Thursday, January 31, 2013

P is for Productivity

We each get 24 hours a day to use how we wish.

Some of us squeeze a lot out of those hours. Some of us try to do things but feel like time gets away from us. Some of us piss those hours away and do nothing.

I am a productive person. If I'm not doing at least one productive thing on any given day, there are three possible explanations: 1. I'm dead 2. I'm sick 3. I planned it. I squeeze a lot out of my hours. I've honed my way of operating many times over the years, always looking to maximize my time. Being an efficient person is one of my strong points, but I always strive for better. Faster. More!

A lot of people ask  how I get so much done on a given weeknight. Or people comment on my weekend posts saying that I was busy, when I thought I had a lot of downtime. Or they think I'm a liar or a completely insane robot who should sit the hell down and stop doing things. In which case, you should stop reading now. There's nothing left for you here. The rest of this is for people who want to increase their productivity and efficiency.

These things work for me, and with little to no modification, they should work for you too. 

One. Plan your week. Plan the week out on Sunday or Monday or whatever works for you, and adapt daily as necessary based on what comes up. Plan what you're going to do, what you're making to eat, what you're wearing. Going into the week prepared will do wonders for you. I don't always stick to my meal plan or gear, but at least I know I have food to make and clean clothes to wear.

Do not assign 15 tasks to one day and expect to be successful. You're relegating your productivity to the shitter before you begin. Strive for three things daily in each area of  life. As an example, here's my To Do for today:

Work - year end letter - printer?, web changes, process events
Errands - Aldi, library
Home - clean bathroom, dust and vacuum top floor
Exercise - Walk with weights, stretchy band workout
Dinner - Soup (leftover)
Blog - Picmonkey collage for Friday post

Two. Do your biggest/hardest/most dreaded task first. If you do the small, easy stuff first, you'll enter Putz Around Mode and won't get to the big mama, leaving you feeling unaccomplished for the day. I know doing the hard stuff isn't fun, but sometimes life isn't fun. Just get it done. At work, my hardest tasks are the ones that involve creative writing or detailed editing - I do those best first thing in the morning when I'm sharp and focused. At home my most dreaded tasks are putting laundry away, changing the duvet, and dusting. I just dive right in, otherwise I'll sit around thinking about how much they suck and not doing them. Gets to stepping, people.

Three. Don't answer the phone, check your email or texts, or any of your social media accounts. Forget the internet and electronics exist. Turn the TV off if you can't trust yourself not to get sucked in. All of these things only serve one purpose: to delay you. On days you seem to be unable to get anything done, I bet you $100 it was due to outside interference. There are some days when you're okay with that - days you're piddling around the house. Other days, when you have lots to do and little time to do it in, those things will break your back. Concentrate and get it done. Work first, fun later.

Four. Be round. Work hard, designate time for relax/play, sleep well, eat well, be active, be kind to someone. Rounding yourself out daily makes it easier to be positive, and positivity gives birth to productivity.  Wow that sounds like an infomercial or chakra lady talking, but it's the truth. p.s. - being really pissed off and needing to DO something also leads to productivity. Channeling your rage can work in your favor. Roar. And clean while you're doing it.

Five. Develop a routine and get into a groove, and productivity will become second nature. Of course you don't feel like facing hard things, tackling big shit, or doing chores that suck. No one does. But when you practice discipline and get into a routine, you don't allow yourself the time to whine and wail. You'll be more productive than you ever dreamed.

1. At home, be it on the weekend or on a weeknight, I don't stop or sit down until I get everything done. I truly think that THIS is what enables me to get so much done. I get through all the not fun stuff so I can maximize my time on the couch with a book, magazine, TV, what have you. Pay before play.
2. Move quickly but carefully. Don't cut corners or half ass, you'll just have to do it again.

To the haters who think scheduling is for losers who can't be spontaneous, I've seen the fly by the seat of their pants approach fail too many people. I like to feel accomplished every day. That's important to me and how I operate. I have a long list of things I want to do in my life, and scheduling makes that happen for me. If scheduling doesn't make it happen for you, that's okay. Differences make the world go 'round. We can still be friends.

