Category Archives: Accountability

Damn Yankees…

[ UPDATE ]

I hate the Yankees.

To be fair, I realize 86% of America hates the Yankees, so I’m not alone (and since 8% could care less, it’s the really obnoxious – and vocal – 6% of United States citizens that like them).  But unfortunately since it’s June and it’s the middle of the Major League Baseball season that means that – Yankees or not – there’s a ton of baseball on.  In fact, as I write this I’m enjoying my second game of the day (listened to the Cardinals beating my Royals earlier in the afternoon while I was fishing) and just saw what appears to be a 2-run home run by the Dodgers in the top of the 8th inning to take a 4-run lead on the Angels.

But I’m not here to blog about the Yankees, or even MLB.  I’m here to give you an update on life in general, specifically as it applies to the habits I’m working on.  But because it’s baseball season and that’s the best sport in the whole wide world to watch, I find myself stalling when it comes time to do something.

(And, I might add, at the moment I’m stalling.  Big time.)

So I’m going to blame it not on my ADHD but on the Yankees.

OK, it’s really counterproductive to stall in a blog, I’m learning.  Note to self:  don’t stall in a blog.  It doesn’t add anything, and unless you tell folks you’re stalling they have no idea so you have to explain it…which really ruins the effect.

Alright – I’m done.  Here you go, my update:

1.  Reflection.  Frankly, it’s just not happening.  But, rather than beat myself up over it (because a wise friend of mine told me that was stupid), I tried to figure out why.  And I figured something out – I am horrible at scheduling.  Which, oddly enough, makes me pretty good at most aspects of my job which requires more flexibility than a drain snake.  (don’t ask why I used “rubber pipe” – I’m having plumbing issues, so we’ll leave it at that)  So, before I try to get to some sort of scheduling/organization I’m probably not going to solve world hunger.  The good news is I recognize that – and I’m trying to do something about it.  I’m using Remember The Milk every day to help me sort out my activities.  I’ve even got it on my phone, so I can check stuff when I’m  not near my computer.  I’m also going to try using either a scheduling app (like Google Calendar) or a timer application (like, say, Timer) to remind me to do stuff.

2.  E-mail.  Still dominating the e-mail scene.  I’ve managed to keep my GMail well under control, and I’m down below 50 actionable e-mail items at work (note: not too long ago I was over 160).  I probably need to combine my solution on #1 with my actionable e-mail items to get things even smoother.  But I’m very impressed with where I stand here.

3.  Belly-off.  I’m rethinking this one for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, considering the status of #1 I probably need to slow down and focus on what I’ve got open.  Pretty soon I’m going to take #2 off the list and just periodically manage it, so maybe that’s the time to bring it back.  But the other issue is the fact that I’m working seriously long hours and not spending a lot of time at home…and also have a very tight grocery budget (with six kids you have to, or you’ll end up with a third, fourth, and fifth mortgage…) and some of those recipes were going to push the limits.  But I’m not going to “cancel” this – I’m just going to put it on hold.  I’m watching what I’m eating (for the most part) and am drinking more healthy stuff (water, tea, etc.) instead of Coke.  So I’m in the mindset – but I don’t want to get in the middle of this and fall victim to what’s killing me on #1.

OK – there you have it.  Updates.  Not great news for me, and frankly I’m just not happy with my progress.  So instead of pouting about it and the fact that the Angels left the bases loaded in the 8th with the tying runs on base I’m just going to persevere.

And continue to avoid the Bronx.

[ UPDATE COMPLETE ]

Blame it on the South

[ UPDATE ]

I’ve got a good excuse, really.

I’m in the South.  Monroe, Louisiana to be precise, but since it’s the opposite direction Detroit is from KC it’s considered “the South” (yes, I realize that technically Columbia, MO is considered “the South” by that definition…leave me alone).  And since I’m travelling, my ability to follow-through on my commitments to myself is limited.

