Yesterday I was scheduled to have off. I was really looking forward to having a day to myself. Work has not been going well, so when I saw that I missed a call from my manager, my first thought was that I was going to get fired over the phone. Thankfully he had called for another reason, he is going to be buying a house, and the banker that he had an appointment to see, missed it, and wouldn't be available until hours later. I only worked for five total hours at work, but I put in a very productive day at home before that. The temptation to lie in bed was strong, but I got up and started putting together beef stock for soup. My Getting Things Done book had advocated getting in-box type trays so I purchased two, but yesterday was the first time I had attempted to use this new system, and I have to say, it was remarkably effective.
The author recommends putting all paperwork into an in-box and going through the papers in order, without shuffling. That was difficult for me, but I managed to mostly resist the urge, giving in only a few times. There is a flow chart in the book that walks you through what to do, I didn't follow it exactly, but it was one of the most focused and productive paperwork sessions that I have had in a long time. I did things I had been avoiding, realized that I had been avoiding things I didn't remember setting off to the side, and tackled several unpleasant tasks and phone calls. I had ordered credit cards for both of my children because; I want to be able to send them on errands, I think this is a way they can learn about money, and if they do have an unforeseen crisis or emergency situation, this money is available to them.
There is a $1,250 limit on the card, I may raise or lower it at some future point in time, but the part that is relevant here is that I called in to activate their new cards that had been sitting there for probably the better part of a week. It didn't take long, but I was disconnected during one call, and it's things like that can really derail me fast. I can't find the sheet that came with one of the cards, and now I'm not sure what happened to it. My plan is to write all three card numbers down on the same sheet, and store that in a safe place that we can access if anyone's card is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. Another thing I did was call the brokerage firm that holds most of my money. I talked to a great guy who waived the $50 fee to get into a better paying money market account, and was grateful when he gave me his name and told me I could ask for him in the future.
Apparently it is up to the individual to determine which of these fees get waived, and I thought that was a handy piece of knowledge as well. I argued with a couple 'customer service' types, and got two big headache inducing situations somewhat resolved, off my list if not done to my satisfaction. There are still other calls to make, but as I once read, we will die with items in our in-box. While I love Stephen Covey and other authors, Covey is a tougher, drier, longer read. He is definitely next level time management, Getting Things Done is a quick and immediately effective, for me at least, system that I would put before Covey if anyone wants to make visible progress in a relatively short period of time. It is not expensive, so far I have spent $2 on in-boxes, but the way he teaches people to think has probably saved hundreds, if not thousands.
The idea that I might never lose, misplace, forget, or sabotage my paperwork in the future has diminished considerably. Now I have a dumping place that automatically consolidates things for me, and a side benefit is now that I have dealt with several of these bills, I can set them aside and start putting a budget together. The system reduces stress, anxiety, and it's helpful for me to see the piles of 'To Do' paperwork and forms move over to the 'Done' pile. Even though I didn't really want to go into work, I'm glad that I did. I had a terrific day working at the store I had been at previously. My oldest stopped by and I had a good conversation with her about what to do with her cracked phone screen, and it was just lovely to be back in a bright, clean, open, and airy store with so many windows.
For some reason I was unable to sleep, finally I decided to get up and start writing. I started thinking about my Women Who Love Too Much book. I went to my bookcase and tried to find it in the dark, while I was over there I piled other books into a stack, I have so much information at my finger tips, it was kind of impressive to me that I had been so far sighted even though I can see now that there are books I can safely give to a new home. I still want to move. While I was on the phone with the brokerage guy I mulled over my finances. I have some cash, I have some credit card debt, I now have an auto loan, and I want to set aside some amount for just in case, rainy day, emergency situations because as soon as this money is gone, I will need it. I didn't take money out when I had dental work done, I indulged in some retail therapy, and now I am determined to address the root cause of my spending.
Not long ago I purchased a notebook, and it's been really helpful. Another thing that my 'Getting Things Done' book recommends is writing down a topic, and then associating other thoughts, facts, opinions, and ideas with it. The few times I have done this I was amazed at how effective the technique was, unearthing ideas and themes I would not have guessed that I had inside of me. I was thinking about self esteem, how to nurture it, how to love myself more, how to get a place, save money, earn more, spend less, and do the things I really love and enjoy in life. Easter was fabulous, and I may write more about that later. I need to make myself more of a priority so while I was hunting in my tiny library I pulled out my Life Makeovers book by Cheryl Richardson.
