mousme: A text icon in pale blue that reads Winter is Coming (Winter is Coming)
 I got absolutely nothing of value done today. I don't know why I'm in such a contrary mood lately, but I think it might be attributable to the fact that I had no choice but to pack and move house in the last couple of months, and now I'm in a "you can't make me!" phase as a reaction to that. Is it productive or reasonable? NOPE. But there you go.

In short, there's not much to report on. I decided to treat myself to several trade paperbacks of The Walking Dead, so that's my light reading sorted for the next couple of days, I hope. There are also a bunch of new TV shows that I want to try, as well as some that I'm not caught up on. I haven't yet watched Critical Role from last night, and I probably have a few episodes each of Criminal Minds, Elementary, and Blindspot left to watch.

Speaking of Criminal Minds, a few weeks ago I decided to give Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders a shot, and dear God, it is BAD. Not even Gary Sinise can save that Americano-centric, xenophobic piece of garbage. If any of you were planning on watching, do yourselves a favour and avoid it like the plague. I am reasonably tolerant of rah-rah-MURICA stuff when it comes to police procedurals, but this takes it to several new levels of shit sandwich, and it was way too much for me to stomach.

Oh, and on the topic of trash fires, allow me to extend my condolences to my US friends on the passing of the AHCA, in which apparently being a woman is a pre-existing condition and precludes you from getting medical insurance of any kind. I exaggerate only very slightly, which is the sad thing. I can only hope it will be heavily amended in the senate, and that in 2018 all the Republicans who voted for it will be booted out of office. If any Democrats had voted for it, I'd say boot them too, but none of them did, so. I've done most of my yelling about this on Twitter, so that's all I'll say about it here.

Back to TV! 'Cause that's way more interesting... or something. Anyway, yes, lots of new TV shows coming up: Sense8 Season 2 just landed on Netflix, and I'm pretty excited, although an Indian friend of mine has indicated that it is handling the Indian politics aspect of the show in a very worrying way. I've been trying to do my own research as a result, just so I don't come at it with a completely uncritical eye. I am pretty happy about the queer representation, but the fact that many Indian people are indicating that it appears to be supportive of far-right religious extremist politics in India means that the queer representation should not give it a pass.

 Less politically worrying (thus far) is American Gods. I loooooved the book by Neil Gaiman when I read it, and so I really hope that the show will be just as good. The casting appears fantastic, anyway. The same goes for The Dark Tower series (Idris Elba, y;all!). Both of those have either just started or are scheduled to start soon, I'll have to check the dates to be sure. Of course, there's also The Handmaid's Tale, another book I loved (even though it made me want to slit my wrists), but I may need to watch that with a lot of alcohol, given the current political climate.

My summer popcorn shows are coming back, too! Killjoys is coming back for Season 3, and Wynonna Earp, which I just discovered a few weeks ago, is getting a Season 2! They're from the same Canadian showrunner, the one who brought us Lost Girl, and they both do well as low(ish) budget genre TV, with good overall representation and quirky, fun writing. I am looking forward to seeing the stories unfold!

And now, work calls. I'll be working night shifts all weekend. Whee.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Virtual Timbits!)
I have been a terrible person to be around lately, both online and in person.

I'm going to try much, much harder to be better than I am. I kind of lost track of my goals in the last few weeks, especially once I started looking for another place to live, but even before then.

My resolution not to complain has been a total bust so far. I just can't seem to help myself. Resolution #1 is to try harder not to complain. I have it pretty good, especially when compared to most. No more complaining, self. This is the last post in which you get to do that.

I also have not been good at doing basic things to ensure good health. My eating habits are... well, they're okay but not great. I already decided to try the mason jar salad things, and in the interest of promoting better health, I'm going to try a few things in the coming weeks.

  • Walk 30 minutes a day. Preferably shortly after "breakfast," but otherwise whenever I can squeeze it in. Take the dog with me when I'm home so he gets some exercise too.

