Focus – Still Distracted but Moving Forward Anyway

So here we are, four days into February. Time to check in on my One Word goals and move forward into the next part of the plan. This year I’m working on Focus.

For January, I decided (with a little help from Steve over at Do Something Cool) to focus on removing distractions rather than getting more focused on one particular thing.

First the bad news: I finally settled on how to approach my January goal about halfway through the month. That didn’t exactly set me up for great success, did it? Two weeks to accomplish the monumental goal of removing the piles and projects that distract us from our home? Oh, and right after I got going on that an felt like I had some momentum going…the perfect storm of deadlines set in and I found myself missing out on my fifteen minutes a day plan on more than a few days. So are all of my piles of distraction gone? No.

But stick with me. There’s good news, too. Continue reading “Focus – Still Distracted but Moving Forward Anyway”

TToT – Later, January!

Goodbye, January! I’m so over you. Why? Because Polar Vortex, that’s why. I never thought I’d be so happy to see the temperature read 32 degrees in my life.

Let’s get right down to business.

First, I’m going with the theme of being thankful for others’ happiness. Monday of this week, the Fab Hub took a trip to our favorite mountain to stomp around in the snow. He’s been talking about doing this forever. And so he seized a moment and went.

20140127_10401020140127_104322Well worth the trip, I think. Continue reading “TToT – Later, January!”

Focus – Removing Distractions

I have been thinking so much about my One Word for 2014 – Focus.

My main task right now is to figure out how to take that word and turn it into an umbrella underneath which I have smaller sections, if you will, to work on. This is way harder than I thought it would be. Which things should be the main objects of my Focus project? Which of the many areas where I need more focus should I be thinking about first? Aaaaaaand….I’m stuck again.

But a few days ago, reader Steve* left a comment that kind of jumped out and gave me the light bulb moment that I needed. Steve’s suggestion was that rather than think of what to focus on, think about how to remove distractions. Bingo! Thanks, Steve!

And with that comment and few more hours of mulling it over, I decided that for the month of January, I will do just that – first work on removing distractions. Continue reading “Focus – Removing Distractions”

TToT Part Two – A Day with My Daughter

This is a first-ever event, friends. I’m linking up with TToT for a second list this weekend!

I’ve seen others do it and wondered, “How in the world do they have two whole lists in that short a time?” Some weeks I have to really stretch my brain to get the first list finished.

But yesterday I spent the day with Kidzilla. And it was awesome. And I realized I have another whole bunch of stuff that I would throw on a TToT list – and so I’m doing it. Not all of these are directly related to the time Zilla and I spent together, but it all sort of wraps up together into a list of lovely things. This one’s a bit lengthy, so hang with us! Continue reading “TToT Part Two – A Day with My Daughter”

TToT – Getting the Year Started Edition

Happy 2014 and welcome to the first TToT for the year!

In an effort to get to a movie I am most thankful for having received as a Christmas gift, I am dispensing with any sort of crafty and witty introduction. I’ve got popcorn to pop, people.

And yes, I’m counting that movie gift up there as my first item of thankful. I owned it on VHS a million years ago and since my VHS tapes and VCR have long since left my life, I have not been able to find that movie on DVD. Until now. I am also pretty grateful for my trusty air popper because I really love popcorn and I do not mean the microwave stuff. Having the ability to make it any time is sweet.

Next, this week the Fab Hub passed the first of the two required exams he needs for A+ certification. When I asked him to explain it to me, I heard these words…general, support, networking, hardware and software, technician. I am not a computer illiterate by any means, but I could not process all of that fast enough to make a good translation happen on my screen. It’s computer industry certification and we are hoping and praying that it will render him employable employed in the IT field very soon.

I’m going to amaze myself here and say publicly that I’m thankful to have admitted out loud recently that I lost weight in the last couple months of the year. I kept that bad boy a secret, mostly because I wasn’t exactly on a quest to lose weight and I was as surprised as anyone to find that it had happened. I didn’t want to say it had if it was going to go away and make me look silly, so I just shut up about it. But then it stuck and stuck and stuck and I even hung onto it through the entire month of holiday gatherings. And I’m pretty happy about the fact that even though it isn’t much, I do feel a bit different and I know dropping some weight will help some other health issues. So I just decided it was time I stopped hiding it.

After weeks of thought, I committed (or re-committed) to my One Word and am developing a plan for working on that. You can read about it here and here if you are interested.

After reading an article on a new-to-me blog today (thanks again for the link, Sarah), I went ahead and made a concrete goal for the month of January. I am going to spend just fifteen minutes per day tackling the clutter in our house. There’s no way I’m ever going to sit and make it go away in one session, so fifteen minute sessions are the way to proceed. The blog is called Wait But Why and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back there again.