The book is divided into 52 short sections so you can read and apply one per week. The first one is cost effective and simple, you write down 25 things that you really like and love about yourself. I would encourage everyone to do this since we are all in need of this type of exercise periodically. I've done it before, but I'm going to do it again, and this time, I want to get through the entire book. Most of the time I pick it up, get into it, and then abandon it for whatever reason; lack of time, feeling that I don't have the money (that's a big one), thinking that it is too difficult, or won't make that much of a difference anyways, or the book gets moved, set aside, I lose interest, whatever. This time I think I am going to try something new like a reading station. I do this for my audiobooks in the car, and it is a wonderful way to consolidate them so that as soon as I finish one, I can move right on to the next.
I'm still listening to The Five Love Languages of Children. Tonight I saw the father of my children outside of work, we ended up chatting for a while, it was probably what most people would think is a good conversation, and I felt better about it earlier than I do now because even though the words were said, there was no accompanying action, and that is really frustrating me. It isn't enough to say that you are sorry about the past, if you do not change your behavior, the words are empty and meaningless. I'm going to think about some specific action steps I can take. One of them is transferring my children's phones and plan back to him, if they are going to be living with him anyways, I see no reason why I should continue to provide this service and deal with the associated drama is can cause.
The car dealership where I applied told me that they would get back to me in the beginning of May, and I've really been thinking about this position, should it be offered to me. Accepting it means delaying a condo purchase. Do I try to negotiate with them? Do I stay where I am at, or leave for what may seem like slightly greener passages now, and possibly not really be better off in the future? Several things I like about the job include a passion for the products and services, a chance to sit down with people and go through the assessment process, I think I would be brilliant at this, and uncover a lot of things some others wouldn't, but it would be a lower base salary than I am making now, and no job or organization is perfect. From the outside their culture seems like one where I would fit in and be welcome, but I know all too well how brief meetings and interviews fail to represent the full spectrum of personalities.
Right now I am feeling very optimistic and in control of my life. I have a much better idea of where I want to go, I am still discovering who I am, I neglected this for a long time, probably out of fear. I'm going to set some time and money aside to make me a higher priority in my life, and maybe I do switch jobs knowing that will delay a housing change. I could always find a different place to rent, but that doesn't really appeal to me either. I am confident that the right place will become available at the right time, for the right price, and all of my worrying, fretting, and foolish anxiety will fade. Until then I can put an action plan together, keep decluttering, I can see noticable changes around the place and in myself even though I still have my days, as we all do. But for now, life is good.
P.S. The other day I told someone that I wanted to make art a higher priority in my life. I think the 'Getting Things Done' system can work for things like paperwork that I must do, and also for things like self care and recreation that I want to do. Worth a try at any rate.
P.P.S. I had a guy tell me that a friend asked him out, and now he doesn't know what to do because he doesn't want to jeopardize the friendship. I could have told him that in my opinion he needs to work on himself and he's not in a position to date anyone at the moment, but instead I sent him an article from Cosmo of all places that goes through things to think about when dating a friend. Proud of myself for that...
Things I Like and Love About Myself:
- I am organized.
- I forgive.
- I am classy.
- I am gracious.
- I'm intelligent
- I seek new knowledge.
- I consider how others feel (empathy).
- I patronize the library (I feel really good about this one!!!)
- I am a great friend.
- I invest.
- I write about tough topics.
- I'm creating a space that feels like home.
- I brighten the lives of many others.
- I am honest.
- I am creative.
- I freely share what I have learned with others.
- I take risks.
- I persevere.
- I care about the environment.
- I seek ways to heal myself and others.
- I am becoming more assertive.
- I am positive and optimistic.
- I am curious about my fears.
- I am learning more about my emotional states.
- I am committed to healthy loving relationships.
- I am an overachiever! (Tee hee)
Apparently the exercise was to write down 25 accomplishments rather than things you like about yourself, but I'm still proud of taking this first step in the right direction even if I feel a bit foolish now, always nice to be able to laugh at yourself...