  • Stop drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee especially)

  • Cut back drastically on my sugar intake

  • Plan healthy meals for myself when I'm on my own

  • Take my vitamins/supplements every day

I am going to make a more concerted effort to clean and tidy both my living spaces. I've been doing maintenance rather than in-depth cleaning (like dishes, or surface cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom), and I need to do a lot more than that. I will have to find a way to keep myself accountable for this, but I haven't thought of a good way to do that yet. Related to this, I need to finish organising the books in the bedroom and do another sorting of my clothes to get rid of some of the things I don't wear or that's too old or that doesn't fit anymore. I have overall too much stuff that's taking up too much space in the house, so I'm going to try to cull unnecessary things in the coming months. I guess it could be considered spring cleaning/reorganisation. :)

I've been letting myself sleep in on the days I'm home, sometimes not getting up until 07:30 or nearly 08:00 when the rest of the family is up at 06:00 or 06:30. This needs to change. I'm going to set a (very quiet) alarm for 07:00, to make sure I'm not oversleeping, because these days there is no way I can drag myself out of bed before then without an alarm.

I am also going to work a lot harder to find additional sources of revenue.

No idea if any of this is going to work, but I'm damned well going to try. Self-improvement for the win.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Tut-Kat-Amen)
I have missed knitting, and it seems to be one of the things I can do during my night shifts that won't be too intrusive when it comes to actual work. Mostly my night shifts are tranquil things, but when they get busy they get extremely busy, so it has to be something I can put down quickly and not worry about getting interrupted.

I'm thinking of doing a project for myself, which is a rare thing. Usually I knit for other people. But I've been looking all over for some suitable sweater vests for work, and I'm coming up blank. They are few and far-between in my size, it seems. Apparently if you're a plus size, you don't get to wear sweater vests. They are only for thin people. :P

I've found a pattern I like on Ravelry, though I shall have to buy it for $2.00 or so off Knitpicks. I'm not complaining, though. It looks beautiful, and that's less than I've paid for some iPhone apps. I may also get the yarn off Knitpicks as well, since it's pretty specific, but after that, if I want to make more, I'll hunt around for less expensive yarn. Overall, it's an expensive project, even if I can get it with free shipping. The sizing on this pattern does seem to include my size, from what I can see, so that's good.

Other things that I can do on night shifts, when my concentration (and work itself!) allows for it, is to read. I haven't had the time, the energy, and most importantly the focus to truly read of late. I think I read a handful of books last year, and the years before that. Partially the internet served as a distraction, partially for a while I was writing every spare moment I got, which meant no reading, but in the last year it's been more of a no time/no focus problem rather than anything else.

So I've set myself a lowball goal of reading 25 books this year, and set it up on Goodreads. (My username there is ratherastory, if anyone is interested) I like the site, and I've found some interesting recommendations there as I've started using it more. I'm keeping track of my reading as best I can, and with any luck that, too, will improve this year.

And no, don't worry, I'm not going to read when I should be doing family stuff or running errands. I'm not going to use it to procrastinate. The reading will be scheduled into the "me" time of the unschedule, and/or squeezed in during my down time at work and on lunch breaks. I can also read when I'm waiting in line for things, or in waiting rooms before appointments. Same goes for knitting.

Speaking of time and saving time, I've been trying to perfect the art of the Navy shower. I've managed to get myself down to 4 minutes and 15 seconds, but my goal is to get it under 3 minutes. When that's done, I need to work out how to whittle my shower/dressed/made up routine to under 20 minutes. Right now I'm managing a little over 30, which is okay but not great, and doesn't include the times when I have to blow-dry my hair. My hair is very thick and takes forever to dry, even with a blow-dryer. So I've mostly been letting it air dry, but that's a bit of a problem on very cold days like the ones we've had.

