Aug 26, 2012

Get It Done

I wrote this post for work.  Told the blog cop I'd like to write one on getting it done, then it took me 12 weeks to get it done.  Oh well, better late than never.

Single parents must carefully guard our time to ensure everything gets done.  There’s a lone wolf to tackle the stack:  work, school, cooking, cleaning, mowing, house projects, shuttling the kid around and handling insurance, savings, doctor visits and bra talks. 

Here’s how I get it done.


What Matters to You?
Before trying to figure out how in the heck to get everything done, it’s important to decide what matters most in life.  This shapes how we direct our time and activities.  Where our heart is, so is our time and money. 

Here are 5 things that matter to me:  daughter, work, faith, working out and beef brisket. 

Spray Time and Talent on What Matters
We should do the things that matter most to us.

Family matters, so I work a schedule that maximizes time with my daughter, while minimizing afterschool gym-jail.  My employer lets me start the day early, leave for school pick-up, then work from home in the afternoon.

Doing a good job at work matters, so I choose to work extra hours to help keep the project on schedule.  Sometimes this means logging in late from home, after my punk’s in bed.  Or bringing her into the office with me for a weekend migration.

Faith matters, so we carve out time for prayer, church and a couple outings each month to help others. 

Staying fit matters, so I cram in runs over lunch and weekends.  Workouts make me a sharper worker and a healthier dad.  They also allow me to eat massive platters of meat.

Beef brisket/food matters, so I continue sharpening my cooking skills and teaching my daughter how to work a wok.  I like trying new flavors and tasting an ethnic dish for the first time. 

You’re Unique and Special, Just Like Everyone Else
Clutter and distraction dampens our ability to get done what matters most.  I think going with the flow and being like everyone else contributes to clutter.

The norm for many families today is:  enter the kiddos in three sports at a time, along with choir, band, interpretive dance and bull riding lessons.  I wonder if we do this because it’s best for our kids or because we need to keep up with everyone else that’s doing it?  While I like the idea of exposing our children to a wide variety of extracurriculars, school should come first (unless your daughter is named Gabby).  Plus, offspring mostly yearn for time with mom and dad.  I tell my 10-year-old her #1 priority in life right now is school.  Soccer, singing and the other goodies come only after we shore up studies and her grades are solid.

Last night after her first day of school, Pigtails sat down and asked, “Daddy, can we just sit down and talk?”  Perhaps it was a stall technique before bedtime, but I like to think these chats will keep us close for life.  And I would have missed that quiet conversation if we were rushing around town, distracted and hustling her to practice

Quickies
Here are some things I do to help get it done:
  • Turn off the TV and limit Bejeweled Blitz, they eat time.
  • When cooking dinner, I make extras so we can do leftovers for lunches.
  • Limit my daughter to only one or two activities at a time during the school year.
  • Once or twice a month, set aside an extra-long workday to help stay on top of assignments.  This reduces stress and keeps the project manager happy.
  • Keep the workouts going, even when busy.  They’re a net gain to health, productivity and busting stress.
  • Don’t worry too much about keeping the house tidy during the week.  Spend an hour Saturday mornings de-junking.
  • Take time to be thankful for what we have, and schedule time to help others.  This keeps me balanced and appreciative when life’s dishing a beat-down.
 ~~

What matters most to you, and how do you get it done?

 -Beard

18 comments:

  1. It seems so simple, and it IS - why do people make such a big deal of so much?
    I was wondering about what Pigtails does after school re your work schedule. You are fortunate indeed, but I'll bet it's a two way street. Your boss knows what he/she has in you too.

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    1. Wish it was simple, I have trouble keeping everything moving as it needs to be most of the time.

      I'm thankful for a flexible employer, and I'm telling boss blackbird called them a he/she.

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  2. This is true for sahm as well we get caught up on everything ( maybe not all, but me..lol) and the simple needs, are glazed over...need to re read this post and simplify my life and those little lives under me that call me mama.

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    1. Simple is good but a beast to pull off. Sometimes requires saying no and leaving room on the plate.

