning activities. I would like to keep this either active or educational structured activity, not just laying around the house watching tv. Ian takes his morning nap during this time so it is a good chance to have time for just me and Ada or time for me to get some stuff done when she is at school.

12:00-2:00 — Lunch and hang out. These two hours seem to fly by for some reason so we are keeping it loose. When the weather starts to get nice, I am sure we will spend much of this time outside. One day a week i do grocery shopping during this time as well.

2:00-4:00 — Quiet time and Afternoon naps. Ada sometimes still naps so during this time I have instilled quiet time where she stays in her room for sometimes a portion of this time and sometimes all of it and plays by herself or takes a nap. Ian naps during this time. This is time for me to decompress. I really need it by this time of the day in order to be ready to roll for the evening and in a good place to have fun with them.

4:00-5:30 — Play time, Ian dinner and house cleaning.

5:30 -6:00 — Baths.  This doesn’t happen every day but most.

6:00- 6:30 — Ada Dinner, get Ian ready for bed

6:30- 7:30 — Daddy time with Ada. Ian to bed.

7:30 — Ada bedtime routine. To bed around 8:00.

This leaves a couple of hours for my husband Karli and I to have time together.

Thanks to Jo Frost, the Supernanny, for instilling in me the need for a structured routine for my kids.

When I sat down to start this project, I wrote out the following list of goals I had for myself and this site.

  • Examine and reinvent myself as a stay at home mom and professional
  • Determine what being a stay at home mom means to me
  • Determine what being a professional means to me
  • Figure out how to balance myself and my family
  • Be a better house wife (I hate that term, but it is part of the deal. I always joke that I am a great mom and a terrible housewife)
  • Come up with a plan to keep the house clean
  • Organize my surrounding so that maintaining it doesn’t take so much out of me
  • Organize my life to maximize my time for myself and my family
  • Maintain my budget and find money to start putting away for college and retirement. I am known in my circle of friends for my budgeting abilities and am excited to finally be in the black. I hope to be able to write up and make available my budgeting tools and techniques.
  • Figure out what it is that I am passionate about
  • Explore new possibilities for my own self fulfillment
  • Learn how to be better to myself, my kids and my husband
  • foster my love of cooking and finally put all of my recipes on record.
  • Establish an exercise routine and lose this extra 30 pounds of baby weight.

This was just my first pass and I am sure they will expand and evolve as I go, but its important to put my expectations out there so I know where I am headed.