I'm trying to motivate myself with the notion that, if I'm not by myself, or if it's right before I start my workday, then that time isn't mine. So in order not to waste other people's time, I need to be more efficient. The longer I spend in the bathroom/shower/whatever, the more of other people's time I'm wasting, which is a big no-no. The way I see it, my brain doesn't really care about me, but it does care about not letting others down. So if I frame it as being about other people instead of being about me, then my brain kicks into gear and makes me get down to business. It's the same for getting up on time, either when my alarm goes off (on workdays) or when the rest of the household gets up (on my days off). Sleeping in means I'm taking up time that doesn't belong to me. The time that is mine is already set in the "unschedule," so all other time that's not scheduled sleeping time doesn't count as mine.

IDK, this makes a lot more sense in my head.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Lifetime)
I promise not all my entries will be about procrastination and the iProcrastinate podcast. However, today is not the day I won't be talking about that. Double negatives for the win!

I've been thinking about time, and procrastination, and what I'm doing with my life. Time is the one resource all humans have that is truly finite. It was Bob Dylan who sang that "he not busy being born is busy dying," and that rings very true. It's why laziness and sloth seem to be universally considered a grave sin—it's the waste of our most precious commodity.

So the question I've been asking myself is what I want to do with the time I have. I never seem to have enough, and yet I procrastinate on a lot of things, most of them work-related, but some of them life things that I need to deal with (usually government stuff, or things like organising my paperwork—always tasks that I usually find aversive).

The guilt we feel when we procrastinate, according to Pychyl, stems from the fact that we are not being authentic to ourselves. We know we ought to be doing whatever it is we planned, but instead we're doing something else to avoid the task we currently find aversive. In order to mitigate the dissonance we're experiencing, we lie to ourselves about why we're procrastinating.

In my case, 90% of my procrastination stems from anxiety, usually because I'm convinced I won't do it properly. This ranges from my translation work all the way to filling out official forms. Yes, I know it's not rational. With forms I'm always convinced that after I send them in I'll end up with irritated government officials landing (metaphorically) on my doorstep to tell me I've done it all wrong and now they're going to take away all my things as punishment. I'll lose the house, or the car, or my job, or whatever. IDK, I did say it wasn't rational, right?

It's what my father always called la pensée magique. If I don't do it at all, then I can't do it wrong. What could possibly go wrong with that plan? ;)

So the order of the day is to make use of all the time I have. This is not a prescriptive thing, per se. There will be no melodramatic declarations of never spending time in front of the TV again when I could be outside climbing mountains or white water rafting, or whatever. I just want to make sure that I spend my time doing the stuff I actually planned to be doing. If I'm watching television, I want it to be because I want to watch television at that moment, and not because I'm putting off filing my taxes or avoiding my writing because it's stressful. If I'm surfing the internet, it's because that's what I want and planned to do, and not because I don't want to be shovelling the balcony.

In short, I want to try to use the few hours I have to myself every month to do things that I find useful and/or fulfilling. I don't want to be one of those people who finishes life with a boatload of regrets concerning things I never got around to doing.

Unrelated planning stuff under the cut )

Stay tuned for more posts later. I want to do one on weight and body image and health and What It All Means to me. Right now, though, I have writing to do. I have a little under an hour and a half before it's nap time.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Nuke 'Em From Orbit)
If I wait any longer to have the time to write this post "properly," it will never get done. So, instead of the mythical well-thought-out post, you are getting Phnee's Lame Attempt At Explaining Complex Concepts. ;)

This goes back to the iProcrastinate podcasts to which I've been listening. There's been a lot of discussion of willpower and what it is and what it means and how it can be used. It's all been quite enlightening for me, because up until now I'd never really paused to consider what will and willpower really are. Sure, I had a fuzzy notion of the words, and I figured that willpower wasn't really my thing, because, well, just look at my track record. :P

Pychyl has made a convincing case for willpower not being merely an internal resource of self-discipline. This is how we tend to think of it. However, this is not the case. Actually, I think I'm getting ahead of myself. Willpower is in part an internal resource of self-discipline, but it's better to think of it as a muscle than a finite pool which we are constantly draining and then need to wait for it to refill.

