Monday, January 5, 2015

No room for demons

Image by Robert Ullman
I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes Please’. There’s a chapter in which she writes/narrates the sad tale of the demon within us all. It’s the horrible voice that sidles up to you and snaps ‘You have way too much cleavage for that dress’ or ‘Purple eyeshadow is not good on you, you look like you have two plums instead of eyes’ and other less PG rated gripes, moans, cackles and swipes.
The best thing about the demon voice in Poehler’s audiobook is that it is read by a deep-voiced man. It could be Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, or Patrick Stewart who all have talent credits in her audiobook. Whoever it is, he made the demon sound like a cross between Barry White, a catcall from a building site and that guy who does the love songs and dedications on 101.7FM who makes me feel queasy.
That demon voice turned up in my yoga class the other day.

I do yoga in a gym which means two of the four walls are all mirrors. I turned to my right and the demon voice and I caught a glimpse of my arms raised over my head.
‘Ugh!’ said the demon ‘Those arms and you do not belong in this yoga class. They’re too white . . . ‘
‘Shut up, demon’ I said. ‘I’m here to do yoga, not listen to you’.

The demon slunk to the back of the room and hid behind the swiss balls.I kept on with the yoga, enjoying the stretch, breathing in and out.Later, as I stood in Warrior Two, I gazed out beyond my fingertips and again we caught a glimpse of my reflection. I turned away as quickly as I could, but not fast enough.The demon was by my side in a flash.

‘Dear Lord, you look like a lumpy balloon in that singlet top!’ He droned into my ear. ‘Lumpy!! Balloo”
‘F**** off, demon.’ I said ‘I can’t do yoga and listen to you. You’re just going to have to go.’He folded his arms, pouted and disappeared on my next exhalation.

I like that Amy Poehler has given the demon voice a timbre that is not my own.

It makes it easier to differentiate between what the demon says (lies) and what is true (none of it).

Down with demons. Hurrah for clever, smart, funny women.

BTW – if the saying is true that you’re influenced by the 5 people with whom you spend the most time, then lately I’ve been hanging out with Tara Moss, Lena Dunham and now Amy Poehler. Not a bad crowd. I know they’re not really there, but they narrate their own audiobooks and it makes me feel like we’ve had a good sit down and chat. I’ve always been a good listener.

Monday, December 1, 2014

From 'to do' to 'done'

Today I wanted to think about the way I am managing my time, and my to do list.

I got a fancy new time planner which, aside from being very pretty, is a way of going back to pen and paper. So I thought I might give a new system a go with the following sections of my new planner:

Meeting notes. Actions marked with a *.

General ‘To Do’s’ from things people randomly ask me to do in the hallway, coffee queue, by the printer for which I will have no other way to record them aside from memory. Urgent items and those with specific deadlines are indicated with a #.

My weekly ‘to do’ ie the list of what I would like to achieve for that week. This should not exceed 15 items, because it’s unrealistic for me to try to schedule more than three priorities for a given day. Also – if someone has mentioned they want me to prepare something for them, I need to take ownership of it and schedule it in their diaries. If they need it this week, I can send them a meeting request the day they request the item, if they aren’t specific with time I can include it in the Friday Review.

Scheduled ‘to do’s’. This is time booked out in my outlook calendar, so I have made a commitment to getting it done and I can see whether other things are shifting them away out of time. Morning is the most productive time for me, while afternoons are great for meetings because by the time I have done some work in the morning I’m best placed to be creative and talk with people.

Friday Review

This is when I sit down with a cup of tea to do a status check and forward planning:

  • Review week. Tick off completed items from ‘Weekly To Do’. Rename the list ‘Weekly Done’
  • Review ‘General To Do’s’. Set up meetings if required. Assess priorities.
  • Review Monthly Plan. If it is the first Friday of the month, also review the 3 monthly, 6 monthly and annual plan. Even if I don't have visibility of what the business requires in the coming year, I will have a clear idea of what I want to deliver, learn and achieve.
  • Set up meetings if required for the coming week and month. Assess priorities by labelling them 1, 2 or 3. Cross out completed items.
  • Move last week’s ‘not done’ and ‘priority 1 general to do’ list items to next week’s to do.
  • Schedule in ‘to do’ work blocks for coming week.
  • Complete timesheets.
So with December being a short month, I'll give this system a go for the next few weeks, and will do a wrap up of how it's been going just after 19th December.