Thursday, 26 April 2012

Life challenge - week 16 - slow down

You want me to do what Deb?  What are you saying? What, just one thing at a time? Nooooo, don't you know I'm the Queen of multi-tasking???  Week 16 is where we are to slow down and focus. Now this does not come naturally to me. I find myself attempting, and yes that is the word, attempting to do many things at work. This is in both my personal and professional life.

At work- I will often have 3 or 4 tasks on the go, and am 3/4 of the way through all of them, but not finished anything. This is actually quite overwhelming! Of course I can concentrate better on one task at a time- complete it well and then move on! Much easier said than done.  And boy do I get distracted.  Hmm, I wonder what's on the news website - better just go check. Okay now that I'm caught up with the news better check my email....too many distractions!  I can see that focusing on one task at a time would definitely help me at work!

And I tried, I really did. I just didn't do very well. But I think that I'm more conscious of it - I'm definitely going to keep trying.  Keep distractions to a minimum (how about set times to check the news and email- not just cause I'm a little bored with the task at hand) and one task at a time.  I just get change task. Or someone asks me to do something and what do I do? Drop everything and move onto it - nope, finish what you are doing first.  Okay these are good tools for me...I will try again this week!

I did identify 3 important things to do each day. These were personal things, not related to work, and ranged from quick and easy (pay a bill online) to more time consuming (such as an hour at the gym). My time outside work is generally limited - I get home from work around 6pm each night and am exhausted so my tasks on work days will be slightly easier/less time consuming than those on non-work days.  They generally consisted of things like cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, put a load of washing on, treadmill/gym, afternoon fun with kids, Savannah's sport, Hunter's footy, and I even included "me time" on my important things for today - as I had annual leave and the kids were at school and childcare so I spent the day shopping with my sister (after the gym). I did feel like I had achieved something when I could tick the tasks off (I wrote them in my diary).  And once these tasks were completed- I didn't feel guilty, or like I was wasting time, watching TV or reading my book or having some Internet time.  I'm going to try and schedule 2-3 daily tasks in my diary again next week and see how I feel.

Life challenge - week 17 - decision making

Decision making is one that is baffling for me. I manage a project in my job so have to make decisions on a daily basis. I have no problem doing this. I acted as the Manager of the branch once and a piece of advice that was given to me prior which stuck was - The worst thing you could do is not make a decision - a lot of times there are many different answers, so make a decision and stick to it. I can manage this at work, but when it comes to personal decisions I really struggle. Things like choosing a restaurant for dinner, what to order at a restaurant, what to do on the weekend etc. These decisions don't come easily.

So I'm baffled as I find it easy at work, but not so much at home. Deb has us looking at decision making in week 17.

So I've tired to think about it a little simpler. I need to tackle my personal decisions the same way I do my work ones.

A few examples....
I needed to purchase ink for the printer today. Usually this would have taken me a long time to decide. For example my thought process is something like this:
Should I get the compatible brand or the genuine brand? Hmm the compatible is much cheaper and last time we went through the ink in 4months...but did we go through the ink so quickly as we got the compatible brand? Would it have lasted longer if we got the original? Hmm, check out the Big W catalogue for price. Umm I think I will get the compatible one. Hunter has been printing heaps lately and it's better to get the cheaper one. Log onto the website where I have bought ink from - hmm the one I want is $42. Free postage if you spend $50 - or $6.50 for postage. Hmmm, do I pay the postage, or buy more so I spend over $50. Hmm I could get 2 lots for $84 and save on postage - but then I will need to pay all that now, compared to $48.50 for 1 lot. Ohh look, there is another deal - $119 for 4 blacks and 2 colours - well that's 2 extra blacks from getting 2 lots and is only $35 more - I wonder how much blacks are on their own?  Hmm maybe I should get that?

This can go on for ages until I get myself confused. This morning I decided, at the end of the day, all we need is some ink to print. We had a situation on Saturday when we ran out and I had promised the kids I would print them colouring pages. I don't want to run out again, so if I get extra, then when we run out I can grab the spare, and then order another one then! So I got the $119 pack and stocked up for a while! Decision made in about a minute - I'm sure this decision took much longer last time.

I've also been looking at accommodation options for our NZ trip coming up. I made a spreadsheet- and of course got myself confused with the different options, prices and different prices depending on which company you book through. Ahh so confusing. At the end of the day - what do we need - comfortable accommodation that isn't too expensive! Easy, we were recommended one by the travel agent - check it out - yep it looks good - good location, good price - lets stick to that!

Decision making is something that I am going to have to consciously work on. 'm going to ask myself is it a small decision or life changing? If it's a small decision - it only warrants a small amount of time. I'm sure with conscious effort- I can make making personal decisions a easier process!

And now I'm deciding to press publish - despite not having read over the post properly....go me!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Home challenge-week 17 - cleaning schedule and cleaning supplies

Week 17 is about creating a cleaning routine and organising cleaning supplies. Reading through the post I thought this seems familiar to me - I'm sure I have done this. I had downloaded Taylor's free cleaning checklist in the past so obviously did some work then.  I had a look through my saved files and found on the 14th August 2011 I had created a cleaning checklist.  Both hubby and I work most days so can only fit cleaning in the evening, and therefore want to do the bare minimum.

My previous checklist looks like this:

Cleaning checklist!

Cook dinner

Clear/wipe dinner table


Clean hotplates/sink/benches

Make lunches for next day

Pack bags for next day

Get clothes out for next day

Clean up toy room

Tidy floor in family room

Tidy floor in lounge room

Sweep kitchen/family room

Load of washing (if needed)

Fold and put away washing (if needed)

Toilet brush

Clean bathroom sinks       


Mop tiled floors

Vacuum carpet



My aim was to try and keep the kitchen clean and tidy, along with the floors in the other main rooms, on a daily basis. This  would then eliminate the need to spend lots of time tidying prior to cleaning. 
I've obviously not been following the checklist and the place has become a little untidy. I'm going to print this out again, stick it on the fridge and my aim is to follow it daily.
I now have a cleaner who comes in once a fortnight, who I didn't have when I wrote this checklist. She does (among other things) toilets, showers, mopping and vacuuming. The things I had as my weekly tasks. I'm happy for these to only happen fortnightly meaning we don't need to do them. Obviously if mopping or vacuuming needs doing in-between our cleaner coming we will do as required.
Our wonderful cleaner actually came on Monday, and hubby went around and did a quick tidy up before she came. This means the house is in pretty good shape now, on Wednesday. If I can stick to the daily tasks - it shouldn't be too hard to keep it like this. My aim for this week(and next) is to consciously complete all tasks on my daily checklist, until they become part of the routine and second nature!
Cleaning supplies
I have 2 main places for my cleaning supplies - under the kitchen sink for all things used around the kitchen, such as easyoff bam and spray and wipe - and in the cupboard in the laundry for all other cleaners such as floor cleaner, bleach, toilet cleaner,shower cleaner and so on. I went through the kitchen cleaners earlier in the year as part of one of the challenges. The laundry sink I went through and decluttered when we got our new washing machine a few weeks ago. So my cleaning supplies are all under control. My cleaner brings her own so don't need to worry about what she uses.