Willpower can be built up, much like a muscle. It's not an infinite resource, but one can add to it. Pychyl points out that many factors affect willpower: stress, lack of sleep, the time of day, and most importantly how much our willpower has already been taxed in a given day. If we've been exercising our willpower at work all day (trying to keep our cool so as not to blow up at our idiot coworker, ignoring the snack machine that's right there in the hallway, forcing ourselves to concentrate on a really boring report), then by the end of the day our willpower will be pretty much expended. Getting home and then thinking "Okay, now I should really go to the gym and work out and not sit in front of the TV with a beer" is less likely to produce the desired effect, because we're tired and our willpower has run out.

Pychyl points out that studies have shown that simply reaffirming one's values can have a beneficial effect. Reminding yourself that "I am dedicated to improving my physical health, and going to the gym will get me to my goal!" can sometimes be enough to get you out the door. (Not always, but it helps!)

The other notion he introduced (I'm summing up a bunch of different podcasts here, bear with me) is the one of extended will and distributed willpower. Screw it, I'll quote an article from his blog. Link is here.

The gist of the notion of extended will is that human rationality is heavily scaffolded. That is, our environment works to support our actions or to hinder them. As Heath and Anderson write in their chapter, "People are able to get on because they ‘offload' an enormous amount of practical reasoning onto their environment" (p. 233). As an example they note that "The most common form of offloading that we perform is to transfer segments of our working memory onto the environment. We write things down" (p. 235).

This made a great deal of sense to me. I've mentioned before that I've been having increasing problems with my memory, so I've been using as many tools as I can manage to cope with the problem. I write things down, I set reminders in my phone, I use sticky notes and the white board at home and my agenda to keep me on track. I write extensive notes at work, too, to keep me on top of things. So the idea that willpower could be analogous to memory was a bit of a revelation. Could there be tools to help me when my own tiny pool of willpower ran dry?

The key thing is that willpower is not simply an internal process, and we need to keep this in focus in order to be more strategic and successful.

There are a number of strategies one can implement in order not only to bolster willpower, but to bypass it entirely in order to perform the task.

1- We can reframe aversive tasks so they seem less repulsive, thereby minimizing our desire to procrastinate. (For instance, turning chores into a game)

2- We can create implementation intentions to help us manage our goals. "When X happens, I will do Y." (For instance: "When I walk in the front door in the evening, I will immediately take the dog for a walk instead of taking off my coat and boots.")

3- We can break down a task into smaller, more manageable ones. (Instead of doing ALL the dishes at once, I will first wash only the pans, then only the plates, then only the glasses, etc.)

4- We can use tools in our environment as a physical cue to get us moving, like putting our alarm clock on the other side of the room in the morning to force ourselves out of bed (if we have trouble getting up on time).

In fact, as Heath and Anderson write, "Getting things done becomes then a decided nonmentalistic matter of turning amorphous responsibilities into a much less intimidating pile of ‘widgets to be cranked'" (p. 249)

The idea, basically, is to take the decision-making out of the process. It's not "I now must decide whether to do this," it's the automatic process of "X just happened so now I must do Y and won't bother thinking about it."

The way I understand it, it's creating new sets of automatic habits, so that I can preserve my willpower for other, more important things in life. I'm going to be working on this for the next while, seeing where I can set up the kind of psychological scaffolding that will end up making my life a little more manageable.

I hope that made sense. :)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Postmodern)
I know, I know, this is still not the long post on willpower and extended will that I have been threatening to write for a few days now. I promise it will get written, possibly this weekend, time permitting.

Instead, I managed to squeeze enough time out of my day to work out my "un-schedule," or rather what a day typically looks like in the life of Phnee. I'm hoping this will help me manage my time better, now that I know what needs to be done on a regular basis. I've had to split my days according to categories, since everything changes drastically from one week to the next. There are seven different ways my days can go: regular day shifts, the first night shift, regular night shifts, first day off, off days that fall on weekdays, off days that fall on weekends, and the last day off.

