Friday, November 20, 2009

PCCX, Fall 2009, Retrospective

Yeah, yeah, there's 2 more days left. I gave up about a week ago. Oh believe me, I have plenty of excuses - reasons - why this week has been an utter downer, but this is neither the place nor time for whining. Positives, no failures, remember? (Yeah, I forgot too until I saw that post when I went to write this one.)

Ok, so, the last 8 weeks. I do have some minor triumphs, some details that I probably wouldn't have bothered with if not for PCCX nipping at my heels.
  • I defrosted my freezer and cleaned the inside of my refrigerator.
  • I reorganized and cleaned the inside of my pantry.
  • I dusted - although not well - the ceiling fan in the kitchen that hadn't been probably since it was installed.
  • I completely cleaned and organized a two-sided wall unit between my living room and dining room, flinging and dusting movies and books galore.
  • I cleaned my curio cabinet and flung a couple of figurines.
  • I replaced my shower curtain, which desperately needed it.
  • I have all of my Christmas cards and photo gifts purchased and in hand.
  • I have my Thanksgiving holiday menu and timeline resurrected, refined, and shopping list made.
  • I have made a concerted effort - at considerable expense - to keep laundry from completely overtaking the house.
  • I cleared and cleaned the unused side of my kitchen counter, though it is covered by small appliances - but there's no help for that and they are each usable from their current location.
  • I washed 2/3 of the walls in the back hallway.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, we all got new bedding and towels, but that had nothing to do with me, it was an early Christmas present from mom. But you know, that's a longer list than I thought I have when I started this post. I'll take it.

It wasn't a grand, or even a moderate success. But it was a little something I wouldn't have done without this process. So I'm glad I tried it, and I'm glad we shook things up a little even if I dropped the ball in the home stretch. And if you'll forgive me, I think I'll still post here on occasion, on pseudo-related topics. What the heck, right? Give me some place to make all my grand plans for the New Years PCCX in January. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Tiny Task

You know those jobs you just put off and put off even though just doing it takes but seconds?  I discovered this problem about 3 weeks ago:

Have I mentioned I have 5 cats?  

I'm not a cat person...

Do you have any idea how hard this is to clean up?

I mean, I had to get the vacuum

Put in the attachment

Get on my knees to make sure I got it all.  

What a pain in the ...

Anyways, I finally decided to get around to it:


And then it took me 4 MORE days just to post this....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What does PCCX mean to me?

After creating CCP, PCCX is my biggest project of its kind to date. The writing of it, I mean. It was inspired by and developed with others, but the writing then and since has been my responsibility, and I'm proud of what it's become.

At the same time, it is a source of, alternately, hope and dispair, potential and disappointment. I start each one with a gleam in my eye but inevitably fall flat. Then I spend the next 6-8 weeks beating myself up for failure while at the same time looking ahead to the next one. Someday, I swear to myself, I will finish one. After all, I wrote the darn thing, right? Unfortunately, saying and doing are two entirely different things. A concept with which I'm sure everyone is familiar.

So I am here to say that from this moment forward I will not look at myself as a failure. Reflecting on the process and looking for ways to improve is ok - encouraged, even - but dwelling on shortcomings is not. Each day is its own entity, and its success or failure is based solely on the actions of that day. Even so, a day in which we are all still alive and the house is standing is never a failure. This is my new motto. Until tomorrow. :)

What does PCCX mean to you? What does it make you stop and think about? Is it an entity to you, or just a pile of drudgery to be endured? Let us know in the comments please, and help yourself to 50 points for doing so.

My complete lack of progress

Somehow I completely missed week 6. I had to look at the calendar to confirm that it is almost over and Monday starts week 7. In other words, there are effectively 2 weeks left of PCCX, and I have accomplished almost nothing. Two pieces of furniture (wall unit and curio, both in the living room) and defrosting the freezer. In 6 weeks. That, if you'll pardon my saying, is pathetic. I'm not going to school, I'm not working a job, I'm not running kids to activities, I'm really not doing anything that should hinder my ability to clean, and yet here we are. I had a few really productive days recently, but they were all about daily and weekly chores, I couldn't get past all that into the PCCX list. Looking around today I can't tell that I've lifted a finger in the last week at all.

