Work smarter, not dumber

by Ginger on October 4, 2010

in Day in the Life

After my somewhat whiny, melancholy post from Friday about how I don’t get to do what I want, we spent the weekend doing all sorts of things from all three lists of shoulds, needs and wants. And along the way, I came to some realizations on how working smarter, not dumber, can help me do more things from the want list, while making things from the need & should list be less stressful and guilt inducing. Amazing how 2 days of really pushing through can change your outlook. So, here are my lessons from this weekend:

  1. Don’t try to do it all yourself. I’m not always good at asking for help. I offer my help more often than I ask for it, and honestly, I need to do better. This weekend, I asked for help multiple times, and we were able to get so much more accomplished!
  2. Utilize the skills of those around you. I’ve been trying to work on Jackson’s birthday video for over a month–since before his birthday. I would accept some feedback from N.C., but then would get frustrated when he got frustrated with ME for not knowing the program (iMovie) & the keyboard commands as well as he did. But he didn’t want to “take over” on what he thought was my project, and I, for whatever unknown reason, wanted to do it myself. Finally, this weekend, he stepped in and helped, and we finished the last 1/2 of the video in 2 hours. I feel like an idiot for not using his skills sooner, but forest/trees and all that. (if you want to see the video and haven’t you can see it here!)
  3. Sometimes, physical blocks lead to mental ones. Since Jackson was born, we’ve kind of just been stashing stuff in the garage, in closets, in cabinets or in any nook and cranny we had access to, rather than dealing with it. It was making us both mental, so we spent all day Saturday actually DEALING with it all. We purged several boxes of books, some electronics, a couple of bags of clothes, and various other things that we were holding on to in case we felt like selling, fixing, dealing with them. Instead, we donated it all. ALL. It felt fabulous, but almost as important, it meant we could let go of that little piece of stress. That feeling of not having DEALT with something, that takes up increasing amounts of your brain power was blocking us from moving on.
  4. Stop fretting, just do. I’d volunteered to write a guest post on my experiences cloth diapering (oh, have I never mentioned that we use cloth? Well we do, part time.) about 2 weeks ago. But I had a mental block about actually writing the post–I didn’t want to let the blogger down, I wanted to make a good impression on her readers, I didn’t want to say anything that might upset or piss anyone off. I basically worried myself into inaction. Friday night, I made the decision that I was just going to sit down and write–the way I do my blog posts–without fretting and worrying. I was just going to put down whatever came to my head, and then proofread it, and send it. I finally figured that I’m me, whether I’m on my blog or someone else’s, and I needed to stop worrying so much. After that decision? I finished the post in about 30 minutes. When I let myself stop worrying, I was able to get it done.
  5. Deal with your weaknesses by playing to your strengths. You know what I suck at? Housework. No, really. Almost every major fight that N.C. & I have had in our life together has been about chores, and how I suck at them (and he’s ocd about them–we’re a fantastic pair). I just will never care as much about having spotless floors as he does, or about scrubbing the tile grout on the kitchen counters until they’re immaculate. I’m a “good enough” cleaner, and he’s not. So, we’re trying a new strategy. Rather than have me do a crummy job cleaning, pissing off my husband in the process, we’ve decided that I should take the kid OUT while he cleans. I’m good at handling Jackson out and about–either running errands (which N.C. hates) or just going to the park or somewhere. This lets me do something I’m good at, and lets my husband do something he’s good at, and we (hopefully) will get to bypass the things we’re NOT as good at. (I’ll let you know how this strategy works).
  6. Stop beating yourself up. Whether it’s a to-do list that’s nine miles long, or a project that you can’t get finished without help, or a chore that you feel is hanging over your head, beating yourself up about it is only going to make it that.much.harder to get completed. Let go of the guilt/frustration/anxiety/anger/whatever you have that is making it the albatross around your neck, and it’ll make it that much easier to cross that off your list. This is the hardest one for me, but really, when I learn to let go of something is when I finally get around to getting it done!

As always, more lists can be found over at Anna’s at abdpbt!

Fearless Formula Feeder October 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

This post could not come at a better time for me. I am stuck in a big ball of stress and can’t seem to dig my way out of it… and I think a lot of the reasons why are in this post. I definitely need to start asking for help – I’m terrible about that – and realizing that I simply can’t accomplish everything I’ve convinced myself I can.

Thanks for this, Ginger!

Alias Mother October 5, 2010 at 8:04 am

As someone who has been known to avoid, and feel guilty about, simple tasks for months, tasks that take only moments to actually do, I hear you on this.

And, as a co-cloth diaperer, I’d love to see your post. Linky, linky when you can, please.

kate October 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Great post – and perfectly timed. Life is just a bundle of to-do lists, unfinished projects and never ending stress right now and it’s funny because I KNOW all the things you wrote down, I just forget to practice them. So, it was perfect to get a reminder (or a smack across the computer screen!) to say – listen up! – and follow those things. Thank you!

Elizabeth October 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm

It sounds like you’re coming to good conclusions about different ways to handle stresses. Those are great lessons!

Cheryl October 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Great post! I really should re-read and take this advice to heart. I will be a cloth diaper-er with baby #2 and this won’t make me suck at laundry any less! I should adopt “stop fretting and just do” and “stop beating yourself up” as mantras for when this baby comes. As in, I will do what I can and not stress over the rest. Thanks for this!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks October 6, 2010 at 7:58 am

You made some amazing realizations for how to push forward. I think we could all learn a lesson or two from this list!

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