Do I sometimes just say EFF IT, throw my hands in the air, wave 'em like I just don't care, and disregard this? Sure. But that's not my norm. And that's why I get shit done. Boom.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Honey Bunnies vs the reality of relationships

Everyone knows them - the flawless relationship people. They walk through life publicly declaring their love and happiness, as if shouting it out will make it true every day. He's so great! We're best friends! Love of my life, every minute of every day! I believe he is great and that you love your life. But I don't think you're riding the bliss train 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

So I call bullshit. There's no relationship that's aces 100% of the time. And here's a secret: there's no need for you to pretend yours is. Your relationship is probably everything you want, need, and could dream of 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent can be ugly, but you're not alone and you don't have to hide it. You're not perfect, and neither is your partner. Sometimes you do things to hurt each other. That's certainly nothing to be proud of, but it's not a shameful secret either: we all screw up.

I'm not encouraging people to air their dirty laundry for all the world to see, and for crap's sake, keep it off social media. I'm saying it's okay to go a day without declaring you're the happiest in all the land. I'm saying it's okay to acknowledge that you're pissed off at your partner, or that you're disappointed.  It's okay to be real about the reality of relationships. When we stop pretending things are great all the time, we become more approachable. We understand each other better. We're able to help each other more. We're less inclined to judge others while trying to sweep our own pile of crap under the rug.

It's mostly women out there fronting for the benefit of other women. I think a lot of people are afraid to be real even with their friends because while they crave validation, they also cringe thinking of hearing how horrible whatever their partner did is, how their friend wouldn't put up with that, etc. They don't want their friends disliking their spouse over something they themselves are going to move on from pretty quickly.

The truth is that while we're comfortable spouting off about how we wouldn't put up with what our friend is dealing with, we do put up with other things that our friends wouldn't. While we all love to tell our friends what we would and wouldn't take, please proceed with caution. What your best friend and her husband fight about might be different than what you and your husband fight about, but the fact is this - everyone fights over something. Just make sure you fight clean and you'll get through it.We all eat a little shit. And we should remember that when we're being there for our friends. We're sometimes too earnest in rallying around a wounded bird. We cross the line and morph from a supportive sounding board to a harsh and unyielding judge.

I really try not to do that, but it is a fine line. I'm the friend people talk to when they want honesty. I'm the friend who will tell you that yes, your spouse screwed up, but we all screw up. I'm not going to hate on your spouse later for a mistake, because it's not my marriage, and because you don't want me to. Unless you get the big D, then I will hate all you want. And I am so so glad I have a few friends like that around me. If you don't have one, find one. Everyone needs one.

Because amid the fluffy clouds and happy butterflies that dot the landscape of our long-term relationships, there are bumps in the road. There are times you're not on the same page. When you're in it for the long haul, these things are not the end of the world. The every day bullshit you have to learn to navigate together can cause friction: housework, bills, who does what when, staying in versus going out, where you'll spend the holidays, if you'll have kids, how you'll raise your kids, and a million other things. Communicate, always, and you'll get by all of it.

Don't compare. Who cares what someone else has? Concentrate on what you have. Be cognizant of what powers your love machine and what you need to bring to the table to make it work. Because it is work, and it takes work to maintain a good relationship. If you've truly given it your all and it's not working, walk away. Everyone deserves happiness. But make sure you really have given it your all and you're not just being lazy about putting in the effort.

It's safe to say that you'll love each other every day, but in the middle of a battle of wills, you might not like each other every day. That's okay. It's not a comfortable or nice place to be, but nevertheless it's where we sometimes find ourselves. No relationship is perfect, just like no person is perfect. I think fitting perfectly together is what's important. In a relationship, you are a unit. But there's also two individuals who are constantly growing and changing, and sometimes you need a period of adjustment to each other's changes. Life is long, give yourself and your partner some time to adapt.

Since Dear Abby is dead, I thought I'd step in and give you all an unsolicited pep talk on relationships, friendship, reality, and how the illusion of perfection goes over like a shit balloon. You're welcome.

Speaking of relationships, make sure to catch my interview with MFD, my other half, here on Tuesday. He's quite a card so I'm sure it will be a worthy read.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Confessions of a Former Scrapbooker - and a giveaway

I used to scrapbook. Those books right there are my masterpieces. I slapped a pictures on every page and added embellishments and magazine cutouts and I loved it. Past tense. I don't scrapbook any more.