Enough whining. Yesterday Chris made a deal with me: so long as I was up cleaning he would be too, and sitting only when I sat. Unfortunately yesterday fell apart when we left to run errands. I'm hoping the deal stands for today (though he's down with a major toothache so I'm not so sure). If so my plan is to have him take care of dailies while I tackle bigger things. Kids can help him or me as needed. That's what they're for, right? ;) The other wrinkle in this master plan to take over the universe...I mean, cleaning the that Mom is insisting we put together furniture and take out boxes and bring in boxes, and basically work down there until we're lacking gumption to do anything up here.

In the immediate future Chris is going to the store for large amounts of painkillers and something to eat, so I have some down time to fix up my POA which has been largely ignored - again - for a few days, and perhaps a few other things if he's pokey. Then, the rest of the day, we clean. Excelsior!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Anatomy of a POA

It's been a while (3 years?) since I used an Excel version of my own POA, but that's the "standard" that most others use, so far as I know. So I'm going to take a few moments (ok, it will probably take me upwards of an hour, let's be honest) and see if I can't 'splain a few things for the uninitiated and/or confuzzled. :)

This is the front page of version 7. Yeah, I got all fancy and started issuing version numbers when I made changes. V7, 7.1, 7.1.2, 8, etc. 7 is the one I believe is closest to what most others have adopted. Later versions tended to be specialized for use with another program and are not user-friendly as a stand-alone form. Have I lost you yet?

Anyway, this front page is what would generally get posted to PCC. At the top are point totals carried over from other sheets (which we'll look at in a moment). The orange section headers break down personal, irregular tasks by type: phone calls, errands, mail, shopping, etc. This is where anything that wasn't daily, weekly, or a challenge would go, all the miscellaneous stuff that comes up. The box at the bottom tallies all the points for the day, as well as the week to date and month to date and year to date, along with the point goals for those periods.

The other tabs across the bottom are like storage places for recurring tasks so they don't clutter up the front page. For instance, this shot is the Daily tab (scrolled a little way down to show more of the headings). I'm a compartmentalizer. I like grouping tasks in some way, so here I have daily cleaning together, computer tasks together, the kids' jobs (that I would need to at least check if not remind and/or supervise), PDC items, etc. The total points earned on this page are then listed on the front page on the Daily line.

Here's as good a place as any to talk about points and formulas. The far left column contains the point value that each task is worth. Red numbers mean the task is repeatable and the number is how many points for each time - like making beds, x points per bed. The second column is the item itself. Third is where you would record when something was completed. The default setting is "**done" for a non-repeatable task and a number for the number of times a repeatable task was done. The fourth column then would look at column 3, and if there's anything there it would know what point total to enter, and this is the column that is totaled for the day.

Other tabs work a little differently. This one, for instance, shows the PCC list. While the PDC was different each day, almost all the tasks repeated eventually if not regularly. Rather than writing them each day, I ke
pt a running list of them. Then as the PDC was issued I would highlight the appropriate items and record completion for the day.

This BMH tab (and TMT next to it) is somewhere in between the Daily and PDC tabs in purpose. These are weekly tasks from the PDC that were regular a
nd merited their own permanent place. As with all the tabs the total is reported on the front page on the BMH line, which I would simply hide when it wasn't Monday.

FBB Tasks were just like PCC Tasks but for another, now-defunct, group. Projects were ongoing multi-hour items that would not be "finished" in a single day but time was tracked and points awarded based on progress. Resolutions were similar to Projects, based on my goals for the year. PCCX and SGP were like BMH and TMT, recurring groups of tasks that were only applicable at certain times - in this case seasonally.

The last tab, Annual, tracked progress month-by-month. At the end of each month I'd copy the total to this page to compare to previous months and/or years. This is also where I got the year-to-date total for the front page.

Without going into specific formulas, I think that about covers it. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Waste a Day

If you really want to avoid everything on your to-do list, the best thing to do is create a blog.  The amount of time needed to find the "perfect" layout, choosing the font size and color, adding extras, finding pictures to add, and then actually writing the blog is time-consuming to say the least!

