Monday, May 14, 2012
Positive, Positive, Positive.
Anyone seen the movie 'Knocked Up'? Lucky for me my Mom doesn't believe in blogging because she'd die if she knew I was typing about this movie. Any who, if you've seen this movie and laughed your butt off like I did, then you'll understand the premise for this post about positivity. The sister, pictured above, comes in to wake up Katherine Heigls character one day...When Katherine wakes up mopey, the sister is annoyingly positive. Heigl says, 'How many redbulls have you had?' to which the sister responses 'I've had 6 redbulls and I feel great' and goes on to chant 'positive positive positive'.
I know, I know - get to the point. The point is positivity. I started reading a book about time management last week. You've read as I've battled through my priorities on this blog since it's beginning. I'm constantly questioning myself, changing, rearranging, and restructuring. As I started to read this book I identified that one of my problems with productivity stems from a lack of positivity.
I am a realist, through and through. Realists frequently have a hard time being positive, am I right? It's my first inclination on many occasions to say 'that will never work'. I realized this recently on an events call for work. My job requires that I am heavily logistics minded. This means my job requires that I be realistic about what can take place and problem solve what I can. If the fire marshall grants us permission to have 1500 people at an event and 1900 show up, that is a problem. What this does not require is me to Debbie Downer the rest of the teams ideas, whether or not we end up being able to use them.
I took a deep breath and dove into this time management book determined to get my mind right. I may have an organized to go list, a color coded planner, AND floors you could eat off safely but that doesn't mean that my time is well managed. I'm organized, OCD, and more than a little productive. However, there are things I WANT to do with my time that I'm not allowing for.
I've identified a few things about myself from the book. Here's a few notes:
I'm good at: keeping picked up and staying on top of my communications (phone calls, e-mails, texts, etc).
I need vast improvement at: mail (which is constantly piling up), laundry (I get it clean and then leave it in baskets for days), and saying no.
My problem areas fall under these categories (via a quiz in the book): Overwhelmed and complaining. Yeah, my attitude is stinky sometimes. My goals from another chapter include sleeping more/consistently, making more time to be at home, exercising with better regularity, and volunteering more of my time to causes I believe in.
One suggestions that was made in the book about saying no was not to make excuses. Excuses leave room for the person to argue or negotiate. Saying, 'I'm sorry but I cannot do that' is enough. Let your no be no. Also she suggests stalling. Don't feel like you have to spit an answer out immediately, give a thoughtful response so that a 'yes' doesn't leap out of your mouth where an 'I'm unavailable' belongs. If you feel bad saying a flat out 'no', then suggest someone else or something else that might help the person in need.
I may write more about the book later, but this entry is really about the power of positivity. I came back from Haiti determined to do a better job at keeping things in perspective. I think panic modes happen because we get overly worked up about things that are quite a bit smaller than we make them. I've really taken a step back and started thinking big picture. Is this a short setback or is it really worth getting derailed over? I'm sure you can imagine what most things fall under.
I am a firm believer in hard work. While I value relationships I refuse to use them as an excuse not to handle my business well. You can do both. You can have it all. It's not easy but it IS possible.
Naturally I picked an intense time in my life to work on being positive and having a good attitude. I came back from Haiti to chaos at home, chaos at work, and if you've been paying attention you already know: the Haitian plague (a cold). Talk about a tough time to decide not to whine! Whew. But between morning quiet times and big picture thinking (and the occasional bribe on an especially tough day) I've been able to grow leaps and bounds!
What you really want to know, I assume, is whether or not it works? Does telling yourself to be positive and not getting derailed by setbacks really make any difference? I'm slightly surprised to share that it has! I'm accomplishing more than ever at home and work, feeling at peace even as I'm surrounded by chaos, and learning to not to own other peoples problems, grumbling, or emergencies.
I would like to bring this around into the honesty box long enough to say this has not eliminated my desire to punch a few slow drivers, cry when my house is a mess because of the renovations, OR freak out when my counter tops were 2 days late throwing off my painter and my plumber in the process. What is has done is teach me to handle each situation as it comes up and extend grace because at the end of the week, the counters will be in, the paint will be done, and the plumber will bless me with running water yet again. In a few weeks this 48 hour delay will be a distant memory and Lord willing, I may still have my dignity!
So raise your 6 pack of redbull with me and let's be grateful for what and who we have in our lives that make them worth managing our time. Let's not make excuses to be lazy or disorganized and do our tasks well so we can leave them behind. Lets even laugh in the face of a few problems that would have derailed us last week, because we CAN handle them.
I've learned a great deal from this time management book study I'm doing and if you all are interested, I may just share more soon.