Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happiness Update - End of Week 1

There is something ironic about me posting this at 11 p.m. since my focus is on managing my time. But I just now took a look at my progress for the week, and I was pleasantly surprised.

My main time-related resolution was to be reasonable about what I can accomplish. And for each day that I tallied my resolutions, I completed that! I didn't tally my resolutions every single day this past week though, only 5 out of the 7 days. But accomplishment is accomplishment.

I still have room to grow. I need to be better about tackling the nagging tasks and using my calendar and to-do lists. I've already started tonight by trying to layout my week with all of my nagging tasks. (Don't worry, I didn't over-schedule myself!).

On the home front, we had an interesting weekend. 3-year-olds are definitely a challenge. Jack loves to push the boundaries, to test us. Saturday was very hard. We had a decent morning doing chores (which Jack loves. He cleans out the vacuum cleaner like it's the most fun activity he's ever gotten to do). But he didn't want to go to hockey skating, and he didn't want to take a nap. And he didn't want to do ANYTHING we asked or suggested. Everything became a battle. Lots of yelling ensued. By the end of the night, we were all exhausted and Steve and I were tired of feeling angry and frustrated (I think Jack was too).

So we embarked on new parenting strategies today. Steve did some researching Saturday night to guide us. We don't like spanking, although we have tried it. We don't like yelling. Neither of these strategies are effective with Jack. So today, we set out to stay calm, redirect, and be patient. It worked pretty well. The hardest part for me is being patient (I know, big surprise). I found that in order to be patient, I have to have the time; I can't be in a rush or running to get somewhere. That worked today since we had nowhere to be.

The other part of this strategy is trying to challenge and engage Jack. That's no easy task. But by simply asking Jack what he was interested in and suggesting a few activities, we stayed busy, and happy, all day. There was play-doh, fixing the engine toy, reading books, watching Fireman Sam, and eating a picnic lunch in the basement at the Handy Manny table.

On the fun side, Jack and Steve went ice skating today. They hit up the public skate from 1:30 to 3 and had a great time. I hit up the library and graded and lesson planned. I also had a good time (I'm serious!).

So that's the update. I know it's been a lot of writing here lately and very few pictures. Let me get my time under control, and then the pictures will return; I promise.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time is on my side, yes it is

So my first focus for the Happiness Project is Time. I have set a couple of resolutions for my approximately month-long Time goal. Here they are:

1. Be reasonable about what I can actually accomplish
2. Tackle the nagging task
3. Use a to-do list each day
4. Use my google calendar each day

I'm also tracking my resolutions Ben Franklin style. Yes, I am an English and journalism teacher geek. Yes, I thought Ben Franklin's pursuit of moral perfection was quite admirable. Yes, I like google and I am using a google form to track all of this.

So far, so good. Today I truly benefited from my resolutions. I was flitting around like I normally do, jumping from one task to another based on whatever I was focused on at the second. However, as I normally do, I would find myself, all of a sudden, with no direction. It was in these moments I turned to my to-do list, picked something and did it. By the end of the day, I was shocked at all that I had actually accomplished. Hooray!

On a more Barrett Family Life topic, Jack has really been enjoying Little Wildcats. However, he had his first sick day yesterday. We've been fighting some kid of bug. He ran a low fever yesterday morning and had been coughing, so Steve stayed home with him. Not to give too much info, but today he was back at school, but he was fighting a tummy ache all day. No fever though. Weird.

Steve is busy prepping for South America. He is an amazing balancer of school, work and life. Between his two classes a week, working downtown, and putting up with me and Jack, I am amazed at how he has the energy to get up onSaturday mornings to take Jack to skating lessons. I think our next vacation might be somewhere we can just sleep.

Speaking of, it's way past my bed time!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happiness project

Drum roll please....
I am officially starting a happiness project. I just finished reading the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. I think Gretchen might actually be a version of me living in New York as a writer. But that is a post for another day.

Here's the deal. I have a wonderful life. Those of your reading this blog are nodding your heads and saying, "duh, that's all you write about on here, Karen, your wonderful life." However, I don't always appreciate it. In fact, I have found myself complaining, being negative, even getting angry about things in my life way too often lately. It's actually to the point where I was bringing myself down even when good things were going on around me. Hence, the happiness project. As Gretchen writes in her novel, "I want to change my life without changing my life."

So over the next few months I'm going to work on setting some resolutions and following through to get myself to feel happier about the wonderful things in my life. Over the next week, I am going to plan out my happiness project. I'm going to figure out what areas I want to focus on and set some resolutions. I'll post some updates here in case you are interested in what the heck I am actually doing.

So, here goes nothing!

Happy night, all!