Start with the Minimum

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I’m a bit of an overachiever.  As a kid I would always want to do more than was actually required.  Read the optional summer reading books. Climb to the highest point in the tree. And when I got math problems wrong or I couldn’t find the right puzzle piece I would get frustrated and give up the whole endeavor. I can’t tell you how often doing homework resulted in tears.

But even when I was only able to do the minimum, I was always surprised by often just the minimum was enough.  By just showing up on time and having read the assignment I managed grades I was happy with.

This isn’t to say that school was always easy, or that I expect that life will be the same way.  But I think that this is part of why I’m psyching myself out over finding a job.  I’m trying to overachieve, but I don’t even know what the minimum is yet.

So this week I’m starting with the minimum, and we’ll see where that gets me.

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This Will Be: September 2013

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September is my favorite month. Probably because it’s my birthday month. And TV premiere month. And Emmy month. And the beginning of school month. And the beginning of jacket weather (well, in normal climates). Gah, I just love September so much.

Things that will happen this month include a few things that were teed up in August that will come full circle in September. In September I will become a member of the church I’ve been going to. I will be starting my final semester in college, despite being hundreds of miles away from the college I’ll be attending. And of course, this month, I’ll be going on a camping trip that I am in the process of planning.

I constantly seem to be forgetting my word for the year, fearless. I realize that what I need to do is set an even more specific goal each month within the larger goal for the year. September will be to set fearlessness. That sounds a little bit odd, but looking at what I want for this month my goals seem to mostly be to set more goals. Is that silly? Maybe.

But it’s also really timely for me. The beginning of the school year always seemed like a more logical time for me to set goals then at the beginning of the calendar year. Coupled with my birthday, setting goals is the perfect goal for me this month. A month of goal setting and routine making.

Some routine setting goals include washing the dishes, making my bed, and doing quiet time every day. I’d like to go to the library once a week. Coincidentally, DVDs can be checked out for only a week, so if I get one DVD every time I’ll be all set to come in every week. I will also have a lot of scheduling to do once I get my syllabus’ for my classes (syllabi?).

I am also going to spend some time out of the next two weeks coming up with goals for being 22. It seems that the new year is the time to set specific goals for the year, and my birthday is a time to set intentions for the year. I’ll use this time as a way to check in with myself on my calendar year goals as well as ponder what I’ll be doing with myself a year from now.

What are your plans for September?  Any big goals you’re got in mind for the month?

This Will Be: August 2013 Edition

Since I started school July 1st, there has been a handful of things that I knew I wouldn’t get to until I finished school in August.  I started the proper list of things to do last week and it includes everything from finding an internship and a car to a short list of online shopping.

Priority for me is probably to find a scooter.  I knew from the start that I would be able to manage through my truncated semester without a serious form of transportation, but that’s not going to be an option for much longer.  I need a reliable way of getting to who knows where I need to go.  I have the gear and the license, the only thing I need now is the vehicle.

Second priority has to be finding an internship.  I have a few leads and know sort of where I’m interested in going, but it’s time to pound the pavement and find one.  I sense cold calls in my future.  Ideally I would start an internship when I start my online classes in September, but I’m open to starting earlier.

Beyond that there are a few miscellaneous things I’d like to start planning, some of which is already in the works.  A writers group with some of my classmates from the fall, some secondary learning stuff with classmates from the summer, and a camping trip later in the month.  I want to go camping so bad you guys, I’m excited to put a trip together.

Also making up the list mentioned at the beginning of this post are a few events here in LA that I’m hoping will build my network, a few friends parties, and joining the church I’ve been attending.  I’ve also planned for helping out a friend with social media marketing (and possibly seeing if it’s something I could do some consulting in).  I want to find a yoga studio and I want to write the spec pilot for the IP I’ve been working on.

This month feels like a long list of things, but it also feels like it should be a long list if only because I’ve now gotten a decent sized chunk of unstructured time coming my way.  Starting Saturday I’ll be done with all school things and I’ll be on my own to schedule and coordinate myself.

What’s your plan for August?  Any big goal marks to hit this month?

It’s Not the Money I’m After

My relationship with money is complicated.  My dad makes good money and growing up I never really felt like I was major league missing out on anything in particular.  At least not that I can think of looking back.  God knows I may have felt differently at the time.

