Monday, February 22, 2010

Week Eight: You're On the List

Eat Breakfast week was surprisingly easy. Turns out that given a reason to eat more frequently, I will do so with little complaint. Friday was a bit of a challenge, since I forgot to bring something and began eating some fairly stale Special K that has been sitting in a Tupperware container in my drawer for about a month -- but fate intervened with an anniversary celebration and fresh, delicious bagels. Saturday morning I made chorizo and scrambled eggs, which is easily one of my favorite breakfasts of all time. Yesterday, I made omelettes filled with mushrooms, red onions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella (a.k.a. the Fridge Leftovers omelette) and today was a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. Nine days and counting! I'm feeling pretty good about it. One problem I'm noticing is that on gym days, where I used to eat lunch before going to the gym, when I eat breakfast I'm not hungry before I leave for the gym so it waits until after I'm back and completely velociraptor-style ravenous. At that point I have to fight the urge to hit the BK drive-through rather than wait to get back to work for a bowl of soup to warm up. Still, I'm going to call eat breakfast week an unqualified success.

And now on to week eight: the week of to-do lists. I am an inveterate list-maker. I make lists for packing for a trip. Currently there are several iterations of garden seed lists scattered around the house. Project lists, shopping lists, menus -- I enjoy a list. But the one thing I don't do consistently is make a to-do list for the day, even though I unfailingly find it makes me more productive. I tend to lose the thread on projects with no due date -- for instance, this scanning project my boss has given me to do "whenever I have the time". Well, when I have time, I tend to do other stuff, online. Or eat a cookie. My head doesn't go right to "hey, remember that stack of scanning?" So to add it to a to-do list day after day is sort of nagging myself. If I get to nag at my family, I suppose I should also nag myself, right?

But I'm already beginning to wonder if this is a good idea. Yesterday I had the whole Sunday stretched out before me, and about a dozen things I wanted to do. At the beginning of the day, I saw no reason why I shouldn't be able to get my customary noon start on the day and knock out all of my tasks before dinner. Here's the list:

  • Laundry
  • WPPA fundraiser letters
  • Target/grocery shopping
  • Plan week's meals
  • Vacuum upstairs and down
  • Download new music
  • Paint Hannah's mural
  • Wipe down 1st floor bathroom toilet and sink
  • Run
  • Post at 52changes
Doesn't seem like too much, right? Doing the laundry is something that, after getting all the dirty clothes downstairs, takes a minimum of effort, and it can go on while I'm doing other things. The WPPA letters -- 90 solicitation letters to personalize, print, label the envelopes, stuff and stamp. Should take two hours, tops, but this is a project that has been hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles. Shopping, well, I had short lists, so I'd give it another hour and a half, even though I had to go to a far-away Target to get the shower curtain I wanted. Planning meals (I sit down with the grocery store flyer to plan around what's on sale) should take fifteen minutes. Vacuuming is another hour. Downloading about ten songs I wanted shouldn't take long at all -- maybe half an hour to get them onto my phone -- and this little flowering tree mural I have planned for a corner of Hannah's room shouldn't take more than two hours. Cleaning the bathroom would take ten minutes tops. And I was hoping to get a short run in -- maybe half an hour. However, this was all conditional on the house being reasonably clean and picked up before I could get started. Oh, and Peter pretty much had to work at the computer all day, so Hannah's care and entertainment was mostly in my hands until about 9 or so.

By 11 last night I did get the Target shopping done, and most of the laundry was clean but not folded or put away. With Peter's, AJ's, and Hannah's help I did get the WPPA letters done. The bathroom was cleaned, which was probably the second most necessary of those items (it's a penis, not a fire hose -- is the toilet bowl that elusive of a target?) after getting the damn letters out. And AJ and I went for a 15-minute run that about killed the both of us, since it was snowing and the track was muddy and slick. But that was about it. Clearly, I have no handle on how long things take me to do, how much other stuff I do when I look back and think I've just been puttering around, or what to expect from myself. I wind up finishing the day frustrated and irritable because I haven't been as productive as I think I should have been but I also didn't feel particularly relaxed. And that's a waste of a weekend, isn't it?

Still, I'm going to keep at it. I do find that the to-do list is most useful at work, where I'm not supposed to be relaxing or having fun anyway. And maybe I'll start loading it with gimmes, like "drink a Coke" and "turn on computer" just to have something to cross off the list at the end of the day. I'll also keep a separate list for home projects throughout the week and see if maybe I can find pockets of time I didn't know I had. Unlikely, but we'll see.


  1. I would LOVE to know what songs you download.

  2. I was explaining to a friend the other night that when I'm at the gym, I like to listen to crap -- crunk-ass rap, really terrible club bangers, or shitty R&B that for whatever reason I find sexy, sort of like the weirdly attractive homeless guy I sometimes see at the off-ramp. ANYWAY. My to-download list, most of which is old stuff, includes:

    Brand New Money - Li'l Wayne
    Shake - Pitbull/Ying Yang Twins
    Holla Back Youngun - Fabolous
    Throw It In The Bag - Fabolous
    Get It Shorty - Lloyd
    Girls Around The World - Lloyd
    Universal Mind Control - Common (who, other than this one song, sort of irritates me with his stupid face.)

    I did manage to get "You're A Jerk" by the New Boyz onto my phone, which, if it's your thing, and it's mine, is FANTASTIC. Seriously. I love it. It's the kind of song you're ellipticalling or running or whatever to and you want to dance while you're doing it. I also need to upload AJ's entire Kid Cudi CD because that shit is fantastic.