So, yesterday was a good cleaning day, as I reported yesterday.  But last night I was supposed to concentrate on homework.  Didn't happen.  Instead, I decided that my 2009 Goals Blog wasn't realistic.  Let's face it, the year is almost over and having a 2009 title in 2010 shows its outdated.  So, I began a new blog:

Fitting title, right?

I really wanted "The Procrastinating Perfectionist" but that was taken...I'll have to check that blog out later LOL

Now, today will HAVE to be about homework catchup.  Maybe if I'm lucky, the homework won't be too difficult and I can still get some homework done.  If only...

Excuses, Excuses~!!!

For me it is one excuse after the other so that I do not have to clean this house. I don't know if it is because I don't get to leave the house very much or if its just laziness. But nonetheless, I hate to move off the couch most days. It seems like the morning is horrible for me in the energy area. But yet in the evening when I "Feel" like cleaning, I can't because the kids are home and we are doing homework, dinner, baths...etc. to keep me from working. I also feel guilty when I do not clean because I AM here all day and I shouldn't have an excuse for not cleaning. Yet, when my wonderful, hard working husband comes home to this nasty house, I have to make up a reason why I didn't move off my lazy tail all day long. It seems like the more I try the worse I get.

My house is not in shambles by any means...but I DO need to clean daily and I can't seem to ever get there. I may do the same stuff almost daily, but not everything I need to do. I know it is possible because I used to do it 2 yrs ago. I got up and drilled with you all and my house stayed clean, and that was with kids home. So not doing it now with no kids home, makes no sense to me. It is like I have gotten selfish of my alone time. I am not a selfish person normally. But yet it seems I cannot get past this. Does anyone else experience this?

If it wasn't for you ladies and our drilling, I would never do anything...EVER!

For some reason when we make lists, play "games" or something of the kind...I am able to actually move. I guess it just motivates me somehow.

I am hoping to get into a better routine. I plan on making a list at night...I have never understood the points keeping and POA and PODA thing. But I am thinking it might help me get motivated and help me move at least some daily.

I am asking if anyone would be willing to invest time in showing me how to use it and help me understand it? If so, let me know. If not, then I will figure another way out. Thanks!!

This blogging thing could become addicting...:)

Which way to go?

Every day I face the same dilemma: What will I do today? Part of the problem is that I refuse to acknowledge that I can't do everything in one day. If I were capable of doing *some* of everything I know I could hit every item, but therein lies the next part of the problem. I get bogged down thinking that if I can't finish a large project - be it cleaning or writing or anything else - due to time, physical, monetary, or mental constraints, why bother starting? This is fueled by the fact that many times when I do get started on something saying that I'll do it for x amount of time and then move on to something else, when x is up I don't *want* to move on.

There's also the circular argument. I want to do x, but (for whatever reason) y must be done first, but then z must be done before y, but a must be done before z...and eventually I usually get back to x must be done before where in the loop do I start? This is worst in the morning, where it's not so much circular as just having too many things that should be done "first". Laundry should start first so it can go on its merry way while I do other things. Breakfast should certainly be done first; we don't want to start on an empty stomach. Setting up for school should be first so B can get started on time. Picking up the living room should be done first so E can get down and run around since he's been awake since dawn. And so it goes.

Let's not forget the priority clash*. Of course the kids are important, and by extension then B's school is important. Cleaning the house is important, and heaven knows I have a long enough list of chores to prove it. I have online responsibilities, which are important *to me*. Chris and Mom are important, and they each come with their own list of tasks. Holidays and friends and extended family are important, and this time of year especially brings a new slew of things to do. General household maintenance is important, particularly if we want to avoid the nasty side effects of not paying bills or forgetting to buy toilet paper, and the people who live here will insist on eating regularly. Writing is important, again *to me*, and that is certainly time consuming. There are always a host of other things which are also important in their own ways.

And to round out the difficulties in time management, I am inherently lazy and selfish. :) So anything that requires the least effort and/or I particularly want to do regardless of need tends to be pushed to the forefront. Computer tasks are far less taxing than scrubbing floors. Prime time TV is far more entertaining (even in reruns) than cleaning the stovetop. I also procrastinate. Something may be important - it may even be VERY important - but it's not necessarily *urgent*, and the distinction is relevant.

