The myth of multitasking

Inext_p_lsoc_1multitaskingw

I don’t think I can even count the number of times my dad told me not to watch TV and do homework.  I did it anyway, as often as I could get away with it.  Then when I moved away from home, I could do it all the time!  Now it’s hard for me to get to work without something going on the in background, but I am noticing more and more how much it really does take my focus away.

There is just something really comforting to me about having sounds in the background while I am working.  Music works better than TV (in terms of staying focused), but that can still distract me more than I would like.  In fact there is some research that suggests multitasking can actually make you 40% slower at completing a task!

So this month I would like to look for ways to cut out the multitasking in my life.  I have a feeling I am not actually gaining anytime by multitasking, but since it’s so comfortable for me I have had a hard time changing this habit.  I’m going to start with focusing on my work habits, but I am sure multitasking bleeds into all corners of my daily life.

Also in the spirit of not multitasking I am only setting one goal for this month… and hopefully for now forward!

 

4509c07790e349f5e5b1a48cfa461451

Continuing the Green Push

So July is here and yet again I have failed to hit the deadline of one month.  I don’t have a problem making this a two month project (there is a lot to keep doing).  However I am annoyed with how I have done writing about it all.  So I’m adding on to this month.  Although it seems counterintuitive to add more when I have trouble completing what I am doing, let me explain.  I think about what I am doing/ working on all the time, and I love staying in the planning process.  But sometimes I have a very difficult time leaping into action.  So this month combined with continuing to go greener, I will be doing more by doing less.  I’m going to set aside less time to do the work (rather than giving myself all day and night), but when that time is passed… no more work.  Hopefully I will be forced into action instead of planning myself into oblivion.  Or this blog will be sadly empty for the rest of the month and it will be clear that this method does not help 🙂

So July:

Continue to go greener!

Set specific work hours and stay within them

Start August’s project on time!

 

564001_509975695731678_1667767253_n

 

Also,self  created busy-ness is nothing special to me!

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

 

 

From Marketing to Markets

Personal-Finance

January is over, thank goodness cause that was getting stressful!  I am so glad that I accomplished everything I set out to do, a little surprised that I managed to do it all, but overall happy I did it and happy it’s over 🙂  Best lesson learned from that entire month: Better to do a little work everyday, then play catch up at the end of the year.  So the theme of my life again seems to be consistency is the best policy.

So with one stressful month behind me, I thought I would give myself a break and look into all financial aspects of my life.  Oh and February is only 28 days… Good planning.

For this projects I will be read two books that were highly recommended (…by the internet)

0470679883 iwillteachyoutoberich

…I wonder if the original title was “Personal finance for Canadian Dummies”  and then it quickly got changed?

I already really enjoy learning about finances, taxes and the idea of keeping good records.  I say the idea of keeping good records because as soon as I am on the road for too long my nice filing system becomes an overstuffed envelope that I figure I will deal with later.  Later becomes April 10th, and more and more often I am not anywhere near my home office to deal with taxes come April.

To be honest I am pretty knowlegable with US tax law, planning for retirement in the US and generally keeping track of my money.  However I recently immigrated to Canada and I don’t know anything about their financial system, except that I will probably be paying more taxes.

So February here we go:

*Read: “I will teach you to be rich” and “Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies”

* Follow the program outlined in “I will teach you to be rich”

*research and implement a better method of “keeping the books” while I am on the road

*Understand the Canadian tax system well enough to know if I need someone else to do my taxes for me 🙂

*Learn my options for retirement planning for US vs Canada

*Try not to fall asleep while reading numerous tax forms

Exhausted Student Falling Asleep While Cramming

You have 4 weeks, GO!

Get’er Done

gtd-book

Getting Things Done or GTD by David Allen is probably the best productivity book I’ve read… and I’ve done my fair share of researching productivity.  I’ve done all that research because I tend to have two problems:

1.) I work hard, but not always smart

2.) I seem to never have enough time to finish projects due to procrastination and perfectionism… which are basically two sides of the same coin.

