5 ways to make Mondays suck less

here i am at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon . . . working. ugh!

actually, a really exciting opportunity has come up for my company and i am hard at work brainstorming and laying the groundwork for a proposal for a big, interesting, international (!) project that i’m totally psyched about. Spy and Miss Girl have gone to a movie, allowing me some peace and quiet for this and giving feedback on another project that is happening. going in, i already know this week is going to be insane with this proposal due Friday on top of 2 sets of deliverables due Monday, proposal housing one of those due Tuesday and moodboard through final design due on the other, yes, also Friday. oh, and an all day team offsite on Tuesday sucking precious time for actual work.

unfortunately, this is not the weekend i won the lottery. so that plan for avoiding the week is not happening. but i have gotten over being totally pissed off about the whole “everything is a priority” scheduling and am looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment i’m sure to have after i get through it. and i’m trying to do what i can to make it suck less.

so just then . . . PureWow sent me an email with this as the lead article. i’ve already decimated way #2, but other than that, i think it’s totally solid advice. check out their 5 Ways to Make Mondays Suck Less and make the most of the next 8 hours or so of Sunday, y’all! hope everyone has a great week!

5 Ways to Make Monday Suck Less

file that under beastly!

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that was me just over 24 hours ago. surrounded by the most horrific display of laziness i have witnessed in quite some time and trying not to lose my mind while undoing 2 years worth of utter slack.

Thursday night, we came home to find our mailbox stuffed with a nearly $900 bill for a doctor’s appointment that happened over a year ago. what is the deal with doctors and billing, right? not the first time it has taken months and months to get a bill for something — it always shows up just when you think your insurance must have covered everything and you put it out of your mind. how on earth do doctors run a business that way?

anyway, the whole thing totally set Spy off. obvs, no one is happy about having to pay the bill, but the fact that we aren’t organized enough to find any other paperwork about the appointment or a prior bill or anything tapped into one of deepest sources of self loathing. try as he may, he is just not very organized. he’s the guy constantly looking for his keys, wallet and reading glasses. and it drives him crazy. especially when nearly a thousand bucks is at stake.

i’m the organized one in the family. generally, with not too much effort, i can put my hands on pretty much any piece of paper or email we might need to dredge up long after it’s been forgotten. that silver bin in front of me in the picture above is where i throw bills after i’ve paid them, correspondence i’ll get around to filing one day and pretty much everything else i know i should save, but don’t want to make a decision about what to do with it in the moment. i typically give it a good sorting through every 6 months or so. but apparently, at this point, i hadn’t touched it for over 2 years. ugh.

so yesterday, i set about the monumental task of getting things organized. Continue reading

Writing 101: the space to write

space to write

for Day 6 (i know. that was a really long time ago), we were asked to describe the place where we write. i’m not quite done with it, but am at a place with my office make-over that i felt like it was finally ready to write this post and have some pictures to share!

for years, i have been writing at my kitchen counter. our home has a really open layout and it just seemed to make sense that i could be writing/working and still be part of the family. but that was just the problem. i was in the middle of everything going on and couldn’t go more than about 12 minutes without being interrupted by somebody wanting something or by a blaring television. even during the early morning or late night when i was the only one downstairs, the view of the dirty dishes in my sink or the neighbor’s house out the window above that wasn’t exactly inspiring. i considered getting a desk for the upstairs sitting room, but decided that since we have a perfectly good office downstairs that no one ever uses, i should at least get that really functioning and try it before exiling myself to another floor.

before . . .

a lot of stuff had just kind of gotten shoved in there over the years. rugs came and went after being destroyed by cat or dog pee. the chair my husband had paid a fortune for when he was a bachelor never felt comfortable to me for more than a nanosecond — not exactly a good fit for hunkering down and writing the great American novel. a file cabinet full of old stationery and camera equipment at one point had to have the the drawer facing ripped off to get it unstuck. and never got replaced. even with my aversion to stacks of paper, i’d let myself slip into stacking things in here just to get them off of the kitchen counter where they were more visible. all together, it made for a place that kind of stressed me out every time i tried writing there.

after . . .

i have a few more spaces to fill with books, pictures and decorative items, but i love this room, now! the shelving cost a bit, but otherwise, i’m psyched to  have pulled this together mainly on the cheap (see image captions for detail). i can’t confirm that no one bothers me in here, but at least the space no longer agitates me and at least, the family has to make a little more effort to find me here. from where i sit, i can look out over most of the downstairs (except the damn kitchen, where i spend so much time anway!) and feel connected to what everyone is doing, but separate from it. i find that having a space just for this one activity brings me a lot of focus and calm when i’m working in here. and hopefully great things will emerge!

now that i’ve got my space shaped up, do you have any thoughts on what i should write here? the second part of this assignment asks us to post a poll to gather ideas for future posts. i’d love to hear your thoughts!

Friday favorites: la France edition 2

alsace.001(photo: imashon.com)

happy Friday, y’all! i for one am so glad this week is almost over! we’ve got a kind of full weekend of soccer (!!) and school events happening, but as long as it doesn’t involve work or anyone getting on a plane, i’m certain i can handle whatever comes up.

speaking of getting on a plane, though, just 4 weeks from tonight, we’ll be boarding our flight to Paris! am i any more prepared than last time i posted? bwahahahahaha. if you expect any answer other than  awwwhell no, you’re definitely not paying attention to how i roll, here. but in the spirit of trying, i once again spent time over the past couple days exploring, learning and making some decisions. here are my favorite finds this week on the France front. enjoy and stay warm out there!

