Priorities


Clarity

Somewhere along the way, I’ve managed to adapt this outlook that my time isn’t as valuable as other people’s time.

It starts with  a particular problem I have in saying no.  Someone asks for help, I say sure without thinking.  Then I spend my time helping them get their goals accomplished and at the end of the day mine remain unfinished.

Why do  I put myself in this situation?  Then I end up mentally beating myself up over my  inability to get my own projects completed.  I review my list of projects and my schedule. Right between editing and writing there was this black hole of time that I gave  to individuals requesting help.  I know friends have warned me about this.  They’ve pointed out to me that I need to learn to say no yet when the ‘friend in need’ shows up, I give in and say yes.

It’s my own fault, not theirs.  After all if you could get someone else to do your work for you, wouldn’t you give it a try?  I might try, but then again that perfectionist part of me would have to micromanage everything they did to a point that I may as well do it myself,  then it would be pointless.

Since I can’t convince my children to do their chores, and the household things I am willing to hand off to others,  the remaining items on my to-do list are things that I wouldn’t trust  in anyone Else’s hands. Which leaves me responsible to handle them. *sigh*

New rules are going into effect as of today.

REVELATION #1:  My time is valuable.

REVELATION #2:  If I don’t make myself a priority no one else will.

REVELATION #3:  Everyone has the same number of hours in a day.

From this point on, I am going offline  for my designated writing/editing/rewriting time.  After all if I worked in an office environment, then I would not be online during my work day.

A couple weeks ago in  a marriage counseling session, the counselor asked me if I felt valued.  I was stumped.  I thought about that, and felt backed into a corner when he asked.  In my mind I had a replay of  the scene from Blade runner.  Yes, it’s complicated. I didn’t respond that way however, even though I felt suddenly panicked to give an answer.  After several minutes he decided to move on – thank God!

But it made me think.  Why is it that I value what other people do and other people for that matter over myself and my  goals?  What is it that makes me feel less valuable?

So here I am still pondering this point.  Value is a  tricky little word.  for me it’s loaded down with a ton of baggage. Baggage that is stamped with ‘worthless’, ‘less valuable’.  I’d like to say that  it’s not the case but it is.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have the issues I do.  Actions speak louder than words, and my actions are those of a people pleaser that feels less valuable. Value speaks of dollar amounts and self esteem.  It speaks of moral and spiritual significance, and how we fall short of the mark.

In thinking about it  over these past few weeks, I am   just as valuable as anyone else.  The difference is in my own perspective.  Sure things I went through as a kid, life experiences colored my perspective but the bottom line is we are all in the same human condition.

Who I am has value. Who you are has value. What we do has value. Our work has value.  One of the  projects that I was involved in for some time was  Storytime Trysts. I still believe that the premise of the blog was a great idea, and a great vehicle for gaining an audience for new and inexperienced authors.  However, some of the authors didn’t feel the need to  raise their bar to work with others.  some of the authors on the blog are exceptional.

There is a point though, when giving away your work for free cheapens what you do.  You wouldn’t go to your job and work for free for even one week, would you?  No, you expect to be payed for services rendered especially when it is the hard physical labor of your own sweat.

Coming to terms with my false misconceptions about my own value was eye opening, and shed light on why I’ve done certain things.   I hated the counselor that night, but now . . . I  get it.  I’m glad he  made me confront my demons. I’m sure  we’ll get to  the dysfunction of my mother/daughter relationship eventually.  I’ll just see if I can’t divert the focus on something else for as long as possible. After all,  self examination is a painful experience and I don’t get any anesthesia.

I am valuable.  My work is valuable. I matter to at least 3 people – my husband and daughters.  It’s high time that I gave myself the same respect I give others.

What about you? Do you value yourself?  Do you feel inferior to others?  Are you always saying ‘sorry’?  Are you always doing things for other people and running yourself ragged?  How do you handle it?  If you don’t have any issue or struggle with low self esteem, can you tell me how you handle the  barrage of requests?

Please leave  a comment – I’d like to get other people’s input here!

Write on my friends and know your worth!

 

Time Management Tips


I’ve admitted it before, and I’m revisiting it again!  I, Ellie Mack am an habitual time waster.  I was clean for about six weeks.  My last time-wasting spell was at 7 a.m. this morning.  It was only supposed to be for ten minutes while the computer came up and ran systems scan.  I thought I could handle it, just a couple of rounds of Bejeweled.  I could so beat my last high score!  *SIGH*

Two hours later, my work hadn’t even been started, nor had I written a word on my books or even this blog.  Apparently, I”m not the only one that suffers from time management problems.  Check out this article:  The Top 10 Time Wasters .  It’s epidemic!

Of the ten listed in this article, I would have to say the first one is my worst problem. Lack of planning, prioritising and focus.  I work from home in my day job, and of course for my writing as well.  It allows a latitude of freedom that is great, yet for the undisciplined (guilty here) it can be a mine field.

If I don’t make a plan, prioritize my list, and focus on what I”m doing I will get nothing accomplished.  Working in that frantic pace of “hurry up so I can mark at least one thing off my list before 6 p.m.” gets the adrenaline flowing, but it’s not a good way to work all the time.

My friend Cathy Brockman asked me to help her with time management, because I’m a list maker, and a prioritizing person, planning my projects.  Lean in real close here and I’ll tell you a secret. *Glances left and right, to see who’s listening*   The reason I do those things is because I SUCK at time management!