I got an allowance.  It started in 5th grade.  I remember sitting in the back seat of the car while my parents discussed what my sisters and my’s allowance should be. It was determined that I would get 5 dollars and my sister would get 3.  Coincidentally I was in 5th grade and my sister was in 3rd.  Once we realized this, we proceeded to get a raise in allowance as we moved up the grades.  Once I got to high school they decided that we would max out at $10 a week.

There were plenty of ways to circumvent the system.  My dad is the man you want to pick up the phone if you’re a telemarketer.  With a little convincing I could get him to buy me things.  Mom said it was because he was the one earning the money, so he felt freer to spend it.  I have no idea how accurate that is.  I just know that one weekend my dad stood up and declared “I haven’t spent enough money yet this weekend, let’s go to the mall,” and I will still sometimes remind him of that moment.

When I turned 15–the age that they bank would allow me to have my own bank account–we signed me up.  For my first bank account my mom had to be there to sign for anything.  It didn’t feel like a real account.  A few years later I got a proper account with a checking account and a savings account linked together and online banking and a debit card.

After we moved cross-country allowances kind of fell apart.  A lot of things stopped after that move.  Saturday morning breakfasts with dad.  Family trips to the mall.  It’s not that they were scorned, simply that they had run their course and were replaced.  We went to the farmers market on Saturday mornings.  My sister and I made grocery store runs where she would drive and I would rant about the inadequacies of 2-way stop signs.

When I started school in Chicago a few years later, I was given a monthly allowance.  It covered groceries, sundries, clothes when needed, and–after I moved out of the dorms–rent.  This changed by the month, but I was never in need of money.  If I ran a little too close to the edge in a month I would call mom and she would transfer more money into my account.

Now as I’m starting to do my own taxes and look for my own apartment, I’m starting to think of the day-to-day realities of being financially independent.  A huge part of me is scared of money.  What is there to spend money on anyway?  A place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear.  Yoga classes, eating out, travel, camping/climbing equipment?  It seems that the best things in life cannot be bought.  But how do we find them?

I want to have friends to hang out with.  I want to have some way of being busy every day, a routine to get into.  I want to make things.  Physical things with yarn and string, and more ambiguous things with words on a page.  In my life it is the relationships and the accomplishments that I hope to be proud of.  Not the state of my bank account.

Morning People

I know better than to say that I am a morning person.  Claim that I’m a morning person and I’ll likely be told by multiple people throughout the rest of the week that they saw this and they know it’s a lie.  But, I know that I do my most focused work before lunchtime.  Mornings and evenings (which isn’t to say I can’t do work in between, it’s just harder for me to concentrate).

Because I know this I try to schedule time to work on things in the mornings so that by lunchtime I can take a break.  This way even if I get nothing done for the rest of the day at least I’ll have been a bit productive in the morning.  Gotten done my small handful of things.

The problem with working in the morning — at least in college —  is that no one else is ever awake to answer questions as you have them.  You have to file things away so that you can call people later.  This was especially problematic last week while I was trying to put together scripts at 10 am (not crazy early if I may point out) and the whole business was quite dependent on guests responding to me.

What’s a girl to do?  Well, for the most part I just try to get things that require other people’s responses done in the evening time slot.  That works.  Sometimes.

Sunshine, Springtime, and School

I know, it’s been a while.  I am unapoligetically sorry for the crazy few weeks that have become my life.  Since I last updated there have been parties, late nights, and lots to do.  While I haven’t been updating, I have been thinking a lot about how I want to organize my blog and be more consistantly blogging.  Yesterday I sat down with my roommate and we had a chat about it.  She’s in a web development class, so she’s going to be helping me out with a bloggy revamp.  I’m excited, but a bit nervous as well.  I also don’t know what I’m going to do with myself next year without this girl and our late night discussions.  I guess we’ll have to conduct them over Skype.  Yup.

Anyway, in the meantime, here is a picture of the sun seting in the South Loop.  Daylight savings time has finally let me see sunsets again, which in turn makes me nostolgic.  This time two years ago I was spending a week in the wilderness, trying to figure out my life.  Springtime is a time for planning.  Planning, reorganizing, and revamping blogs.