Wow.  That was weak.  Especially in light of the fact that I actually have some free time in the evenings when I’m not working and don’t have anyone around to distract me.  Let me try rewording what I wanted to say and see if it comes across cleaner.

I AM FAILING.  MISERABLY.

Continue reading Blame it on the South

Update: Stalin-esque

[ UPDATE ]

I know you’re curious about how well my new habits are coming along.  And, since you’ve expressed such curiosity (implicit in the fact that you’re reading this), here’s the scoop on the THREE new habits I’m working on:

1.  Reflection.  I’m only batting .500 on this one.  Which for major league baseball is pretty good, but for the Paul Gillespie Experience is pretty bad.  On the plus side of bad news I realized that I could always do it the following morning if I forgot to do it the night before.  So I did that this morning.  Not a good habit to be in, but suffices in a pinch.  I will get better; I’m going to start putting it on my to-do list every day (instead of just trying to remember it).

2.  E-mail Ruthlessness.  I have gone Stalin on this one.  That’s probably a pretty insensitive reference, but pretty darn accurate.  I’ve dumped all my e-mail addresses (and I have – no kidding – something like seven that I use regularly) into my GMail account and sort them from there.  I’ve done more deleting in the last week than I have in the last year.  It’s very liberating knowing that I’ve just removed the safety net that will allow me to retrieve the e-mail about making my manhood larger (should I ever need it).  It is gone, along with the promise of $10M from my uncle in Nigeria.  And about a dozen of the newsletters I somehow found myself on.  All gone, and now I’m living on the edge.

At the moment I have seven e-mails in my “Inbox”.  I have 32 in my “Actionable” folder (lots of duplicate stuff).  I’m rolling and proud of it.

3.  The Belly Off Challenge.  OK, I’m fessing up.  I haven’t started this yet.  But I have a really good excuse (and by “really good” I mean “not my typical ‘but I’ve spend my time reading blogs for, um, research’ excuse).  I’m headed out of town tomorrow morning to Monroe, Louisiana, to undergo a Vulcan mind meld with my counterpart down there in the company we’re merging with.  I’m hoping it doesn’t hurt; I’m really not up for pain.  And I’ve also wondered whether mind melds carry any risk of labotomization, because if they do I expect that the FDA ought to be putting warning labels on them like they have on hemorrhoid cream (“do not eat”), pillows (“do not remove”) and kids (“do not have”).  (not sure about the last one, but given the sheer volume of whining I’ve heard lately I’m sure it was there and I just missed it)  But I digress.

My really good excuse is pretty simple: If I go to Monroe my chances of cooking my own meals (along the lines of the Belly Off Challenge menu) decreases to something less than zero, and to start something and then three days later totally ditch it for four days really doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I’ll just start when I get back.  If were three weeks into it I’d feel differently…but I’m not.  So there.

That’s it for the update.  More later.

[ UPDATE OUT ]

Bowls Full of Jelly

I hate Santa Claus.

I know, that’s pretty un-American of me, isn’t it?  That’s bordering on something a communist might say (if a communist were allowed to use the words “Santa” and “Claus” in the first place without worrying about getting tossed in hail).  In fact, disliking jolly ol’ St. Nick is pretty much equivalent to saying that apple pie takes a back seat to a bowl of sorbet – imagine what going that extra emotional mile from ‘dislike’ to ‘hate’ would do.  It just doesn’t happen.

Continue reading Bowls Full of Jelly

Update: My Reflection

[ UPDATE ]

Reflection isn’t going as well as I would like from a consistency standpoint (rough week at work and I’ve just crashed when I got home) and I’m only hitting 50% (3 out of 6 days).  I was actually 3 out of 4 before I crashed at 6pm Friday night (and slept until 8am Saturday morning) and a late-night volleyball tournament Saturday (ended around 11:30) killed me. 

But that’s OK – the three days I did get in were very helpful.  There are four questions I ask myself each day:
1.  What’s working?  This is a free for all and might include “wearing blue socks with a brown belt” if that just feels like it works.   But most of it is focused on things that are helping me get in the groove and get closer to Really Happiness.