NO, seriously I do!  My undisciplined creative nature is like a child running wild in a candy store wanting more and more sugar to feed the monster!  Sometimes creative can be code for lazy, don’t wanna do it!

All you creatives   out there, I know the lies you tell yourselves. (Yes RCGale, I’m borrowing your term, ’cause it’s good!)  The justifications you make for hours on Facebook for “research” purposes or connecting , and building relations because I do it too.  Watching a ‘Game of Thrones’ Marathon isn’t research any more than 6 hours of Red Dwarf or Doctor Who.  It’s entertainment to sooth our creative side into thinking we need to think about that next scene or chapter.

Face it, we’re just being lazy and procrastinating!  Number 2 on the list by the way!  Not only could I teach y’all a thing or two about procrastination, I married the King of procrastination.  Even I get impatient with his procrastinating!

While masterfully avoiding responsibilities, and  procrastinating the work part of my work, there are these little surprises that I’ve learned to account for called interruptions.  (Right, number 3 on the list!)  Here’s the thing, when you waste your time through the first and second on the list and number 3 pops up, it’s easy to go into panic mode!  The built-in ease in the schedule has been consumed my reading every blog that every one of your friends post, playing Facebook games because you get points if you play every day, playing other games because you’re addicted to games, and using research time for entertaining yourself, an interruption can become a true crisis.

Jump to number 6, crisis management, and fire fighting.  Danger Will Rogers!  Panic mode because you’re having to spend your time putting out the unforeseen disaster:  power is out, unexpected visitors, family emergencies, and countless other crisis moments.  It’s one thing to have a “close to deadline” crunch time, it’s quite another to operate in panic mode.  It’s like trying to fix that leaky faucet and suddenly the faucet breaks spraying water everywhere at 75 lbs of pressure, flooding the bathroom, soaking through the floor and dripping through to the basement below, which happens to be right on top of the home theatre system, which shorts out all your electronics and starts an electrical fire.  Now you have to call the plumber and the firemen and the electrician!

Sound extreme?  It was!  King procrastinator was kicking himself for not addressing the small leak earlier when his electronics were lost!  A little planning and preventative maintenance can avoid true disasters.

Then of course you throw in the next one – lack of delegation. (We’re back up to number 4 keep up!)  I’m a writer, who am I going to delegate anything to, hmm?  Of course when I try to delegate household responsibility to the teens, it meets with complete resistance. ( I really think they should learn the Borg’s mantra “resistance is futile”. ) They will be assimilated into the collective hive of my order!

5 and 7 I think you can see the points in those for yourself.  Number 8: Not saying NO!  Yeah, um . . as much as I’d like to just skip this one it’s a big problem for me.  I’ve voiced my frustrations in the view others seem to have that all I do is sit at home and play games (Yes, I feel guilty when I do!) and eat bon-bons.  I’ve yet to have a bon-bon!  They think since I don’t go out of the house to a ‘real job’, then I am available to do their stuff!

Although I resent that attitude, it really comes down to me.  People will treat you like you allow them to treat you.  Also, if they can get you to do their stuff, their stuff gets finished and they feel good.  Meanwhile, you get further behind and frustrated because you haven’t completed your own stuff. They are delegating by getting you to do stuff for them, so you can either say NO or be caught in the loop of unfinished personal goals forever.

Practice with me now : NO!  Now didn’t that feel good? Practice it some more, maybe even in the mirror.  Before too long you’ll actually be able to say it to your spouse, the significant other, your children (it’s good for them to hear it sometimes) and eventually your BFF.

Number 9, we’ll address completely in future posts.  I happen to have a difference of opinion here.  A certain amount of “mess” is good.  A sterile environment is inhibiting, but there’s also a point where you can’t do your work without shuffling stacks of paper.  Really, look for further exposition on this in The Perfect Mess”, a future post.  (shaking head, shuffling papers off desk to get to screen.)

And finally number 10, Not taking enough time for yourself.  I have issues with this.  I have issues with my husbands view on this.  A trip to see his grandmother, taken with his mother, spending half our time in a nursing home is NOT a family vacation.  Time off from work spent doing household repairs because you’ve put them off until it’s a must do crisis is NOT a vacation.  Attending a seminar for 3 days,  staying in a hotel does NOT make a vacation.

Saving up all your vacation days to roll over the maximum amount in the event of layoff may provide a decent lump sum upon separation, but really is it worth the cost of strained relations within your family?  Count the cost always!

Spending every second inside the theme park until closing time when everyone is obviously tired, hot, and frustrated because they just want some down time, and a dip in the pool is NOT a vacation and borders on justification for torture.

A little time off once in a while, some down time is a needed rest.  God himself ordained one day of rest every seven days, who am I to argue with that?  Besides, time off becomes incentive to manage your time effectively the other six days.  It gives you a goal to work towards. I could get into the whole reward/punishment thing here, but I think you are intelligent enough to figure out your own personal balance.

What about you?  Do you struggle with time management?  Are you trying to fit ten days worth of work into six days, then beating yourself up because ‘the list’ is never completed?  Do you allow yourself downtime and vacations?  Are you able to form the word NO with your mouth?  Remember all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy!  Or a scary one.

I would recommend these articles as well. Time Management For Working Mothers,   Efficient Time Management,   and Take A Reality Check On Time.

Write on my friends, write on!