I will put it all behind a cut, but I think having it written down will be more useful than trying to keep it all in my head. I found last week that making an unschedule for the days on which I was commuting was especially useful to help keep me on track. I was able to make much better time than I usually do.

Unschedule behind the cut )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Gone Out)
My new intention of spending no time on the computer when the family is home means that updating LJ is a bit of a challenge on days when I'm not home alone for several hours. I had other stuff to work on when I did have that time to myself today, and decided that should be my priority rather than updating LJ.

Still, I do want to honour my commitment to myself to update here every day, inasmuch as possible. Several of you have commented on my last post, and I do plan on answering. I may try to do so tonight after Bean has gone to bed, though I have presents to wrap and other things to get to during that time before I end up going to bed as well.

I'm making what I hope is a good faith effort to get more done with my days. As a way of not-coping with the added stress this past fall I have been spending too much time messing around online without doing anything useful. So I've been trying to do more chores for now, and when Christmas is past and I no longer have this big project to work on (supposing I can get it done in time!), I will try to structure my days even better so as to get back into writing and other things that are important as well as chores like tidying the house and doing the dishes and what have you.

Tonight I have promised Bean a game of CandyLand when he gets home from school (well, after dinner, anyway). Hopefully that will keep us going for long enough that [ profile] pdaughter can get some work done on his last Christmas present without his getting too curious about what she's up to. I'm hoping we can get through the game pleasantly and without tantrums, but he typically seems to reserve his "good" behaviour for school and is easily frustrated by, well, just about everything. So, fingers crossed for a generally pleasant evening!

I will check back in tomorrow if I don't get back online tonight. In the meantime, everyone take care. :)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Deeper than swords)
I've been trying to pin down a list of all the irrational, neurotic and dysfunctional beliefs I have, and the more I think about them the more I realise there are. Ack. /o\

I'm going to try to write them down, but I may have to come back to this list and add to it as they occur to me (see previous entries about memory problems). These are in no particular order, and some of them are more sub-thoughts of the main belief system in place. IDK, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm putting them behind a cut, because I'm pretty sure no one but me wants to see what a mess my brain is.

Neuroses behind the cut )

And that's a tour of the murky depths of my subconscious. Yeesh.


It's worth noting that I am not in any particularly deep psychological distress at the moment. I find the list depressing to look at, but I'm otherwise pretty much okay. Okay, carry on. :)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Winter Is Coming)
It's been snowing steadily for days here in Ottawa. It's a bit of a pain, because I don't have a driveway anymore, let alone a garage. I was so happy when I bought my house two years ago, because it meant I'd never have to dig my way in and out of snowbanks ever again. More fool me, it seems, since on the days it really counts I can't park in my own driveway anymore, and this will last for at least two more years. *sigh*

It's a temporary situation, but I'll be honest and say that two years of this feels like a very long time sometimes.

In the meantime, my no procrastination project is chugging along. I got a lot of stuff done yesterday (my Ontario paperwork, getting the oil changed in the car, all the fluids topped up, the tires checked and the windshield wipers replaced), and today I've got laundry on the go before I leave for work. I didn't make myself an "un-schedule" for today, because I only have two hours between the time I wake up and the time I need to leave for work. That left time for getting dressed, posting to LJ, washing the dishes, packing my meals for work, and getting in two loads of laundry. In fact, I underestimated the time it would take for laundry, and my second load won't be dry when I leave. I can only hope my landlord won't need the dryer tonight. :P

I don't think I will ever be a non-procrastinator, one of those terrifying (to me) people who always seem to get everything done in a timely fashion and never put off unpleasant tasks, so I'm hesitant to pronounce even this beginning a success. It's similar to alcoholism or drug abuse in that one is never recovered, only recovering. I've only been working properly on my procrastination for six days, so it's hard to say if this is just the euphoria of a new project talking, or a harbinger of true change.

