May 30, 2011

Best Time of Day for Yard Work

I love working in our yard, but I don't like getting super hot and sweaty. Becoming overheated will not only send me to a state of unnecessary, perspiring grumpiness, but it's dangerous too, especially if you are older, have a heart condition or other sensitivities aggravated by heat.

Here are a few tips I've picked up over the years, and though there is no new information stated here, it's always good to be reminded:

  • Get up early to tackle all quiet chores such as weeding, watering, planting, mulching, etc. There's no noise to bother the neighbors, and it's THE coolest part of the day. Catch up on any missed sleep during the hottest part of the day, if you can. Weeding or turning sod is always easiest right after a good rain - take advantage of it if you can!

  • Twilight is also a great time for working in the yard and no one cares much about the noise if you are using the mower or the blower. (Be careful about what kind of watering you do before nightfall though - without the sun to burn it off each day, there is a greater chance of mold, mildew, diseases, etc.)

  • Try to avoid doing any kind of strenuous work outside in the heat of the day (10am-3pm.) If you must work midday, stay in the shaded areas: north and west during the mornings, east and south in evenings. Even during the coolest parts of the day, if I'm getting warmer than I like, I'll work back and forth between sunny and shaded areas to cool down periodically.

  • Stay hydrated with lots water or sports drinks. Your body perspires as a way to cool itself, but needs replenishment often. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will dehydrate you, no matter how refreshing at the time of consumption. However, there's nothing that says you cant enjoy a tasty margarita or cold beer when dehydration is not an issue!

  • Wear light colored, loose fitting, moisture wicking fabrics.

  • Protect your skin and eyes with sunblock, sunglasses and a hat if needed. Remember the often forgotten areas: back of the neck, ears, scalp, hands, and feet.

  • Avoid next day stiffness and muscle fatigue: stand up and stretch often.

I hope you have a great summer!

May 26, 2011

Work Through A Dibilitator - Striving for Perfection

Today I had two simple goals: start working on the website for my professional organizing business, and clean the house. In my planner, I dedicated the a.m. to web building (the best time of the day for me to take on new projects) and the afternoon for everything else. So simple.

I sat at the computer, armed with water, coffee and my best thinking music playing in the background. I was ready to rock the world wide web with my stupendously amazing site! Except I really wasn't ready at all. I sat there, staring at the screen, guzzling my beverages and replaying the music that was supposed to motivate me. I caught up on emails, cruised Facebook for awhile, and made a batch of really good pancakes. However, there was no progress made on the site, and half the morning was gone.

I had to change my strategy because what I was doing was NOT working. I had to do something productive or risk the possibility of losing the entire day. I put in some teeth whitening strips, set the timer for 1/2 hour, and started some housework.

In that 1/2 hour, I had a little talk with myself. I asked the same questions I might ask a client who was having a hard time getting started on a project:

What is holding you back?
Is it fear of failure? Fear of success?
Is it lack of experience?
Do you feel intimidated by the scope or complexity of the task?
Will a little research help?
Do you have the help you need?
Do you have the time you need?

With a little introspection, I realized the pressure I was putting on myself was to be perfect coming out the gate. I didn't want to type a word, or drop in a picture on the site, unless it was 'perfect.'

Identifying what was holding me back was half the battle - I could now work on fixing my hangup. I know I'm a perfectionist and it consistently holds me back from getting more accomplished. Do you ever find yourself saying: 'I wont do it until I know I can do it 'right'" or "it's not done until it's perfect.'" Well then, we have something in common!

But what is perfect anyway? Does EVERY task require the excellence needed to launch a rocket or perform brain surgery? To me, perfection means more than without flaw - it's a higher standard than anything else out there, excellence cubed, if you will. Even though I know these are unreasonable expectations, I continually fight the same battle repeatedly for the most mundane, unimportant tasks.

So this afternoon, I talked myself down from the perfectionist ledge:

Striving for perfection is keeping me from progress and the level of production of which I believe I'm capable. Because I want to do it 'right' I may not get anything done at all, which is unacceptable! Perfectionism may bog me down on one thing so long I cant move on to anything else, which is impractical. To move beyond perfection, I need to look at the overall goal, and constantly prioritize what is, and is not, truly important. So start. Start somewhere. (I can usually change it later if needed.)

Unless I remind myself to change my thinking patterns to focus on what's really important, the perfectionist ideal will be illusive, even pernicious, to the ultimate goal of progress and production. I can do many things well, as we all can, but I wont get anything done at all if I strive for the impossible!