Investing Time and Other Musings

A number of my recent posts have been about managing time and using all those spare moments that make up the bulk of this Stay-At-Home-Mom’s day. Following this quest, the book I am currently reading is Laura Vanderkam’s ‘I Know How She Does It- How Successful Women Make the Most of their Time’.

I am only half way through the book, and already am delighted by the many inspiring but practical techniques to follow. One concept that stood out to me is mindfulness and measurement. Being conscious of your time and the need to log your activities makes one really mindful and cognizant of what we are doing. I know this by personal experience because I logged my time for a few weeks. Read more on that here. One of the best benefits of time logging was how involved and engaged I was. I actively tried to maximize my time, energy and tasks. This means batching tasks and mindful multi-tasking.

Also, from my recent Positivity Ratio tracking, I realized that planning my day and time with T to include a mix of routine and novelty keeps her and me both happy. Planning what I will do in spare moments, being prepared for all those spare moments keeps me away form distractions. After all, time is like salary. Like my father (an accountant) is fond of quoting:

It is not about how much you earn, but how much you save!

Or more appropriately:

It is not about how much time you have, but what and how we invest that time in!

I am hence trying to invest my time in high return activities:

  • health : cooking, exercising, eating consciously
  • career: studying, doing personal projects, working on my online biz presence
  • reading: keeping books of all formats at hand, saving book lists and finding which are in my library.

I would also like to mention her how I tackle the books on my reading list:

  • I maintain a list of books to read on my iPhone.
  • Whenever free, I check if it is available in my library.
  • If yes, I add the accession number.
  • On my next visit, I know what aisle to head and grab the book.
  • If not, I check if available on Hoopla Digital, the online platform. I access it via my library and borrow if available.
  • If not, ask around: interlibrary loan, friends. Usually: works!
  • If not, check a different book. 🙂

Being intentional helps me read the books I want to and not just any fluff. Plus, it keeps the preschooler form whining as I search for the books I need as opposed to carting her off to the kiddie section.Win-win!

 

Current Challenges – Revisited

I thought I’d give a nice update on my current challenges for August just like in July.

  • Schooling

T and I have been visiting the library and we are done with our Summer Program. We shall be collecting our gift soon. As of this week, T has read over 250 unique books. [Our reading count is higher since T likes to read her favorites over and over again. This is why we had finished the ‘1000 books before Kindergarten’ summer program last year with ~120 unique books. Not bad for a four year old!]

We are learning about time thanks to the Melissa&Doug clock from our library.

Cycling and walking are among our physical activities and making polite conversation constitute our social activities list.

  • Positivity

I finished more than three weeks of logging my positivity ratio; so, I have learnt what boosts my mood instantly and what automatically puts me in a slump. Accordingly, am trying to increase the good moments and avoid the bad ones. Read about my attempts at measuring positivity here and here.

  • Reading

I finished yet another book this week. Hurray! I am reading three books as of now. One is a physical copy, one an audio book and another an ebook. Having discovered how all the spare moments add up, I have resorted to having books around in multiple formats. This means that I can utilize every extra minute for absorbing a great book depending on the situation. Baby sleeping in my arms, go with the ebook. Ironing my never ending pile: listen to the audio book instead of songs. Supervising the li’l angel: read the hard cover. It’s not a perfect technique, but it works.

  • Camp NaNoWriMo

The one glaring blip on my list of challenges. I did NOT reach my target. No excuses or reasons. I am just glad that I learnt some useful lessons that will aid me in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Make an outline.

Flesh out story and characters beforehand.

Don’t think, just write, never edit.

  • Personal Projects

I finished my MOOC with 95% score. Yippee!!

My pro bono project is in progress. I need to finish that within this fortnight.

 

It’s amazing how simple, ordinary lives too have so many challenges, big and small! What are you tackling now? Leave your thoughts and challenges in the comments below.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

Positivity- 2

Last week, I wrote about measuring Positivity. This week I share some updates on how my positivity fared, and the results of the technique I was trying out.

Last week, after about ten days of measurement and analysis; I found that even on my best days, my positivity ratio never surpassed 3 on the scale. It seemed like the negative events were dragging my ratio down keeping it lower than 3.

Note: The related study puts forth the range of 3-11 as the ideal positivity ratio. Loosely translated, it is the ratio of positives and negatives of life. 3-11 ensures that you have sufficient gladness and optimism to counter negatives and move forward brimming with confidence and cheer without being delusional or blind to realities.

Reiterating, I felt the negatives were swaying my positives. I wondered if my ‘frame of mind during recall’ could have any influence on this test. It seemed logical but I wanted to test it for sure. This test is to be taken at roughly the same time everyday which for me is in my harried, strained mornings. Hence, I felt my negative and glum mindset might be influencing my recall. Accordingly, this whole week, I made sure to read delightful articles and inspiring notes for a couple of minutes before taking the test.

I am happy to note that the resetting of my frame of mind helped me to recall more happy moments of the day, essentially all the ‘wins’. Consequently, my positivity factors have boosted quite significantly. A snapshot is shown below:

PositivityRatio

This little test led me to thinking about doubling my ‘Sugar Jar’, ‘Gratitude Journaling’ and other activities. But details on those are for another post.

Until then, have a great weekend ahead! Stay positive, stay healthy, stay happy!

 

Current Challenges

This week’s post is about the current challenges of my life:

  • Schooling

School is out but teaching/ schooling never ends for a parent. So, I am trying to teach T at least an hour about world, nature, science, literature, Indian arts and traditions (since we are in Chicago; want her to know her roots as well)

  • Positivity

After reading Daniel Pink’s book, I am hooked on the concept of Positivity ratio. I even took the Positivity Test and found mine to be less than the ideal 3:1 ratio. I am determined to attempt it everyday for two weeks along with deliberate efforts to increase my mindfulness and positive mood.

  • Reading

While I am well past my Goodreads Challenge for 2017; I am trying to keep the pace up. Of course, easier said than done, with so multiple projects in my life right now. This is where every minute counts and synchronized readers come into play. Fingers crossed!

  • Camp NaNoWriMo

I am a participant in 2017 with a target of 10K words. I am still under 1K. So, this is something, I am trying hard to keep up with. The problem is not the words but fear of content. The stories in my mind are really close to my heart and just the thought of setting it to paper is making me feel too vulnerable to write. But I hope to conquer this fear and accomplish my target.

  • Personal Projects

This month, I am completing a MOOCs and doing a pro bono website design project. Hence, I have a full plate on time and creativity and coding front. [= no time but lots of positivity 🙂 ]

Who says ordinary lives are simple or boring? 🙂