On the plus side, if I fill my days with all my projects and things to do, I'll have less time to think about things. Or over-think things, depending on how you look at it. I already spend far too much time perseverating on a couple of different topics, so keeping myself and my mind occupied is a good thing. When I get overtired (which is all the time, these days), this tendency gets even worse fuelled by my own securities and tendencies toward paranoia.

I have a long list of closely held, totally irrational beliefs that I need to work on. I might come clean and post them here, maybe tomorrow. They're the kind of belief you internalise as a child and carry with you for the rest of your life, and if they're not constructive (as mine aren't), they can form some pretty strong neuroses. Since I'm determined to work past some of my issues, I'm at least going to have to work out what these beliefs all are, and then try to figure out how to either change them or work around them in the future.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (All Bendy)
The more I listen to Tim Pychyl's podcast, the more I like it. I wish I had the intellectual focus to not only retain what's being said, but to synthesise it properly in order to explain why I like it so much.

I tried a trick he suggested today (not his own idea, but a good one nonetheless), that he calls the "un-schedule." He did give the attribution for the idea, but I can't remember it. My memory is crap these days, which is a post for another day.

This notion rests on a couple of premises. The first is that we ("we" being "procrastinators" for the sake of this post) are poor predictors of our own future affect. "I'll feel more like this tomorrow," or "I'll get up early in order to get this project done," are things we tell ourselves when we procrastinate, but we're deluding ourselves in the process. We're predicting that our mood will somehow magically change in the future to suit the aversive task at hand. This is, of course, patently untrue.

The second premise is that we are also poor predictors of the future in general. Procrastinators tend to view "tomorrow" or other days as a blank slate, as if we don't have any commitments at all and the day is just one giant, gaping void of free time. The truth is that our days are filled with smaller commitments (and sometimes larger ones!) that take up a lot more time than we like to think.

The "un-schedule" therefore suggests that we schedule ourselves backward. Think about tomorrow, list ALL the things you do every day and how much time they take, and then work out how much time is actually left over. So if I were to list a day off work, I'd have to factor in, say, showering and breakfast and lunch and dinner and washing dishes and helping to wrangle Bean and all that stuff that doesn't even register as a to-do list. It's just stuff that needs to get done no matter what.

I've done it for tomorrow as an exercise, since I want to get my Ontario driver's license and health card organised before I go to work for my night shift. I've devoted the entire morning to it, leaving myself some free time in the afternoon as a contingency plan, even with everything else I need to do as a matter of course on a work day. I think the health card needs an appointment, but I'll take one when I'm there if I have to. What's more important is the driver's license and changing my car registration. Then I'll deal with switching my insurance over, hopefully after the claim goes through for the last little fender-bender I was in (*sigh*).

The un-schedule was an interesting exercise, and one I'll probably repeat in the future, to see how well it works for me. I don't think I can adequately judge how efficacious it is after just one attempt.

I'll likely be posting more about procrastination and other personal/mental health stuff in the future, since that's what's on my mind these days. Don't be surprised if that's the majority of what you see here for a while. At least I'm posting, right? :P
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Talk to Myself)
Two posts in a week! ;)

I'm logging on from work (I'm allowed to do that at my new job, within reason, which is a refreshing change), so I shall keep this relatively brief.

Part of my newfound productivity is a new resolution on my part to stop procrastinating. This is going to be a long-term process, as bad habits are hard to break and new habits are even harder to form. I've been listening to the iProcrastinate podcast by Professor Tim Pychyl (I hope I spelled that right), whose website can be found at I happen to find the website itself kind of klunky in its design, but thus far I love the podcast itself. It's just the right mix of theory (academic and otherwise) and practical applications thereof for me, and has already offered some very good insights into the phenomenon of procrastination.

