Thursday, September 10, 2015

Getting Things Done

We got back early this morning.  Alaska Airline's 20 minute baggage guarantee meant that we were home less than 30 minutes after we left the plane.  I remember days past when it took over an hour for suitcases to show up on the luggage carousel. 

Our house sitter left a beautifully clean house, all the plants thriving, and a beautiful offering of fresh vegetables.

I looked into the fridge to see what  I needed to put on the shopping list.  It was pretty empty.  A good time to go through and see what needed to be thrown out.   And as I did that I realized I needed to take everything out and do some cleaning. [No pictures, too embarrassing.]

 And I started sorting the mail.  

 And as I did that I was thinking of all the things we have to do while we're home - for here, with my mom's stuff, and just generally, to regroup after these two years of monthly trips to see my mom.  Getting back a rhythm for getting things done.  Not just the basics, but to move ahead.

I'd been thinking about a post on this idea already and this seemed like a good time to make a start.  It just seemed to me that there were things we do that have to be done over and over again.  And there are things we do that settle some issue and let us move on.  So here's a first stab at figuring that out.  Any suggestions warmly accepted.  

Things we must and should do
  1.  Regular tasks  (you do them and they need to be done again)
    1. Things that you  do regularly (daily to weekly)
      1. brush teeth
      2. make dinner 
      3. take out trash
    2.  Things that you do regularly (monthly)
      1. pay bills
      2. clean the refrigerator
    3.  Things that you do regularly (annually)
      1. go on vacation
      2. clean the garage
      3. service the car 
  2.  Irregular Tasks  (you do them and they are taken care of for a long time)
    1. Remodel the kitchen
    2. Have a wedding or just a dinner party
    3. Find a new job
  3.  Unexpected Tasks (they happen and interrupt your routine)
    1. Breakdowns that need repairs - cars, machines, houses, computers, etc.
    2. Serious health emergency
    3.  Relationship change - death, breakup/divorce, infidelity, birth
  4.  Changes that move you to a better place
    1. I think this overlaps with #2 and probably #3, I need to figure these out more.
It seems for the regular tasks, it's best to find routines so these get done quickly without having to spend much time thinking about them.  The other tasks are often difficult because they are new and we don't know how to get started.  But nowadays anything can be figured out with google.  You can just get a list of steps for how to do pretty much anything.

The other thing I did along these lines was try to make a list of all the different areas of my life that need my attention.  It reminded me that I probably have too many different areas and I'll need to pull back in some and then set priorities in the remaining ones.  What's most important?  After spending a week with my granddaughter (I'm not allowed to post pictures here and telling you how smart and funny she is would sound like typically biased grandfatherly opinion) I'm reminded how important the family category is.

I know that when the number of things I want to do starts to exceed greatly what I actually get done, my mental well being suffers.  Writing everything down and figuring out how much time things will take and how much time there actually is tends to have a calming effect.  Usually I find out things aren't as overwhelming as they seem.  And I can prioritize what things are most important and what things can be abandoned, and that helps avoid all the time temptresses that urge me to do something totally off my list that won't get me where I want to go. 

OK, now I have to go do the shopping.  And I also have on my list to begin the sourdough starter that's critical to all the recipes in the new bread making book I got last month.  I know, this is not something I need to do, but making bread is so satisfying and fresh bread makes a great gift when you visit. 

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