And so it is, 2.5 years later, “due to popular demand” (not so popular, but some demand!) I am starting to write again. Last two weeks of some of the more intense stress I can recall having in years has led to lots of realisations and life reorganisation, part of which is a new weekly plan and weekly review routine. And what better time to do a weekly review then during a magnificent sunset overlooking the water.
I knew all along that this particular stress and crisis of lots of overdue projects and business getting out of hand is definitely a “growing” pain and an opportunity for some growth in that area. And so it is that not only my personal and business productivity received a complete overhaul, but so did my routines and living spaces. And I managed to cook the best steak among all my past feeble attempts! Such stress and overwhelm yet so managed to accomplish so much – all the while lamenting my procrastination and delays! For while the stress was mostly work related with lots of overdue projects and increasing demands, I managed to procrastinate (resent) working every single day almost till the end of the day. Which lead to more guilt, late nights, tired wakes up and so the cycle went on for days.
But the achievements were worth the turmoil, for in the space of 1 week I have:
- Achieved Inbox 0 and a working method for getting there daily – stop using it as a to do list and send all actionable items to my project management system; remove all email widgets from the phone and browser and process email once a day only.
- Experiment with every Pomodoro android and browser timer only to be frustrated by my inability to stick to the prescribed time intervals (let alone estimate the number of pomodoros required per task). And lo and behold – today I found the timer that works with my ADD/intense focus personality. The 30/30 method (30 minutes work/30 minutes play) – only where the timer keeps rining every 5 minutes to remind me to either go back to work or go have a play. Needless to say my work and play brakes from the first day of use are widely varies and none are precisely 30 minutes. But hey without it my rest lasts all day as I dread and procrastinate work and then my work lasts all night as I scramble to catch up on tasks. At least now there is a much easier psychological barrier (hey its only 30 minutes of work, then you can read a book!) but at the same time I don’t get bogged down working all day (just one more task!) and end up sore and tired hunched over the computer for 15 hours. So far so good, flexible, unobtrusive but insistent (love the ticking sound helping me focus on work) and I get a nice daily graph of exactly how much time I have spent working and playing. Thank you Clockwork Tomato android app. So many downloads and literally hours of research into various timers and you ended up the one for me!
- Personal productivity system overhaul that too MANY hours and many apps and trails to configure. Still in process of polishing it up, but since I was already using Trello for my team and project management, it made sense to extend it to personal to do management as well. I am lacking the simplicity of RememberTheMilk lists that I can tick off with one touch, but with Trello I can combine my personal and business to dos in one place, track time and have a birds eye view of my to dos instead of spreading them across multiple systems. Emailing my actionable emails to trello is a massive bonus helping me achieve inbox 0 on a daily basis now. And I am switching to yet another business time tracking system called Plus for Trello. I seem to be switching project management and especially time tracking systems every few months so my team must hate me for it, but I can’t help but be always on the look out for constantly optimizing my workflows.
- Resumed my use of Lift for habit building. Added way to much to my daily habit list as expected, even after pruning some of it off. But every day I seem to be ticking more and more items off. I guess it correlates to the amount of peace and stability and control I am regaining each new day as I put these various systems in place. Loving the morning meditation – and today found the perfect spot for it – in the hammock!
- Secured my largest contact to date – and a skills partner to help me putt it off. Very exciting times broadening my business horizons and challenging myself with projects beyond my skills. It will be 10 years in business for me this year, so it is time to re-invent my business and add new services and offerings and collaborators! Exciting times ahead.
- Cooked the best steak ever. Granted it is probably my 5th attempt. Maybe more, but definitely no more than 10th. And hooray, what an explosion of flavour. I make a super duper rub with a local “wild sage” herb that resembles all other herbs put together (plus garlic, salt and pepper). But the key feature of this particular success was the caramelized pinapple on top of the steak! Yumm, makes my mouth water just thinking about it. And there is another steak marinating in the rub as I type waiting its turn. I think I might need to switch up to a gas cooker if I continue at this pace. The kerosine stove is a bit of a bother. And since I have just moved my cook book boxes into my tent to block the dogs from getting inside the mosquito net private space circle – I think I can safely and gleefully say that the next “season” of Polina’s cooking adventures is coming up.
- I have cleaned up and reorganised all my living spaces. This was part of the tremendous procrastination I engaged in daily, but now I have: 2 wave watching/meditating areas (one rain proof, but yet to be tested); 2 revamped hammock working areas, one with a new driftwood desk; Arabian style sleeping/chilling mosquito net inner tent; surrounded by fully open on all sides cotton bell tent which survives the heaviest of rains and stays dry; reorganised all my tea in new hopefully much more water proof containers; kerosene burner now taking up a permanent spot in my outdoor kitchen as a testament to increasing frequency of cooking.
- This one is more of my dad’s achievement but also indirectly mine – the new house is now livable and most of our stuff moved across. Even though I no longer live inside 4 walls, it is still quite a milestone to consider the house complete and “move in”.
Even though I did not commit to it in writing, at the beginning of the week I set out to achieve just one thing – inbox 0. Which I promptly achieved within a few days (of intense writing and clearing and organizing). So I am very happy with the result of my first foray into agile productivity management and will continue following this lift plan (and will finally check into step one tomorrow hopefully). And having sat down to reflect on all other achievements, I feel like a true celebration is in order – so much achieved, in such a short time, all the while feeling the most stressed and unproductive I have been in years! Hooray! Steak time!..