The one thing that has stuck with me since I started listening a few days ago is the idea that the feelings of guilt that stem from procrastination are actually the result of living in a way that's inauthentic to one's true self. This hit really close to home, and hard enough that it made me sit up a bit in the car (where I was listening to the podcast) and think that, yeah, that sounds exactly right. Putting things off, especially important things (and isn't it always the important stuff on which one ends up procrastinating?) always ends up with me either in a mad rush, or crippled by anxiety (which in turn results in more procrastination), and that's not who I want to be. I also have a huge problem with perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking (they go hand in glove) which in turn leads me to procrastinate ("If I can't do it perfectly/all at once, then I won't do it at all!")

I'm not waiting until the New Year to work on my procrastination. I figure I'll take Pychyl's advice and "just get started." I do have some projects that I will wait until January to start, if only because I know I won't have the time and attention for them right now. January is just around the corner, in any event, so it's not like I'm putting it off indefinitely.

One of the major components of ending procrastination, according to Pychyl, is to make what he calls an "implementation intention." It's essentially a concrete plan for oneself, framed either as an approach or avoidance goal (the former being preferable to the latter), the more specific the better. So if, say, I want to become more reliable about flossing my teeth, the process might look like this.

1- I want to floss my teeth regularly in order to have a sparkling white smile and because my mouth feels nice when I do it (Approach goal. An avoidance goal would be "I don't want to get gingivitis or have tooth decay." Avoidance goals are, apparently, psychologically harder to stick with).

2- Every night after I take my toothbrush out of the glass but before I brush my teeth, I will put down the toothbrush and floss my teeth first. (This gives me a concrete set of steps that will allow this to eventually become an unthinking habit, something to work into my nightly routine, and by not making it the last thing I do, it makes it easier for me to follow through on implementing my intention.)

So because there are lots of things about myself that I would like to change (most of them small, some of them big, all of them important in some way), I'm going to be spending the next couple of weeks before the New Year coming up with not only a comprehensive list, but also coming up with a series of implementation intentions and strategies for the coming months. Changes need to be small and gradual, but also consistent.

The short list of stuff I have right now is as follows, in no particular order of importance:

1- Health habits (walking, eventually running, getting a grip on my mental health, etc.)
2- Writing (writing regularly, honouring writing commitments--fanfic and original--, finishing my work, submitting work for publication)
3- Knitting (working on more projects and rediscovering my enjoyment therof)
4- Family (spending less/no time on the computer when we're all home together)
5- Mindfulness (this may well fall under health habits, but I also want to focus on not letting negative thinking influence me as much)
6- Cooking (cooking more, mastering the art better, cooking more from scratch)
7- Housekeeping (keeping the house tidier than I currently am)
8- Work (actively pursuing career options, being more assertive about my job)
9- Friends (making a point of keeping in touch, which I am notoriously bad at)
10- Blogging (posting once a day, getting my thoughts organised, etc.)

Part of my resolution to post every day in the New Year will be my commitment to all these changes. I want to be accountable for the changes I'm trying to make, and the only way to do that is to put myself out there and therefore honour my commitment. In fact, one of the first implementation intentions I'm going to make is one regarding blogging.

It's difficult for me to form habits because of my irregular schedule. I can't say "Every day at X time I shall do Y thing," because on some days I work from 5:30am to 5:30pm, on other days I work from 5:30pm to 5:30am, on other days I don't work at all, and some days are spent recovering from a night shift. So a daily routine is next to impossible. That being said, I think I can still find a way to form good habits and to get into a kind of routine, just one that isn't as conventional as it might be. I just have to figure out what works and what doesn't.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Can't Cope)
There are days when I really wish I was one of Those People™.

You know the ones, those who find stress motivating. When they have something stressful they clean their house from top to bottom. They go to the gym and run on the treadmill to blow off steam. They compulsively organise their paperwork. They only eat healthy foods because they're too stressed to manage anything heavier.

I'd love to be one of those people, but I'm not. Add stress and all you get is me doing the metaphorical equivalent of curling up in a ball in the furthest, darkest corner of my house and Not Dealing™. I procrastinate, let things get out of hand, eat the wrong foods, and generally do things that only add to the stress, and thus it becomes a vicious cycle.

