A child swingingWith this being my third entry in three days, it would appear that I’m getting back into the swing of things. As I alluded to in this entry, things have been a bit chaotic for the past month or so. Now that I’m back to my usual writing, I thought I’d take a moment to go into a little more details as to the root of the chaos.

Before the start of the new year, I had a pretty good morning routine down. I would wake up, take Gracie for a quick walk, feed Gracie and myself and write a weblog entry while sipping French Press coffee. By the time I was done with the entry, Gracie was ready to go outside again. We’d go for a longer walk, then I’d hit the showers and get to work. It was a good routine and one that I liked very much. This routine was pushed aside shortly after the start of the new year because of two things: 1) Getting Organized and 2) Dieting.

Getting Organized
I have a lot “on my plate”, as it were, and over the past year I’ve let some things slide. This year I decided would be different, so I’ve labeled this year as the year of “Cut Bait Or Get Out Of The Kitchen” (don’t you just love mixed metaphors?). What this catchy phase means in simple terms is that I’m getting all parts of my life in order. If, for whatever reason, I can’t commit to something I’m involved in, then I’m simply going to have to step back from it. For example, I’m involved in the choir at my church, but I’ve been somewhat absent from the rehearsals and performances. So either I begin attending, which I’ve been doing since the start of the new year, or I have to quit the choir.

In the process of taking stock of all my activities, I’m getting organized. For some this may entail nothing more than a checklist, but I’m anal-retentive and a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m digging a bit deeper. I’ve tried to resist this (dare I call it a compulsion?) urge of perfectionism in the past. In fact, that is what led me to where I am now. Being anal-retentive is something that is easily noticed and thus picked on. Granted I’m not in high school anymore, so I’m not saying that I’m getting beat up in the schoolyard, but most people react to someone who is organized with a bit of teasing, as if being this way is somehow wrong. Maybe it is for some, but when you have a full plate of things that you’re involved in it’s a coping mechanism to make sure you can keep up. If I’m not organized, then things will slip through the cracks and there will be more work to do in the long run.

So this year I’ve embraced my “anal-retentive” tendencies and have been drilling down into each activity to make a complete list of everything that needs to be done. This process is based on the book “Getting Things Done” and so for it’s working quite well. I’ve created a monster outline in Bonsai, a Palm OS application for outlining. I’m not completely done with the entire process, but I’m a good 75%. From this outline, I’ve been making strides in tackling other “messes” in my life and getting them straight nice and tidy. The upshot of all this is that it’s taken a good bit of time. I’ve made huge strides and gotten a lot accomplished thus far, but it has pulled me away from other, more enjoyable things like weblogging.

For some unknown reason, I got into cooking this past Christmas. I’ve never really had a keen interest in cooking before, but now I enjoy it as much as I do writing. So when my family and I decided to give the South Beach Diet a try, I took up the lead on the cooking. Again, I’m anal-retentive so when I say that I took on the cooking, I TOOK ON THE COOKING.

The South Beach Diet is fairly easy to follow. It doesn’t require special foods, or counting or weighing what you eat, but there is a detailed meal plan that you can follow. In my “cut bait” mentality, I decided to seriously commit to this diet and follow the meal plan. I’m tired of being fat and I was ready to make a change. Since a meal plan was provided it only made sense that if I followed it then I would see the results described in the book.

However, following the meal plan was a great deal more difficult than just preparing my usual Sunday dinner. Each day involves three meals and two snacks, which means a LOT of food preparation. I’ve never been responsible for feeding a family before and let me tell you, that’s hard work! Whole new skill sets had to be developed to ensure that we had all the groceries we needed for the next few days and how to prepare the food so that it would be ready when needed. My hats go off to those of you that are responsible for feeding a family. It’s a challenge to say the least and overall it’s a somewhat thankless job. No one knows just how much work goes into preparing meals for a family – except for those that do it. 🙂

New Skills And New Routines
As I’ve developed new skills and new routines, my life is slowly returning back to “normal.” I’m finally getting back to my routine of weblogging which I enjoy a great deal. I’m still doing all the new stuff, like meal plans, cooking, working out and getting organized, but it’s more integrated into my life now. I’m more on top of projects and deadlines, I’m somewhat less stressed, and I’ve lost 11.5 pounds along the way. I guess you could say that I’m new and improved! 😛