The Challenge of Staying On Track

The Challenge of Staying On Track

Uh Oh, I just “caught” myself playing another game on the computer. It’s a jigsaw puzzle program that I use to inspire my creativity. At least that is what I tell myself. If I get stuck on a project, I slip over and put in just a few pieces. Ok, sometimes more than a few pieces.

But what I find happens when I step away too long,  is that my project, writing and my focus slips behind. And that got me thinking about what else is lagging. What other things do I have on my to do list that I am not doing?

I’m not talking about the dishes or laundry. I’m talking about the commitments, both personal and professional I made that I know will improve my life. Exercise for one. Keeping that promise to myself to walk 20 minutes every day plus some stretching and toning exercises in my pursuit to get fit.

Organization is another one of my challenges. I have a stack of business cards to enter into my computer. Then there are emails to respond to and phone calls to keep track of and the calendars! Data entry is not my favorite task, but that aside, which program do I use. I have tried so many different ones that haven’t been the one with the bells and whistles I need. I’m not that complicated, but some of the programs or apps I have tried have been, and it overwhelms me.

But my biggest challenge is working from home. I look up and see a million things that need to be done from housework to home projects to the weeds creeping into the garden and I am distracted and diving into that puzzle once again.

It’s time for a new plan. One, that will keep me organized and productive. Because frankly, the plan I have (or really don’t have) is akin to being on a hamster wheel – I’m moving but getting nowhere.

Here are the 3 things that helped me get back on track.

Get An Accountability Partner- Find someone to hold you accountable, but make it a two-way street. If you can help them with something too, it becomes a win-win situation. It can be a task list or chart that you email daily or weekly. They don’t have to live next door. But if they do and they have the same goal you do (exercise for example) you might be able to meet to accomplish the goal together. This can work for any kind of activity – it’s just a matter of checking in and sharing your progress

Ask Others What Works For Them – Instead of trying out every new thing that comes along, or trying to evaluate all the options, ask your friends and colleagues what has worked for them and why. I finally found the perfect program to manage my contacts and projects with ease, simply by checking in with busy people who rely on products like these every day. It helped narrow down the choices to just a few to try out and I don’t have the overwhelm of too many choices on the menu anymore.

Work In An Environment Conducive To Getting Things Done – My home may be my castle, but it is not the best place for me to get work done that is not home related. While many people can work effectively from home, I know that I need a different scenario. Some people may find that inspiration in a busy coffee shop, others might seek out a co-op workspace or a library. I ended up joining a business club that has general as well as private work areas depending on what my needs are for the day. What matters is finding a place that suits your own style that allows you to be inspired, productive and feel good in the process.

Our lives get into a routine that can be exciting or feel boring and we often have to mix it up a bit. I’m not getting rid of my computer jigsaw puzzle just yet, but I don’t use it as a go-to excuse when I’m stuck. Instead, I look for inspiration with and from others and, by putting myself in a place where more inspiration happens.

Photo: Flickr

3 Things I Wish I Had Done With My Dad

3 Things I Wish I Had Done With My Dad

I am sitting in my favorite chair, listening to the birds chirping madly away in their morning reverie and thinking of my dad. How he loved the birds that played in his back yard. He constructed feeders for them and would point out the cardinals and blue jays that would swoop in to eat, competing with the squirrels that thought the food was theirs.

I have so many great memories of times with my dad. He loved puzzles, road trips, cracking jokes, silly puns, and gardening. I love all those things too and truly wish I had spent more time with him in those activities.

Moving my parents to an Assisted Living Facility was life changing for both of them. The backyard birds, the gardening, their car, and many of the things dad loved went away. I left the bird feeders up at their place, but now wish I had brought them to my house.

When someone you love is ill, as my dad was with Alzheimer’s, you often forget about maximizing the time together. It’s easy to get caught up in caring for them while you are still running around maintaining your own schedule and busy life.

If I could spend some more time with my dad, I would carefully maximize every moment, even if it meant just hanging out together enjoying each other’s company.

Here are 3 things I wish I’d done to make most of my time with my dad.

Preserve the Memories

Journal their stories, or record an audio or video version. I wish I had used a tape or video recorder to capture his memories. I can’t pick up the phone to call him anymore to ask about a relative or event I am fuzzy on, or one I heard him tell me in my much younger days.

Create Meaningful Memories While You Can

Take the time to take that road trip or whatever activity is important to them. We get so caught up on our lives, with work and taking care of our home and running our own kids around. My dad wanted me to try out for Wheel of Fortune with him and I was too busy. What a memory that would have been!

Learn from Him

Dad love to woodwork and I have a charming cabinet he made. He was a bit of a handyman who also taught me how to hang wallpaper, change a tire and the oil in my car. But he always wanted me to learn to play Bridge, his favorite card game. He would travel to tournaments around Florida and sometimes to other states. I wish now I had learned to play from him and with him. We could have combined that hobby and a road trip and gone to a tournament together!

I realize now how precious my memories are. I think that is why I love to connect seniors to their memories.

My son and daughter-in law will be home in a few weeks. They along with my husband are big bowling fanatics and I’m not. But I decided to go with them to watch, laugh, take pictures and make some memories we can all cherish.

Previously published on The Good Men Project

Photo: Flickr