This has been a particularly trying week. Angie came down with the same cold or flu that I had last week. My mom had a meltdown over turning 68. My niece moved back in with the father of her child, leaving behind a brokenhearted new boyfriend, a devastated roommate, and a confused best friend…all of whom called me to vent. And Caesar still has worms!
But…I’m not letting it get me down. Life happens, and other people’s problems don’t necessarily have to be mine. (That’s me giving myself a pep talk.)
Despite the illness and drama, I managed to finish two books this week, Van Life and The Minimalist Mindset. From the latter, I picked up a couple of tips on managing interruptions (like worried friends calling during my work day to talk about my niece) and focusing on one’s own priorities over all else. Of course, these aren’t new concepts, but they were timely this week, so they really hit home.
To manage the interruptions, I downloaded an app called Nights Keeper that allows me to set “quiet hours” on my phone. During this time, no calls, texts, or alerts can come through, except for the ones I want. My co-workers, my mom, and Angie are all on my daytime “white list”. Anyone else who calls or texts between 8 AM and 4 PM on weekdays receives a polite message that says, “I’m at work right now and can’t respond to your message. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
Once upon a time, such messages were not necessary. People respected boundaries, especially boundaries associated with work. The fact that people are now inseparable from their cell phones has eliminated those boundaries and we’re expected to respond immediately to someone else’s wants or needs. I for one, do not like this. As a writer, it’s imperative that I have uninterrupted quiet time to concentrate on the creative process and the best way that I can manage that is to start treating the phone as a phone again. I don’t have to answer it when it rings, beeps, sings, tweets, screams, or buzzes at me. Answering the phone is not a priority.
Getting my work done is a priority. Taking care of myself is a priority. Spending time with family is a priority. Even doing something fun is a priority.
To walk our own talk, we made Wednesday our “reboot” day. We decided to forget about all the negative things that had happened during the past week and concentrate instead on doing something spontaneous and fun.
I started the day by taking my mom to Michael’s. It’s been on her to do list for a few weeks now. While we were shopping (for one ball of yarn), Angie made lunch, which we all sat down and enjoyed together. After lunch, Angie and I went to the park. The birds were really happy to see us.
On the way home, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some healthy snacks. We even made our first visit to the bulk aisle. Shopping bulk is something that we’ve toyed with for a while now but have never tried (mostly because we didn’t quite know how to get the tare weights for our own containers). An awesome sale on oats prompted us to learn. We did not have a container with us yesterday, so we used one of our produce bags. It worked perfectly, and we got nearly 4 pounds of oats for 87 cents.
After the grocery store, we made a quick stop at our favorite dumpster and it paid off big time! I have no idea why they would throw out perfectly good toilet paper, but we rescued 38 rolls (most of them still in the package). We also took home 3 long stem roses and a quart of strawberries, which might have been the set up for a romantic evening if it weren’t for the cat.
Though diatomaceous earth is a great product, it wasn’t quite curing Caesar of his worm infestation so we had to go with a prescription medication. We spent $27 for 3 pills. The first dose was wasted, literally. We tried to disguise it in Caesar’s food but he wouldn’t eat any part of it. I agonized a bit over the thought of having to force feed him a pill, imagining every scenario from being bitten to having him puke up the last remaining dose of this very expensive medication; but in the end, he swallowed it like a champ. And poof, no more worms!
So our rough week actually had a happy ending.
What this week taught me was that even the most focused individuals lose focus every now and then. Distractions are a part of every day life and we have to learn to manage them before they manage us. I’m hoping that the Nights Keeper and my own commitment to a distraction-free work day helps me to do just that. And if not, I may just have to channel my own mother. When we were kids, she used to tell us, “Do not call me at work unless you are dying. If you do, and you’re not dying, you will be when I get home.” 😊
How do you deal with distractions during your work day?
Food Waste Update
- Wasted Food this week: 5 ounces
- Total Wasted Food in 2018: 9 ounces
- Found Food this week: 9.75 US pounds
- Total Found Food this year: 63.17 US pounds
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