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  3. Anonymous8/26/2012

    It's funny how you sometimes look at the day's events as things you must power through, and then you realize, wait...THIS is it. You have the presence of mind to stop, take stock and savor each moment. It sounds like you have a handle on all that, Beard.
    Pigtails is one lucky little girl. Really enjoy your posts, because they feel like home! Thanks for that!
    Kelli K.

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    1. "...power through, then you realize wait, THIS is it."

      Thank you, I need to hear that sometimes.

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  4. Great post! It does seem simple, but sometimes 'life' gets in the way of simple and it's good to stop and do a stocktake every now and then. I've always liked the phrase 'be fully present in the moment' and my take on that is exactly what you did with Pigtails and the pre-bed chat, just stop and be present without any distractions.

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    1. Agree, sometimes the daily distractions and worrying about tomorrow stops me from really living the now. Do you think Pigtails was simply stalling out before bed?

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    2. Anonymous8/26/2012

      Hmmm...she probably was stalling, (all of my girls hated going to bed! ) but it doesn't matter, because you still got to have the nice chat with her! My two oldest daughters are 29, married and 23, in grad school and moving out. :( ...
      it really does go by that quickly! After I read this, I went out in the kitchen and hugged my 14 year old daughter....and she hugged me back. Life is good.
      Kelli K.

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  5. I totally agree about limiting the number of activities your children participate in. My oldest quit the varsity football team (yes, I said that he quit...all on his own) to spend more time on his bike...his first love. Could he have done both? Of course he could've. However, that would take more time away from the family as a whole and he wasn't willing to do that. Congrats to you for having your head on straight. It seems that far too many people don't now and their families are falling apart as a result.

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    1. Well, at least he didn't drop the varsity football team for chess club. Good for him, tell your son it's good to be different, passion for what he wants rather than bending to peer pressure. You guys should drive up to IA and ride RAGBRAI sometime.

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    2. We've always encouraged our kids to be themselves, even when they don't fit in with the crowds at school. They're much happier because of it. I'm pretty proud of them. RAGBRAI is definitely on our list of rides to do in the next few years. When our 6 year-old daughter gets a little older (read: 9 or 10), that's when we plan on making the trek.

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  6. I totally agree Beard! To many families are rushing around from activity to activity, day to day, missing the important moments of life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how all of us can "Get it Done!"

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    1. There's a chance my kid will get passed by her peers in extracurriculars as she gets older, but I'm cool with that. Thanks for reading and the encouragement.

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  7. Anonymous8/28/2012

    I truly look forward to your posts. I was incredibly close to my father. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly 6 years ago. Many of your parenting techniques and life outlooks remind me of his ways...and it's wonderful to read about (he too rode his bike to decompress...and loved it!). As for the bra conversation, my father was all about celebrating every step in life. He took me to a fancy department store and had my mom go into the dressing room to help select 2 of my first training bras while he waited on a bench outside. Then we went out for a celebratory lunch. At the time I thought it odd that my father accompanied us but in hindsight I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have had such a devoted father who celebrated life to the fullest. You're doing really well and it's obvious that you and PT adore each other. Bravo!

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    1. I so badly want to write a bra post, but have held back since I'm worried about embarrassing the kid. Let's just say we did a happy bra dance and held a mini-party at home when it was time to purchase her first boulder holder. She thinks it's great, and is not at all hesitant to come to me with girl stuff.

      Cheers to the loving dad you had growing up!

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  8. Thanks for the post Beard! A good reminder. My rule of thumb is only one sport at a time, plus scouts. That still keeps me going in 3 directions some days, but it is all about remembering what is important. My oldest is no longer interested in sports, so music is his main activity. My job is to make men that are grounded in their faith and dedicated to those they love, not to keep them entertained. Some days I do a better job than others, but hopefully, they will always know that I am open to a pre-bedtime conversation. THAT is what counts!

    Good job outa you!

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    1. I usually write these sort of posts to help stay sane/centered on the right track. Distraction's a bear, it jumps on all of us, so good to wrestle it off sometimes and stay focused on the future finish.

      Oh boy, practicing an instrument at home, I remember the ungodly sounds honking out of my tenor sax in high school. Band jocks rock.

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