2.  What’s not working?  The inverse of #1.

3.  What one thing would I do differently?  This is hard.  It makes me look back and say “if I could only change ONE thing and everything else had to stay the same, what would it be?”  This helps me focus on starting small (no need to try and solve world hunger day one) as well as finding the biggest source of disappointment/pain during the day to focus efforts on the big hitters.

4.  What one thing am I most proud of today? 
#3 but helps me focus on what I’ve done right that I’d like to copy for future days.  Mostly it’s just in concept (example:  Tuesday it was raining and I still went out and played 6 games of volleyball; that was my “proud” moment because despite a pretty plausible excuse if I wanted it I still worked out), but could be something specific (like making it 2 days in a row on reflecting).

That’s it – more updates later.  Working on being ruthless at the moment…

[ UPDATE OUT ]

Ruthless

I’m a nice guy.

I really am.  In fact, if you talk to anyone that knows me or has known me in the past with hardly an exception you’ll get that assessment from them.  I’m not saying this to brag, but rather for context.  And truth be told I like it – being a nice guy is, well, nice.

Until said nice guy ends up with close to 300 e-mails in his inbox each day.  Or has 3x the number of projects on his plate that he should.  Or works from 7am until 11pm routinely…and another 12 hours on the weekends.  I don’t want to believe it, but some of the same things that make me a nice guy in people’s eyes also drive me close to insane and – at least in part – are keeping me conveniently occupied enough that I don’t have to work on breaking down the wall that hides “Paul Gillespie: Really Happy” (see this post for more about that if you’re curious).

Continue reading Ruthless

Taking It All Off

I’m taking it all off.

Get your mind out of the gutter – I’m not trying to imitate a strip club.  Having a mid-30s guy with a little bit of a spare tire going probably isn’t going to do much for you, anyway, even if I were going into the adult business.

I’m taking it all off philosophically speaking.  In that I’m opening up my “next steps” to the world…so the world can keep me accountable.  No, I’m not doing the whole reality series thing that’s been done, overdone and over-overdone.  No cameras, no microphones, none of that stuff.  You probably don’t care what goes on in my day to day life for the most part, as long as I’m not killing kittens or scaring children.

But I need you to care.

Apparently, contrary to the mask I’ve been wearing, I’m a needy person deep down inside.  I attempt to be as independent as the next guy (actually probably more so), but when I really peel back the onion (because men, just like ogres, have layers – I love Shrek…) I need.

I realize that left alone I’m not going to get done what needs to get done.  I need some other driving impetus, and life – at the moment, anyway – is OK.  Contentment is the worst place to be because at least with a bad situation it forces you to move off zero.  When you’re content you don’t have to move – it’s easy to rationalize zero as an acceptable place to be.

I’m no longer content at zero.  I need to move, even if moving temporarily moves me back to negative one.  I’m still too young (we’re all too young, by the way) to be happy living a life at zero.

So here’s what I’m going to do for the next week – which happens to be the first week of June.  I’m going to spend at least 15 minutes every day reflecting on my life in an effort to get myself off Zero.  (I’m going to turn that into a proper noun – “Zero“, not “zero” – to keep the enemy in plain sight, because it’s easy for me to miss the problem if it looks like everything else)  Here’s what I’m going to spend time contemplating:

– See what’s working well and what isn’t
– Figure out what really makes me happy
– Find what my real passion is
– Etc., etc., etc.

And I need you, loyal readers, to keep me accountable.  Don’t let me off the hook.  When I’ve had a really long day that’s not good enough for me to skip and just make up tomorrow.  Even if I solved world hunger that’s not good enough – I need to make the time in my day to reflect.

And please – let me help you with the same.  This is a team effort, and can’t just be one way.  I want to know what you want to be kept accountable for.  I can help.  The other readers of this blog can help.  We can make it work.

And we can do it all with our clothes on.


(post image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)