Right Then

{This week instead of doing a Right Now post I’m doing Right Then as an end of the year reflection.  Hope you like it.}

I tried to spend my time more wisely this year and was continuously trying to see where I could be doing things that would better myself.  I’m not sure that this directly lead to more activity, but I think it did make me more aware of the ways that I could be wasting my time less.  It’s a start at least.

I took on more responsibility this year, work-load-wise and financially.  It was really comforting to be able to say that I feel prepared for being financially independent.  I know that I’m nowhere near that now, but I’m working with the stepping stones of it.  I also feel more confident in my ability to keep house.  It’s strange how domestic I am sometimes, but I really like having a nice place to live in.

I started planning and organizing differently.  I’ve always been a pretty organized person, but when I moved into the new apartment in Chicago I kind of took it to a whole new level.  This has lead to more health contentiousness and more budget contentiousness.  Awesome.

I learned a lot about myself and how I deal with leadership (not well) by being a leader in InterVarsity.  I didn’t really talk about the process and reasons for me leaving on this blog, and may never quite be comfortable enough to explain it on here, but suffice to say I learned a lot and grew in my faith and in knowing myself.

Overall I’m really happy with 2011, and I’m looking forward to what 2012 will bring.  Travel, planning, new projects, and new possibilities are all on the horizon.  Bring it on.

Going Domestic

It feels strange to say sometimes that I enjoy (some!) housework, but strange as it is, it’s also true.  As long as I am not be rushed through everything, then I don’t mind doing the washing and the ironing, the cleaning, the cooking and the baking.  I recently came across a list of Victorian Era chores assigned to days of the week (HERE, through another post on THIS blog I follow occasionally).  It seems so simple, so obvious.

I remember that as I was growing up.  My mom stayed home with my sister and I and every day of the week was reserved for a different chore.  I’m not sure we had baking on our list, and Daddy did the grocery shopping, but every day was assigned it’s own chore.  My sister and I were expected to help.  Especially on cleaning day, dusting and picking up our rooms.  On washing day we would sit on the bed sorting socks.

The list got me thinking of all the things that I should be doing on a more regular basis.  Washing, ironing, cleaning, and baking among them.  Why not have a day for blogging though?  I already schedule posts to appear later than I write them.  Or a day reserved for catching up on all my television shows (I’m a TV major, let me have my fun).  On the more practical side a day for sorting through everything on my desk and dealing with things that need dealing with.  A day to go to the post office (something that’s been needing to happen more and more lately).  A day to double check that all bills are paid.  A day to check in with my roommate, a day to change the sheets on my bed.

I can’t help by think that I used to have days for things like this.  I can’t help but wonder what happened to them.  With my changing schedule and constant homework situation, balanced with my level of procrastination, I do things in strange sequences as of late.  Washing doesn’t get folded until days later, and ironing nearly goes forgotten.  Baking happens when I suddenly get the urge late at night.  Shopping is unplanned.  And all this leads to me staying up late into the night, or things not getting done at all.

So starting now I’m re-evaluating my schedule.  I’m creating lists and there are going to be changes around here.  I wasn’t even expecting that when I started writing this post, I sort of talked myself into it.  Just now in the last two paragraphs.  But I think it does need to be done.  Ask me about this the next time you see me, yeah?  Cause I have no idea how it’s going to work out.

W.I.P.

About my favorite thing to do in the world is check everything off of my to do list.  Making the to do list and finishing the to do list.  Sometimes the actual doing of whatever is on the list isn’t as fun, but checking it off the list makes it so much better.  There is such satisfaction in seeing little check marks next to a whole column of things that I’ve done, books that I’ve read, even tv shows that I’ve watched.  Half the reason I set goals is so that I can check them off my to do list.

To do list are (of course) kept in planners.  I’ve had a planner since I started third grade and it’s probably my favorite thing in the world.  Each week has a page with a column per day to write a massive to do list in.  My planner is the only thing that helps me to remember what needs to get done and reminds me what that phone number is, and what my student id number is when I forget.  Newspaper article to give to a friend: paper clipped into my planner.  Record locator for my flight home: written on the day of the flight.  Random quote of the week: came with the planner.

On another note, I’m a huge fan of post it notes.

How do you keep yourself organized?