Green Truck Moving

Transition City: New Week, New Job, New Home

The view from my apartment balcony!

The view from my apartment balcony!

Sunday, August 30, was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was the opening scene of my Act Three.

Every Nation threw me a farewell lunch on Friday at Jim ‘N Nick’s, sending me off with love, gratitude, and food. After six years in Nashville with them and two in the Every Nation office in Manila, it was time for a change. I’m moving into a project management role at a marketing agency where I’ll combine my love for customer service with pushing tasks to the finish line.

I moved into my new apartment on Sunday, driving carloads of my belongings in multiple trips down the road into a one-bedroom apartment. Movers came on Monday to carry my furniture and boxes from my two-bedroom home that sheltered me for five years. Kyera married and moved out two years ago, and my life changed.

Today is my first day at my new job; I’ve been sleeping at my new apartment for three nights. I still have things at the house: donations, trash, kitchen items. I’ve made a dozen ten-minute trips back and forth as I sift, pack, drive, unload, walk two flights of stairs, and organize my things.

I’m exhausted, but I feel alive. I’m in my first apartment by myself. My whole life up until recently had been about raising my daughter by myself. I’m coming into my own in my mid-forties by myself. My new boss described the season I’m in, “Transition City.”

The rest of my life is beginning. Transition City looks good.

How to Make Friends with Your ToDo Lists

So many people complain about never having enough time in the day to get all their stuff done. I’m guilty of whining, too. “My todo list keeps giving birth to todos!” Like Gremlins getting wet with a drop of water, the more you check them off, the more they multiply. If only our todos were as cute and cuddly as Gizmo!

I’ve been reading three books that are messing with my head and how I manage my todos, my stuff, and my time. My biggest takeaway as I read them simultaneously is: My todo list can be my friend, if I want it to be.

Here’s how these three books have been helping me make friends with my todo lists:

  1. I’m accepting the fact that tasks are never going to go away. When life is busy and even when it’s not, there’s always something that will need to get done. Always. Whether it’s meeting a deadline for a writing assignment or a website relaunch, or taking care of a newborn, or cleaning out the spare room that now houses your daughter’s old stuff, there will always be something screaming for your attention. It’s a fact of life.
  2. I pick a time of day to process my “stuff” with a system. Whether you’re a digital fan like me who uses tools like OmniFocus 2, or an old-fashioned pen and paper kinda gal, having a system to process your tasks is crucial. If you don’t, your todos are going to keep growing like weeds or your collection of hair care products and makeup in your bathroom. You need to put them in their place and run them, not the other way around.
  3. I block off a chunk of time on the weekdays to do my best work and not just process my todos or my system. My favorite time of day, even before I read Ms. Vanderkam’s book, is in the morning. (And no, it’s not because I hosted a morning show for five years. That was torture.) I started waking early on my own when I hit my mid-forties. I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning before my alarm goes off. (Older people need less sleep. Yes, I said “older.”) I use this time to write for Savvee before going to the day job, or write for the day job in the quiet of my house. I go to Yoga once a week at 5:30 a.m. and other days I do a 7 minute workout to get my muscles moving.
  4. I schedule an actual time to process my “stuff.” For me, it’s after I’ve done my important task for the day, i.e. writing, content creation. Monday mornings at our office are blocked off for the entire staff to do 9time. This time is meant for planning the week and preparing for the week’s meetings.
  5. I use Timeful to block off times in the day to work on specific tasks. This system shows me how little time I actually have in a day! It’s been a grim awakening to realize I can’t check off everything I want to check off, so I don’t. Seeing things intentionally scheduled keeps me from wasting time. Goodbye, multitasking.
  6. I’m being intentional about carving time for working on my goals. I avoid work-work on Saturday mornings when I’m not at the part-time retail job and use the time to blog for myself or learn something on one of the many Udemy courses I’ve purchased.

Whatever cannot be done in a day can be put on my calendar for another day. The list is not going to go away. Better to live with it on my terms than be at its mercy.

Three Books for Rethinking Your Time and Stuff

I have my Kindle to blame for my Multiple Simultaneous Book Reading Syndrome. It’s hard to not buy eBooks when they’re less than $10 a pop! Sometimes they’re less than $5! I end up buying two to three per month. I buy more when the $1.99 page on Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore has lots of good stuff.

I wasn’t looking for books to tell me how to rethink my time and my stuff, but somehow I coincidentally bought three that kinda turned into a theme. Maybe on some level in my psyche, I’ve been craving for order and clarity. Hmmmm.

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Memorial Day 2015

My favorite place in Manila is the Manila American Cemetery. When I was a girl surrounded by the noise and pollution of the city, it reminded me of home. It was the only place I felt truly connected to my roots in the U.S. (Not counting Clark Air Base when it was still around.)

My mom and I would go to the cemetery with a friend visiting from out of the country, or we’d simply visit on a random day. The cemetery is run like a U.S. facility, orderly and pristine. It’s out of place in the middle of busy, dirty Manila. Yet it’s there. All 152 acres with row upon row of white crosses and Stars of David, silent.

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