Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I was planning to go to Stillwater to help out in the kitchen at Tessa's sorority today. It's rush week and somebody has to fill those water glasses!! But apparently they don't need me until tomorrow, so I have an unexpected free day. So then I was planning to sleep in until a luxurious hour but was rudely awakened by men unloading sheeting for a neighbors new roof. One (boom) sheet of plywood (boom) at a time (boom) dropping from the (boom) high bed of the (boom) truck to the (boom) ground for thirty (boom-freaking) minutes. So much for being decadent. Guess I'll go weed the frighteningly weedy flower bed.

Lessons on Leadership and Life Learned While Weeding the Flower bed.

Did I lose you already with that title? Hang on. It'll be fun. Have I ever bored you before? Don't answer that. I'm feeling a little thin-skinned these days.

Annnyyway, here's my list, because the brain has to do something while yanking weeds.

1) Don't wait until the heat is on

Weeding is fun until the sun jumps over the neighbor's house and leers down in all her searing glory. Just a minute ago I was noting the soft breeze and the lack of sweat and feeling all holier-than-thou about being up so early and channeling Martha Stewart when BOOM. The sun is up and the sweat is on.

The LLLL? (Lessons on Leadership and Life Learned...gotta love alliteration!)
The moment you become conscious of the fact you just patted yourself on the back for being such an awesome manager/parent/person, slather on the sunscreen because the heat is on even though you don't yet feel the burn. That's not being glass-is-half-empty. That's being realistic. To avoid the sweat, take the time while it's cool and calm to proactively pull the weeds. Start early. Or better yet, mulch to avoid the weeds in the first place. Start the day doing the big picture stuff. Then when the sun comes up you'll be safely in the shade drinking your mimosa. Stephen Covey's 7 Habits never go out of style. The first three habits apply here.

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First

Also read: Julie Morgenstern's "Never Check Email in the Morning".

2) Don't let the dogs out

I'm trying to weed and meditate but Winnie keeps nudging my arm, begging for attention. She's needy this week since we are taking care of the grand-puppy. God forbid four adults should divide our attention between (gasp) two dogs. While not being needy, the dogs are barking at cats, real or imagined. Since I'm weeding under the in-laws bedroom window, I'm trying to shush the dogs with a commanding whisper. Every parent has mastered the whithering look and commanding whisper. Turns out neither is helpful when dealing with dogs. When they aren't barking or pooping, they are walking through the flowerbed. Why did I let the dogs out?

Who are the dogs that keep me from doing my thing? Who or, more likely, what is distracting, needy, sabotaging, attention-diverting? Where or when do I waste my time shoveling the s*&t when I could be fertilizing?

"Married to Distraction: Restoring Intimacy and Strengthening Your Marriage in an Age of Interruption"

"Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress"

3) "Don't sweat the small stuff" is not always a good plan

The sun is up, it's hot, the dogs are needy, I clearly am running out of steam. So what's the plan? I think I'll just try to pull the biggest weeds to make the most obvious difference. I can't see the garden for the trees. No really. Those annoying starter trees that grow from little seed pods blown by the Oklahoma wind? Everywhere. But I am apparently constitutionally unable to pull the big stuff and ignore the smaller weeds choking the flowers. I want for at least a small portion of the garden to be weed free and beautiful. My mantra "just pull the big ones, just pull the big ones" is not working. I HAVE to go back and pull ALL the weeds in that section before moving on.

Sometimes it's OK to focus on the minutia at the (temporary) expense of the big picture. Some wise person once said it's better to do a few things well than a bunch of stuff half-assed. Err, something like that. In a perfect world we would have time to do all things well. But this is definitely an imperfect world. And "things" have multiplied exponentially. So I'm thinking I'm gonna have to narrow it down, pick a few, focus. And what about those towering distractions? They'll die off on their own, I suppose. Even if I have to ignore them until the first frost.

1 comment:

Cori said...

Huh... I'm glad you didn't mention reading blogs while you are supposed to be working... not like I would do that......