And, following suit, I am quite pleased that I did my fifteen minutes already today. Twice. See, I’m allowed to do more if I choose, but I only have to commit to doing the fifteen.

I am thankful for my awesome new cast iron Dutch oven, a gift from the Fab Hub. It’s really heavy. And it’s red. I’m also pretty happy about the red Corning casserole he gave me, which is a replacement for the hot red casserole dish he gave me for Valentine’s Day gift a few years ago. I’m pretty thankful that he knows it is safe to give me kitchen supplies as gifts and I won’t throw them at him.

And I am thankful to have had the opportunity to break it in today on a delicious stew that I found several days ago. This is great because I actually do not like stew. This particular one involved pomegranate and sounded so intriguing that I just had to try it. I was so glad that I did! All three of us loved it and there are leftovers for another night – win! More on that recipe later.

Today was a snow day. I suppose I should be sad that we’ve already had three and it’s barely even January, but it’s kind of hard not to be thankful for a snow day. It was great. It’s pretty cold here, though – like really cold. I am truly thankful, though, that I’m in my warm house with plenty of blankets and working heat talking about how cold it is and not sleeping outside in said frigid cold. That there are people in the world who are trying to make it through this under those conditions bothers me.

I am always thankful for Kidzilla – everything about her and yes, even the times when we are counting the minutes until bedtime. I’ll admit it – five minutes after she’s asleep, I want her awake because I miss her. But I let her sleep anyway…because quietness, that’s why. But back to the real reason for Kidzilla here – she makes us laugh on a regular basis.

For example, this week Kidzilla was reading the same Frozen story book at the table with both of us nearby and she asked if we thought she read with good expression (she does). We told her that she did and then I asked her if her Fab Dad read with expression when he visited the classroom. Zilla said that he did not. This was surprising because the Fab Dad does great kids’ book readings – expression, character voices, sound effects, the works. How could he not have read with expression when he visited the Kindergarten class?

Me: You mean Dadda didn’t read with expression and voices and everything like he does at home?

Z: No, he didn’t.

Me: Why not?

Z: Because. Anna and Elsa are girls. Dad didn’t read with expression because he doesn’t speak girl – he’s a boy.

True that the Fab Hub doesn’t speak girl – poor guy – but we’re both thankful that he gives it his best effort.

And, let’s just end with being thankful that I finally got the Twelve Things of Thankful wrap-up button to work on that particular post, despite the fact that I wasn’t in time to link up. It was just the principle of the thing that it wouldn’t show up correctly and now it does, so I can move on.

I stopped counting around the third or fourth thing on this list, but I’m pretty sure I’ve hit my ten. I need to get to the business of making that popcorn and watching my movie. While I do that, share your thankfuls in the comments!

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Ten Things of Thankful

What’s the One Word?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my One Word for 2014 – Focus.

(Just to get this out of my brain, I have to admit that saying that I’m going to focus on having more Focus is really messing with my head. OK, let’s try to move on.)

I chose this for my One Word in 2013. I may or may not have done a whole lot with it. I think I may have gained some focus in some areas of my life, but most assuredly not all. I think the reason that I only dabbled at gaining more focus in my life is that I didn’t really think through the way I wanted my One Word to play out over the course of the year. Rather than being too narrow, my One Word concept was far too broad.

Focus on what? Work on having more focus since as an ADHDer I have a very hard time doing just that? Focus on my marriage? On healthy eating? On losing weight or gaining more spiritual insight? Focus on being a good parent? Focus on keeping the house in order? There were (and always are) so many ideas swirling around in my head that needed to be brought into focus or needed to be focused upon (yes, the preposition…move along) that I couldn’t even begin to choose a place to begin.

Feeling confused? Like you might be caught in a vicious circle of thought? Yeah…welcome to my world.

So maybe I did some work on Focus. I did write quite a few posts with that One Word in mind. See?

Or maybe I really didn’t begin at all. Maybe those ideas just kept swirling around all the time like they always do. Maybe they just sort of hovered and flittered in the back of my mind and when I caught sight of one out of the corner of my mind’s eye, I’d follow it for a bit. “Ooh, look, there are five piles of things to file on my desk. I should focus on getting the paperwork off my desk and into files.” or “Oh, hey, I never finished that book. I should focus on reading more regularly.” or “Wow, the clutter in this house is out of control. I should focus on de-cluttering for ten minutes a day.”

This is the world inside my head. This is the life I live on the outside, too. And so you can easily see why Focus was my One Word. And you can also see why Focus still needs to be my One Word. I guess my reason for choosing it again is that I am not finished with it yet. Or maybe it isn’t finished with me…we’ll see how this unfolds.