I’m always working on, thinking about or worrying about the things I have to do.  But a lot of the mental gymnastics I am going through isn’t really helping me accomplish anything.  My skating coach once told me that I work very hard, but not very smart and she was right.  It didn’t matter how many times I was willing to throw myself into the air, until I thought about what I wanted my body to be doing, I wasn’t going to be landing any jumps.  I have since figured out pretty well how to accomplish goals related to physical abilities, but I need to do the same with the other areas of my life.

I used to think I needed to manage my time more wisely, but I am starting to think that my projects simply swell with the time given to complete them.  Deadlines always inspire a certain dread in me that counter intuitively bring out procrastination.  It’s like I’m  a little child that thinks if I just hide everything under the bed no one will notice… maybe the project will just disappear!  But of course they almost never do and then I’ve just wasted more time and added to the stress.  Perfectionism plays out in much the same way except when the deadlines are ones I’ve made up, the projects get pushed further and further back.  Everything that I did this month is a perfect example of that.  I was waiting until I had a perfect website envisioned to even start making one.  Which basically led to years of essentially doing nothing except worrying and being upset that I hadn’t done it yet.

eperfect

The main reason I feel GTD works for me, is that it allows me to capture everything going on in my world/ head so I don’t have to think about it all the time.  This frees me up to be a person and not a walking worrywart.

I am really great at the initial part of the process which is basically make a list of everything that is or has ever been on your mind.

Next organize those thoughts into actionable plans.  Basically, “Get in Shape” is not an actionable plan, but “Research nearby gyms” or “Make appointment with a Personal Trainer” are.  The less vague the better.  Some thoughts are one-step actions, while others will turn into multi-step projects.

Then do one of the following: Do It, Defer It, Delegate It or Drop It.  There is also a recommendation that anything you can do in less than 2 minutes, you should do right away.  Implementing this has been most helpful for me for emails.  It’s amazing how many I will read and then let sit there when I probably could have responded immediately and just been done with it already!

The last part of his process is probably the most important and also the easiest to start avoiding or ignoring.  It’s the weekly review.  You basically want to review your system and all of its captured parts so you can stay on top of everything and make a plan for the next week about what needs to get done.  It’s easy to start letting this slide, but without this step the method really won’t hold together for long.

I would recommend this book to anyone who ever feel even the slightest bit overwhelmed by the things they want or have to get done.

Here’s a fun chart that may not make sense to everyone, but it’s a great reminder chart after understanding his system.

gtd_chart

One app I found useful is actually a browser extension for chrome called “ActiveInbox”.  It is made to help you implement GTD in your gmail.  I feel like it does a pretty good job, better than what I could do using folders and labels alone.  I haven’t been using it long enough to know how well it stands up over time… but so far so good.  If you are interested in ActiveInbox you can find out more about it here:

http://www.activeinboxhq.com/

Oh yeah and its basic version is free!

Goodbye debilitating perfectionism, hello consistent, purposeful effort 🙂

notperfect

Jet lag giveth and Jet lag taketh away

jet_lag

I’m usually pretty strict about getting over jet lag as soon as possible.  Combined with my talent for sleeping on any form of transportation, I have hence avoided jet lag since my first trip overseas.

article-2204049-14F31B19000005DC-277_634x440

I can sleep anywhere!

This time coming back from Japan I’m not sure what happened, but I blame movies on planes.  I used to get all sorts of rest or paperwork or reading or even THINKING done on long plane rides.  They were nice unavoidable chucks of time that were largely free from distraction.  Now there are movies and wifi and my oasis of enforced personal time is gone.  Sure I could just not press play… but I always do and it makes it harder for me to want to get any rest.