Why did I stop? Let me count the reasons.
1. Housing and organizing all the scrapbooking stuff made me crazy. I didn't have a whole room to dedicate to it, and that's what it would've taken for me to be happy with the organization.
2. I bought WAY MORE scrapbooking stuff than I could ever use. I cannot even tally the amount of money I spent on stuff I never used and ended up selling as a huge box at a flea market for $5 total.
3. Not keeping up with it made me anxious. I would order the photos from Snapfish right away, and they'd pile up in their little accusatory stacks of envelopes, taunting me for not doing anything with them.
4. At the end of every year I'd be a crazy fool, my butt bones hurting from sitting on the floor for eight hours at a time, glue all over me, paper bits scattered everywhere, racing against an invisible deadline to get them done.
5. I glued pieces of things to my dog by accident. That was funny, but also, yikes.
6. Everything leaned towards the digital.

I stopped ordering photos unless I was going to put them in frames. I stopped arranging them on a page in a book where people could pore over them. I started ordering photo books here and there from an online source that was running a sale. My paper scrapbooking days were behind me.

Enter My Memories Suite. It's a digital scrapbooking software. I didn't even know such a thing existed. After downloading the scrapbook software , I played around with it this weekend. It was overwhelming at first. So many choices! So many things you can do. I used one of the My Memories Suites packages to create this book on a whim, just pulling a few old photos I collected in the past month. I'm going to add some family history text to each page. I thought it would be a cool way to display some of my favorite old photos.

And of course I had to create a page for my dogs. They are my furry children. What kind of mother doesn't create a page for her kids? I designed this template on my own. I'm not arty farty, so if you laugh, no worries. Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride (name that tune).

You can also create your own photobooks, which I'm in the midst of doing. I like that it offers way more customization than anywhere else I've seen. You can do calendars, cards. The possibilities are endless.

If you're a scrapbooker, this is totally up your alley. If you're not a scrapbooker, you'll like this as well. This would be great for making gifts for people, to chronicle your year, to keep track of your baby's milestones, etc. Endless possibilities - another way of saying the possibilities are endless.

Pros: scrapbook creation without the work, lots of choices, easy to customize, fun
Cons: Long time to download

You can get $10 off using the code STMMMS39272 at My Memories Suite.

It's time. My first giveaway. My Memories Suite gave me a software package to review, and they also gave me one digital scrapbooking software kit to give to one lucky blog reader. Please enter below! This giveaway ends on Sunday, you can tweet about it daily to increase your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, go forth and create.

And check out Chelsee over at Southern Beauty Guide. She was nice enough to nominate me for a Liebster. Thank you thank you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday what what - Five days, five shoes.

TGIF mofos. If you're new here, know this: my Friday posts are normally frivolous, and I don't wear heels. I'm mildly obsessed with flats. And I don't always post girly things. Nevertheless, my shoes of the week:

1. Unisa - I got it at ROSS. This is a commercial, no? No. Okay.
2. Betsey Johnson - 
3. Old Navy
4. Unlisted - Macy's, 456 years ago
5. Soda -

This week was a stage five clinger - it hung on like nobody's business. 

I foresee a hibernation weekend ahead in my house. Although I will venture out for Saturday morning zumba, and while I'm at it I should hit the dry cleaner and get my oil changed. You know...the fun, sexy errands.

Whatever you're doing, have a good one! See you here on Monday for TWTW (the weekend that was deserves an acronym by now, I think).

Linking up with From My Grey Desk and The Sowell Life

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snarky Thursday

One of my favorite television clips of all time is the inimitable 
Olivia on Toddlers & Tiaras whispering,
"I.don'" in her mother's ear. Hilarious. 

