Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What's Your Motivation? I'm Overwhelmed

Over the past few months I've been thinking about what motivates me, and so far I've written about how deadlines help me to focus and get things done. As our family has made the transition into summer, I have become completely overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything that is going on.

A sample of my thoughts:
  • School's Out! My son is finally home from all-day kindergraten as of 3 weeks ago. This is great, because now the kids are around more to go out and have fun together. At the same time, hanging out and having fun with the kids takes up a lot of time, and sucks away any inclination I have to be productive.
  • The Landscaping Project: Our big household project for 2010 is focused on the outdoors. We have replaced the front stoop, buried rain gutter runoff pipes, raised and adjusted grade levels to improve drainage, installed rain barrels, enlarged the driveway, etc. I've been working on this project for almost a year, and for the past 3 weeks our yard has been a noisy, dusty construction site. Although the stonework and grading steps are finished, we have yet to plant any actual landscaping. I hope to post more about this project in the coming weeks, as I'm really excited about it, but recently it has been incredibly stressful and time consuming!
  • Beach Trip Preparation: We are off to the beach near the end of the month, and I need to get a few things ready, including a meal for 24 of my closest relatives.
These are just a few of the highlights of all of the problems, projects, and plans knocking around in my brain (and my house!). Lately I've been feeling like I've been running in place; I've been lost between a long list of possibilties and feeble attempts to make plans for implementation.

Finally I had to sit down and just clean out my brain. I took a small calendar and started making lists. Not just one list, but numerous lists. Whatever came into my mind that I needed to do, wanted to do, or wished I could do, I put it down. I didn't try to schedule it for a particular day, I just put it all together on an older page. You can see a picture of what I ended up with above.

One list is the official 'Things to Do' list, literally listing all of the things I need to do in the next few days, whether calling or emailing someone, errands, or things around the house. I also came up with a 'House Projects' list, which had more detail about things I need to do around the house that are more than basic upkeep. I also had a 'Wish List' which simply listed things that I wish I could have or do, from the beautiful flower bouquets I saw at the farmer's market to making my own flower garden for cutting flowers.  I even had a list of 'Things to Buy', including anything from household items to birthday gifts. If something occurred to me, I wrote it down. If it didn't fit in any of the lists I had started, I started a new list.

Writing all of this down was such a relief, because it took the pressure off me to remember everything, and it allowed me to prioritize and consider everything that I could be doing to help  me decide where and when I need to spend my time doing things. As a result, I had a reasonably productive day yesterday and made quite a bit of headway in a number of different areas.

There's still a ton off stuff to do, though!

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