Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Figuring it out. With bonus brunch recipe

I am one week into my new routine.
I am working on these goals: stronger willpower, more family closeness, and more productivity.

Stronger willpower. I had some ridiculous successes in this one! I went to bed early every night. I got up before 6 am. I was sick on Friday and I still pushed myself to work. I was still sick this morning and fully intended to sleep in, but then this little voice pushed me awake, and we went to church. We have started attending a new (to us) church. 

This is a huge thing for me. I have been so burned by religion in so many ways, that to reach out to one and want to go, especially when sick, is enormous. I have been meditating nightly. 

Other goals to work on in this: eating better, spending less money, and exercising more.

More family closeness. I feel like we had a really good week. A lot of good and productive talks. The sermon today was on the importance of being present. That spoke to me and I am trying to do less multitasking and more single tasking. This week we plan to spend time with each boy and help them come up with their own goal sheets and plans. 

Goals to work on: continue setting and enforcing boundaries with them, having game time, and cooking together more.

More productivity: Sticker charts for the win! I am embarrassed at how motivating my little charts have been. I have also been working on forgiving myself when I don't achieve some arbitrary standard. I have been remaining off of social media and news sites almost completely during the week. I am using Rescue Time  and am allowing myself to get competitive with me. 

Goals to work on: sticking with it now that the semester has begun, getting up at 5:45. And the big one: carving out reading time. I have books I want to read on productivity, parenting, and generally being a better person. I also want to read for fun. I don’t seem to have time for anything but the quickest reading right now. Although I do tend to sit on the couch quite a bit from 6 am until about 7:30. Maybe I should bring a book with me. But I would also like to make that a more mobile time. Hmmm….

My big burning question still remains: how do people accomplish all the parts. 

I know there are people that do. People who are achieving adequate levels of exercise, work productivity, family time, household organization, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and fun time. How does that happen? I have been working like a dog to get my work productivity on tap, but I still have some organizing to do in the house and garage. And the house overall isn't as clean as I think it should be. And I want to cook more. And I haven't really left the house socially hardly at all this week. These don't feel like giant, lofty goals, and yet I can't fit them all into my week.

Next week I will tell you about my new color coding system. I am pretty excited about it. But I will leave you with a recipe that I made up on the way home from church. Luigi helped me make it and it was delicious.

Egg Bake
Greased 9X13 pan. I am not 100% sure about the cook temp and time. We did 25 minutes, then 10 minutes at a time until it was done. Started at 350, then turned it up to 400. I would say start at 400 and start checking about 25 minutes in. It is done when the eggs aren’t runny.

Lightly toast 3 English muffins. Put them down as your first layer.
Pour 1 cup half and half over the muffins.
Sprinkle chopped spinach and sliced mushrooms over the cream.
Layer thin sliced ham or other lunch meat of choice, to cover spinach.
Crack 10 eggs over the ham, evenly distributed.
Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on eggs.
Sprinkle fresh cilantro over cheese. I also added a Mediterranean spice blend and some salt and pepper.
Bake until done. So easy and so good. I am going to try to do it as a make-ahead next Saturday night.
Not the prettiest dish in the world, but we didn't mind

We were going to add potatoes, but realized they would need to be cooked for longer. So Luigi sliced them thin and fried them on the side.
I hope everyone has a splendid week!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Easing into it

I didn't get up at 5, but I was out of bed by 6:04 am, which is really impressive for me. Especially impressive when you realize it is still dark at 8 am. :( There wasn't even a sunrise, just clouds. I will give myself one here:
photo: http://www.parkerfordchurch.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Sunrise.jpg

I am going to keep inching my wake up time earlier until I hit 5.

I apologize to all of my readers that I keep forgetting about this blog until school is out. I like blogging and should try to be better about keeping it going.

This seems like the silliest thing, but I am finally (4 1/2 years in) approaching my graduate school work like a 9-5 job. When working from home with little outside accountability, it is easy to let the work slide. First thing is class needs: prepping classes, grading assignments, responding to students. Next is family matters: appointments, shopping, planning, housework. Then there is the dreaded magnificent distraction machine- facebook, email, news, news, news.
photo: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/56858014019328823/

I have given myself a paradigm shift. I am accountable to me as my boss. On the days that I am home on weekdays, I have to give myself at least 6 hours of uninterrupted work on either articles, projects, or dissertation. It sounds simple, but I have to tell myself this. I can take breaks, but I must do at least an hour of work 6 times per day. This week I have 5 days (today was my first day and I accomplished my goal). Next week I will only have two days. I will have to find strategies to work productively in my open shared office.

photo: http://tamikamiablog.com/tag/priorities/

I am doing a hard thing: I intend to finish a PhD in 6 years, while working as a TA or RA every semester. My thesis was qualitative, which takes longer than quantitative, and my dissertation is mixed methods (which takes longer), using two time-intensive methods-self-designed survey and interviews. I am also doing all of this while raising three kids (although not alone on that, thank God) with very little hands-on social support, and three moves, while supporting a husband who is dealing with depression, his own school, and a shaky job situation/career path. None of this is easy. But I am on track to finish on time, and I intend to do so, while also getting a good job in place. In order to do all of this and survive, I must buckle down and get some discipline. Which is why I am turning in at 9:45 pm (striving for 9, I will get there). Good night!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Whack a mole

We are at the whack a mole part of the new paradigm.
I spent much time cleaning the kitchen, but haven't gotten everyone on board yet, so while I am doing something else, they mess the kitchen and don't clean after themselves. I spent time organizing the living room, meanwhile the laundry has piled up. Now there is laundry to wash, dry, fold, and put away. Lving room looks great, but laundry has popped up and needs a whack. But we are also trying g to get to bed earlier, which means no laundry folding tonight. Meanwhile, my schoolwork mole has popped up and I have interviews to do, stuff to write, research to do. But then there is the exercise mole. And the spending time with kids doesn't happen all by itself. And to get the house in order, there are certain things that need purchasing. But I am also trying to save money.
Throughout all of this, I am sticking to a few main goals. Focus on serenity. Breathe more, yell less. Start each morning with a motivational video, end each night with meditation. Believe it or not, these things are helping. 
I have created a vision board (feels a bit hokey, I have never done such a thing, but I am up for trying new things this year). Seeing goals can really help, I think. I have also made myself a daily goals board, complete with stickers. And now, thanks to this blog post, I get a sticker for my writing goal today :) and here are some of the books I intend to read through this year.
This is me, starting somewhere.
I hope everyone has a great week this week.