What I want to know, therefore, is how the hell to become one of those people. Is it even possible? Are there classes I can take? A pill that will do that? ;)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Anatomically Impossible)
I am having a shitty month. So even though I don't post much as a rule, I will likely be posting even less for a while.

I have the completely unhelpful reaction of "Not dealing, can't make me," when it comes to outside stressors. Yes, the head-in-the-sand method that has worked so well for so many others is now serving as my guideline.



If anyone can figure out how to make money spontaneously drop from the sky into my lap, please drop me a line. Otherwise, I implore you to be patient until I have my head surgically removed from my posterior, where it appears to be lodged these days. *headdesk*
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Random Sentences)
I can't believe how fast this year is going by. It feels like it just started a couple of weeks ago, and yet Hallowe'en is on Saturday, November is just around the corner, and in nine weeks I'm going to be 31.

I am working at not procrastinating on things. This is harder than it sounds for me, as I long ago perfected my procrastination techniques to the point that they're now a form of higher art. So far I'm doing so-so. I'm no longer procrastinating on some things, but others are still falling by the wayside. It's a work in progress, I guess.

I'm doing better on the workout/police prep thing. I won't bore you with the details here, but suffice it to say I am optimistic.

I'm working the admin position today, something I haven't done in months. I'm actually kind of enjoying it so far. There's no radio here, and I'm supposed to focus on the faxes and paperwork, which is a nice break from the operational stuff. Considering I lost patience with a caller yesterday (first time in months), I think I was overdue for a change of pace.

In other news, I went to bed early(ish) yesterday and am still tired. No fair.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Serious Face)
I've been meaning to read this book on procrastination, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.


Jun. 12th, 2008 11:24 am
mousme: An RCMP officer in ceremonial uniform swinging around a horizontal bar. (Maintain the Right)
I thought that becoming a dispatcher would reduce the amount of paperwork I had to do at any given time. More fool me, as it turns out.

I am almost all caught up on the stuff I left unfinished before my trip. I finished the meeting minutes at 20:30 or thereabouts yesterday, and I just finished amending my time sheets and filling out compensation forms. The plus side is that the net result of filling in time sheets and compensation forms is that I will soon be receiving a visit from the Overtime Fairy in the form of a bunch of cheques in my name. Whee! No extravagant amounts this time (like the time I charged for a full 46 hours of overtime in one pay period), but a nice little "oomph" to the bank account nonetheless.

I have found out (not that this comes as a great surprise, mind) that on weeks when I'm working day shift, I have to make a point of going to bed quite early (21:00 or earlier, even), lest I oversleep in the mornings. For the past two days I've been getting to bed too late, and I've overslept twice. I've managed to be at work on time, but I don't like rushing that much in the morning: it unbalances me for the better part of the day.

I'm having a little trouble finding my motivation, as well. I have a bunch of projects and especially things to do before the Big Move (which will happen presumably in the late summer or early autumn), but can't seem to get myself to do it. I have always been a master procrastinator, but have yet to master the art of structured procrastination, which seems like a pretty good use of my time, if only I could get around to it. :P

As the saying went, back when I was at university: Procrastination is an art form.

Mostly what I'm lacking motivation for is the whole "housekeeping" thing. Which is weird, since I'm actually feeling kind of enthused by the idea of having a clean home. I just haven't quite got the knack of coming home and getting right down to tidying. Mostly when I get home I just want to flake out with my cats and my computer (or a DVD, or a book, or whatever). In theory, I know that motivation follows action. It's just... the action part that's proving trickier than I thought. Maybe it's just demand-resistance. What do I know?

So, given that my flist is generally more functional in these matters than I am, how do you handle this sort of thing? Are you one of those depressing people whose motto is along the lines of "Just Do It," or do you have a system that works for you that you can actually describe? This isn't necessarily about cleaning, btw: it's about work, or chores, or anything that doesn't qualify as entirely "leisure" (i.e. implies some sort of obligation).

Inquiring minds want to know. :)


mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Default)

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