As I’ve thought about my One Word over the last few weeks, I came across this article at the OneWord365.com blog. I think it’s exactly what I needed. It talks about seeing your One Word as sort of an umbrella concept, and then dividing the umbrella into different sections – panels of fabric, if you will. Now this is starting to take shape.

But then I realized I was going to need one hell of an umbrella. I need to focus on my health, my marriage, my daughter, my housekeeping efforts, my relationships with friends and family, my finances, my faith and spirituality, my job, my RA maintenance, my ADHD symptoms… I need a golf-sized umbrella size at least. Maybe even a beach umbrella.

After about two or three days feeling frustrated that there were once again far too many parts to this project, I remembered what we’ve been doing with Kidzilla and her ADHD behaviors. Stop trying to deal with it all at once. It’s too much. Choose the two or maybe three things that need the most immediate attention, and focus only on them for now.

That’s the answer.

I don’t know what my particular areas are going to be yet. This is as far as I’ve come in the process of making this One Word work for me. But that is huge progress. So I’m going to think about that little umbrella for a few more days and see what ideas emerge as the major categories under my Focus umbrella.

Until then, do what makes this blog really come alive – let’s talk! Have you chosen a One Word for 2014? How did you choose your word? Have you made any traditional-style resolutions for this year? What are you doing to stick with them?

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Mama’s Losin’ It

Focus on Trying to Get It Together

Ever feel like you just can’t quite pull yourself together?

I’m having a big spell of that right now. Ever since going down with the stomach virus after Thanksgiving, I just can’t seem to get myself back in a groove. Anywhere. Work, home, writing, chores – you name it, I’m feeling out of it.

As I was whining for about the tenth time this week about how much this is bothering me and how much I feel like I still need to accomplish, the Fab Hub said “why not focus on what you have accomplished and not how much you still think you have to do?”

Duh. He’s right, of course. Again.

And so in that spirit, let me say this.

Today was a snow day. And so we all allowed ourselves a little bit of sleep-in time. We spent the morning in relaxing mode. After lunch, we tackled a few chores. The dishes are done, the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations have made their way to the storage closet and some Christmas things found their way out. We will continue to bring out the Christmas items a little bit each day through the weekend when we finally put up the tree. Honestly, why I ever thought decorating in one day was a good idea is beyond me. The upstairs shower stall has been scrubbed as well as the spare shower on the lower level. A handful of other small tidy-up type chores have also been taken care of today.

I’m stopping there. Running through the “still needs to be done” list will only serve to put me back in OMGI’llnevergetdone mode.

So let’s talk about focus for a second. The Fab Hub used that word in our conversation and it reminded me that I’ve been thinking about that word a lot the last week or so. That was the word I chose for my One Word 365 efforts. I’ve done a lot of thinking about focus this year. I’ve done a handful of posts, too. Have I made as much progress as I thought I would? Absolutely not.

But, like the Fab Hub said, I’m going to focus on what I have accomplished in terms of improving my focus this year.

I’ve definitely improved my focus at work. I am staying more organized and better prepared. Yay. That’s a big one. Organization and planning are key when you’re a teacher and those are areas that are huge struggles for people with ADHD (like me). So there was quite a bit to be done there. Mission accomplished. I’ve even had a few people comment on my great organizational skills. Pfffftt! Smoke and mirrors, folks. Smoke and mirrors.

I’ve improved my focus on eating and living well. I’ve worked to maintain a clear focus on making sure my family is eating healthy foods and we’ve definitely done that. As a result, the Fab Hub and Kidzilla have become more aware of making positive and healthy choices as well. Do we make less than healthy choices? Sure we do. But for the vast majority, we make solid choices that benefit our minds and bodies. I’ve also made a very conscious choice to stop focusing on weight loss and simply focus on a healthy lifestyle. Know what? I lost fifteen pounds in the process. Sometimes the key to success is hidden by the back door.

Those are probably the big benefits to my year of focus. There may be others here and there, but those are the standouts for me.

In addition, I’ve learned that my goal of improving focus was far too broad – not focused enough, if you will. By picking that word and leaving it wide open and general, it was a goal that was potentially unattainable. I do not say that to be negative – just to be truthful. Perhaps what I’ve learned throughout the course of the year is that I need to define specific areas of focus to improve upon, rather than just focus in general.

And so, with the end of the year rushing toward us, I’m choosing my word for 2014 now and then I’m going to think about it for a few weeks before coming up with my grand plan for the year.

My word for 2014 will be focus. Again. Because I’m not finished yet.

For the next few weeks, I am going to focus on crafting a strategy for refining that word into more specific and manageable goals that will continue to help me improve my focus in several areas of my life. Come back in January for the plan of attack!

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