1. a riverboat cruise

marne_batorama(photo: fluvialnet.com)

touring Strasbourg by boat is supposed to be one of the best ways to see the city. these guys had me at Batorama. are you kidding me? it made me think of Batman. and the boats themselves definitely look superhero-worthy. looks like an amazing way to spend a lazy hour and a half and see some sites and angles you wouldn’t get walking. plus, there’s even a version of the guide commentary especially for children “designed by professional scriptwriters and actors from the theater.” sign. us. up. ahoy, y’all!

2. croissants

croissants(photo: pawsareforcookin.blogspot.com)

don’t ask me how, but Miss Girl decided several months ago that that croissants are 1 of the 3 things she will deign to eat for breakfast. who is this child? oh. right. i guess it does kind of make sense. well anyway, we’ve told her that if she thinks she likes the croissants she gets here, the ones in France are going to blow her mind. so in pursuit of total mind blowing, i found this great article and list of the Top Spots for Croissants in Paris. i haven’t yet looked into where any of them are in relation to our accommodations in the 1st arrondissement, but i’m excited to try at least one of them. Miss Girl will probably hate it.

3. black, white and red all over
blackwhitered_capsule

okay, my first foray into Polyvore. this is a quick version of what i’m thinking for what to bring and wear: black, white, denim and a couple pops of red. easy enough to mix and match and this is all representative of stuff that’s already in my closet. i probably need to do a few more layering pieces and obvs, accessories. and i’m certain i can’t go anywhere for 9 days with only 2 pairs of shoes (i’m thinking there’s a black ballet flat, as well, just to be safe).  i also need to determine whether i need to bring a jacket (probably) and see if i can find some kind of tote/messenger bag since as the mommy, i know i will be the one schlepping everyone else’s stuffed animals, bottled waters, half finished croissants and brochures around. thoughts?

4. Alsace wine guide

Riesling_grapes_leaves(photo: Wikipedia)

i’ve been totally overwhelmed even thinking about how to decide which wineries i want to visit when we do our drive between Strasbourg and Colmar. so i loved this Guide to Visiting Alsace from Wine Enthusiast. it’s certainly not comprehensive, but at least seemed like a good place to start.

5. what not to do

paristaxis(photo: Condé Nast Traveler)

i’ve been so concerned with what to do in France that it never occurred to me to wonder what not to do. thank goodness the folks at Condé Nast Traveler are one step ahead. these 10 Things Not to Do in Paris — from where not to go to what not to wear (my capsule so far is totally cool. whew.) — are perfect, and i love that they also give better alternatives.

new this week
i’m linking up with the lovely ladies of 5 on Friday: April, DarciChristina, and Natasha. check out their blogs and see who else is linking up this week — there are always so many fun new things to read and people to meet!

the power of 10

10minutes_lora.001

i am one of the biggest slackers on the planet. seriously. yet also, i’m one of the biggest to-do listers. shockingly, to my knowledge, there is no multiple personality thing going on here. whew.  but so wtf, right? honestly, living with me has to be kind of insane (even if not clinically so). just ask Spy.

all that said, i recently had a true epiphany: everything i most hate to do can probably be accomplished in about 10 minutes.

truth. why do i procrastinate so much when a mere 10 minutes of dedication to one single task can accomplish so damn much? so lately, i’ve started experimenting. i set the timer on my iPhone for 10 minutes just to see how much of my most-hated tasks i can accomplish. i even gave myself the leeway of hey, do it for 10 minutes and if it’s not finished, cool, but at least you made a dent and can come back to it later. it’s kind of like the mindset of exercising, right? even if you only do it for 10 minutes, it’s better than sitting on your ass for 10 minutes.

as a result, my new thing is doing 10 minutes of whatever at a time. usually, i get so close to the end that i finish anyway in like 15 minutes. and somehow, it makes even the most daunting tasks seem not so overwhelming because there is a firm get the heck out time.

most-hated chores i can do in 10 minutes:

  1. pick up the playroom (like put stuff away enough so that the housekeepers can actually, really clean it.
  2. load and unload the dishwasher (probably with time to spare on this one, which is shocking, given the number of dishes we seem to go through on a daily basis).
  3. clean the 2 cat boxes, plus replace litter and pee-pads underneath (he’s old and misses, well, a lot :/)
  4. fold Miss Girl’s laundry. literally, an entire basket of it. and this is probably my most-dreaded task!
  5. fold my laundry. i typically pile worn clothes over my hamper during the course of the week. some need to be washed, some don’t. in 10 minutes, i can pretty much sort through that pile so i can see into my closet!
  6. put away shoes. gaaaaahhh. the 3 people in this house wear so. many. shoes. Miss Girl’s can get into her closet and sorted. mine can get up off the closet floor into shoe racks. clear floor, clear mind. done!
  7. paperwork!! lord, even though i get most bills electronically, there still seems to be piles of paper around. bills, coupons, mailers, catalogs, magazines . . . 10 minutes in the middle of the week at least gets it all sorted/thrown out so i can easily pay random bills on the weekend.
  8. email. ugh. for both work and personal. 10 dedicated minutes at least gets those overstuffed inboxes sorted and filed to a point that i can see what still needs to be addressed and what i don’t need to bother with (1,000 Basecamp messages, i’m talkin’ to you!)

try it for 10 minutes. i promise, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. and you’ll feel silly you wasted so much time just thinking about how much you didn’t want to do all this tedious crap!