So where do I go with my list, given all of the above combined with real and artificial deadlines on many tasks?

*That list of priorities is in no particular order. I have a very difficult time prioritizing priorities, hence the overall problem.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Little Bit Here and a Little Bit There...

So I realized after taking a few pics regarding today's housework that I had other photos from last week I hadn't shared. This is what happens when I don't blog daily LOL

You know those couple of things around the house that just irritate the hell out of you. And yet you procrastinate them because it just seems like so much work. Well, last week I finally decided to break down and clean the blinds. I hate window blinds. It's almost easier to just buy new ones. Dusting on a regular basis doesn't help because we have three smokers in the house, and tobacco stains don't just dust off. So, every time I would go to the bathroom, I would look at these nasty blinds and sigh, thinking I have got to clean those. Then walk out. LOL

I forgot to take a before picture so you could see the icky stains I always looked at, but did remember while I was cleaning them in the tub.


Can I just say: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.....

Now, usually when I clean blinds, I'll hang them outside to dry. However, it's COLD outside and I didn't want to go out there, so instead, I chose to hang them back up and laid a towel on the floor to catch the water droplets. (This also meant wiping down the wall underneath it because of the water streaking down, hence...I also got a portion of the wall clean LOL)


So now back to "real time." Today hasn't been pccx work thus far, just daily cleaning. But its gone a little bit beyond daily cleaning. Did that make sense? of the tasks was to wipe down appliances. So, I decided to take off the couple of items on magnets and do a good wipe down. Now, my fridge is a nice eggshell type color so I don't have to worry about glaring dirt or tobacco stains because they pretty much blend in, so I don't notice just how dirty it is. I took everything off and OMG....Ewwwwwww again!!


Thankfully, a couple shots of Fantastic cleaned it up very nicely!! The next daily but beyond task was to dust. Normally, I'll just dust the living room and 2 bedrooms. But today, I decided to tackle Dad's office and get to that dang bookshelf of his. Just as a reminder, here's the before:

pccx,fall cleaning,office

and the after:


So, we're now up-to-date with posts AND I've blogged two days in a steps = progress!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Weeks Results

Ok, I'm a horrible blogger. But I swear, I'm going to get better! Now that Dad has finished his radiation treatment, I have more time in my day and can better organize my schedule.

Last week I decided I had to get my Christmas list together. Just making a list of who to buy for and what to buy would be too simple. You see, I have this tendency to buy gifts throughout the year with no idea who the gift will be for until this time of year. For example, I found two quilt stands, new in the box, on sale at a thrift store for $10 each over the summer. So, anyways....I had the majority of gifts inside 1 tote and stacked on top of it in my attic space. When I opened the attic door, I discovered Jordan had stacked Kris' belongings right inside the door. Add the garage sale stuff, assorted Christmas decorations and other crap, and I had a job in front of me.

I began by pulling out everything:

Okay, I didn't pull out everything. I did leave Kris' bed, luggage, a kitchen chair, cat carriers and the Christmas tree. But I did organize all of that stuff. Then, I began condensing the other stuff. First and foremost was Kris' belongings, followed by Christmas decorations. Once I had that crap put away, I just had to make a list of the gifts I had already purchased. Here's a lovely picture of Jordan's room after everything was put back in:


Jordan had made mention that he wanted his desk (in the back right of his room) moved out so it was usable.



Now that the attic space was clean and organized and Jordan's room was all set, I decided to attack Jordan's closet too! I wish I had this much energy every day! You'll be shocked at the difference of before/after...and it only took me about 30 minutes to do!!! Trust me, it was bad! It looks fabulous now!!!

Boys Closet


The rest of the week SUCKED! Dad's radiation was supposed to end Wednesday, but they extended it for yet another day, just in case. That just depressed the hell out of me! Then Friday came with no trips to radiation but a boat load of homework to do. All weekend I played catch up.

It's now a new week. The plan is a little cleaning and a lot of homework every day.

Today: I ran errands shopping for deals at Walmart and Walgreens, you can find those on my personal blog. I busted my butt trying to clean as soon as I got home, and then started homework. Let's hope the rest of the week goes as well!