Things I don't like this week:
  • Women's dry cleaning is more expensive than men's. Hate.
  • Weight is so much easier to put on than it is to take off. 
  • Being out of shape. Last night, I popped in the Jillian Michaels DVD. Her name should be Killian Michaels because is a beast with a snarl, but she kicks ass. If I wasn't so out of shape I would be able to sit down on the toilet or lift my arms over my head without cringing. No one's fault but my own!
  • The first sentence of a blog post often paralyzes me. I spend too much time dicking around with it. It's like going on a first date. Should I say hello or just enter into it? Is this moment serious or flippant? Overthinking ruins blogs and dates. 
  • Receiving one zillion game requests on FB. I don't play the games, people. I don't play the games. In fact, I've hidden the games, but I keep getting the invites. 
  • People who manage to make themselves victims in every situation. 
  • I'm all out of Homelands to watch for what appears to be a very long time. SHOWTIME, give me some new episodes for the love of all that is holy.
  • Snoring. Between MFD and the snuffly pugs, I need ear plugs.
  • Multimedia. MFD and I have been together for 10 years, and he still plays something with noise on a phone when the TV is on, which drives me batshit crazy. At least at this point all I have to do is yell, "MULTIMEDIA!" and he mutes the TV. So there's that. 
  • People who stand at the top of the steps that lead down to the train platform looking at the board as people are running right for them like their ass is on fire to catch their train below. Someone is going to fall and I really hope it's not me. Although falling is funny.
Let's end on a good note:

1. This blog now has a Facebook page. Please go and like the hell out of it. Thank you.

2. Christina at Easily Entertained is celebrating her birthday on Sunday. And in an act of kindness, instead of gifts, she's trying to raise money for charity:water. This is such an important and worthy cause. Please go here and donate if you're so inclined. You can't imagine how much of a difference a $5 donation can make to people who don't have access to clean water. 

If you donate, head back to her blog and enter her giveaways. You donate and people get free water AND you get a chance to win prizes. Winner winner, chicken dinner, framily. Go get it. 

Linking up with

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's in the bag

Hold the phone: I switched purses. I don't do this as often as I'd like to. I have a lot of purses I love, but I tend to forget and just keep going in the one I'm in. I've been using the black Coach since September, and since I was wearing my new mustard shoes on Saturday, it inspired me to go to my mustard purse. While I'm not that person who matches bags to shoes - although I wish I did it more - it is what usually prompts me to initially make the purse switch.

Now, for the burning question: what's in my purse? I am one of those weird people who is always interested in what other people carry with them. Christina at Easily Entertained did a post like this, and I said next time I change my purse, I'm on it. Well friends, the time has come.

1. My wallet - I've been using this one for almost a year. I like those birds. The bird is the word. It's probably time for a new one though. Guess what? This wallet also currently contains $17. This is very rare. I never have cash.

2. Trident cinnamon is my go to gum.

3. Wet Ones. Sometimes I clean my car dash with these at stoplights.

4. 2012 - 2014 purse size planner. This keeps my dates only, no To Dos or anything of the sort. Yes, I have an iPhone and a computer. I still use paper. It's my woobie.

5. My trusty train pass with my building access card behind it. I've been carrying those in an orange and pink luggage tag with the letter S on the front for five years. It is beyond time to get a new vessel to carry those babies. And my work keys.

6. My Casio Exilim and my notebook. Not pictured but always on me: my texting phone, my iPhone, and a pen.

7. Also not pictured, but always in there: the book I'm reading and a bottle of water. I cannot be without a book or a drink. Mama needs a big bag.

8. This is what's serving as my hand cream right now. I need to go to a richer one for winter.

9. Neosporin lip health is always in a zipper pocket, never in my makeup bag. That Be a Bombshell gloss (in Hot Mess) escaped from my makeup bag.

10. My makeup bag. It's washable, because it gets totally gross.


Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey
Clinique Chubby Stick - Graped Up
Clinique Different Lipstick - A Different Grape
Baby Lips - Grape Vine
Baby Lips - Cherry Me
Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Color - Italian Rose
Five lip liners - two Palladio, two Avon, one Jordana
Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss - Midnight Cowboy
Escape purse size
Hair tie
CoverGirl compact that I use just for the mirror - the powder is vampire colored
MAC Lipstick - Capricious
MAC Lipstick - Snob
MAC LipGlass - Viva Glam VI
MAC Pro Longwear Lipglass - Boundlessly Beige

It would seem that I have a thing for lip products. Because aside from a mirror, a spot of perfume, and a hair tie, there's no makeup in there that is not a lip product. 

What's in your purse or man bag?

Linking up with Helene for Tell Me About it Tuesday.

Helene in Between

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