The flights from Japan to Canada had me getting back home 5 minutes before I left with the time change.  So I arrived home at 4 pm having not slept for the last 25 hours and while I should have done anything I could to stay awake at least until 10… I decided to “just take a little nap”.  Ahh foiled by the old nap routine, it’s almost as classic as, “I’m just going to rest my eyes”.  My nap turned into more of a sleep and I woke up at 11pm, wide awake.  Stayed awake until around 7 am when I finally fell asleep again. This downward cycle continued until I was basically awake at night and sleeping at day also know as still being on Tokyo time.  Throughout the whole time feeling like a walking zombie and getting almost nothing done… and I had so much left to do!  To break the cycle I decided to go cold turkey, stay up all night and the next day to get back on schedule in one foul swoop.  Which gave me about 30 waking hours to kill, and a list a mile long of things I wanted to get done before the ticking clock that January has become runs out.

missa

In a semi comatose state I managed to complete:

* New website for myself : www.kimberlycraig.com

*New website for Street Circus : www.thestreetcircus.com

* updated resume

*set up linked in

Part of me is proud, and part of me is annoyed that I was able to do all this in a day and yet have been putting it off for over a year.  I’ll stick with proud for now I guess 🙂 With almost a week to spare I only have two things left:

*work goals

*read “getting things done”  (I find it kinda funny that I have been too busy getting things done to read this)

While jet lag rendered me useless for a couple days, it sure made up for it in the end 🙂

Goals from New Years Past

Happy-New-Year-2013-HD-Wallpaper-6

New Years is probably one of my favorite holidays.  It’s definitely my favorite one second holiday.

It’s pretty clear that I love making lists and making goals, and New Years is a celebrated holiday to do just that! This year I decided to look back at past goals to see how far I have come and what other goals have fallen by the wayside. I have lists of New Years goals from about the last 10 years and it was pretty amazing to see how many of those goals have been accomplished one way or another. However there are lots of less interesting, but important goals that have been on there year after year…never getting done. SO this year I’m starting 2013 as the year of achieving forgotten goals and growing up! Turns out the theme of my forgotten goals is clear: they are important but time consuming tasks that don’t involve training or performing circus! I do very well accomplishing goals that are related to circus and training, but not so well at being a preventative, responsible grown up.  Also as 2012 came to an end it became clear that I should plan out the project months a few months in advance. So here is what I hope to do as 2013 begins, the year of achieving forgotten goals, growing up** and being preventative:

January: WORK OVERHAUL – deal with the marketing side of being a circus performer… I have put this off for 3 years now.

February: FINANCES – learn how to manage finances better, methods to keep better records

March: MEDICAL – compile your family medical history, go to the doctor and the dentist :/

The other projects I have in mind I can’t quite put set to a month because it depends on where I am in the world, but they are as follows in no particular order:

  • simplify my closet, pair down belongings
  • keep better contact with friends and family
  • learn more about cleaning and try out different green cleaning methods
  • work my way through a whole cookbook
  • use all the spices in my spice cabinet!
  • Be a girl and learn to use make up
  • play more games (this one is a reward month if I can accomplish all the other ones!)
  • discover winnipeg, be proactive about sightseeing while traveling for work
  • attack my craft box, finish projects…. maybe even get rid of some of them.
  • Learn French

Wait that’s 13 project ideas… clearly I have no problem thinking of monthly projects.  Maybe I’ll just have to stick to a lunar calendar.  I do feel a lot less pressure knowing these goals/ projects will be coming at me one at a time… it makes them feel less overwhelming 🙂

Now I’m getting pretty excited about 2013!

funny-pic-dump-1-2-12

**Let me explain what I mean by saying grow up. I tend to put things off until the conditions are perfect. I haven’t made a new work promo in three years because I was waiting for perfect footage. Now I am beginning to think that Nike was right all along, I just need to do it.  Growing up to me means living a preventative life and staying on top of my shit because no one is going to do it for me. The more I am managing my life as a responsible adult some of the time, the more fun I can have the rest of the time.

It also means showing up to the page (thanks Julia Cameron!) and Just doing it (thanks Nike!)