26 February 2017

Goals, plans, and other nonsense

I have a wish to finish this dissertation. A big wish to get this sucker done. But I clearly don't have a good plan as I haven't made any significant progress in quite a while.

So, it is time to come up with a good plan. A plan that works for me. A plan that makes sense and that I can stick with. I wish to finish this, but more importantly, I'm rather determined to.

I quit Crossfit and am focusing solely on walking. We walk the dogs twice a day. I make it a priority to hit my steps every day - except for yesterday because I wasn't paying attention. So that takes up a whole lot less of my time. Less time working out. Less time recovering. Less time prepping. Just less time. We are starting to hike too. Last week we hiked South Mountain. Today we are going to hike Pagopago Park. So that's a nice little addition to the routine. The result of all of this is that I have time left over. Time that is not taken up with Crossfit or recovering from Crossfit, or trapped in a chair because I'm too sore to get up from Crossfit. So I think I need to rearrange my thinking and rearrange my life to make use of that time to work on the dissertation. Since I worked out the money, I have a renewed interest in getting it done. I want to have it all approved and ready to go by August so that I can do the research and finish it by February of 2018. I can do it, I just need to lose the anxiety and refocus on this. Which I have been doing, I just need to take it up a notch or three. So today I will figure out a plan that works and that I will stick to. I want to set definite goals and accomplish them by specific dates. My new class starts on Monday, and I really want something solid to submit by the first weekend. I'm close, I just need to devote some time to getting it done. Right now I spend every spare moment cruising facebook or playing games. I need to find a way to limit those things and to use that spare time, even if only a couple of minutes, to make progress on my dissertation. I also need to learn to sit here, right where I am now, without the TV on so that I can get some work done. I don't watch much TV anyway. I record what I want to see and then watch it when I have time, so there is no point in having the TV on if I'm not watching something specifically. Oh, my, god!!!! It just hit me. Okay, here's what I do. I will decide to work on my dissertation and I will go and sit in the front room with my laptop and turn the TV on. I generally don't put on something I'm terribly interested in as I tell myself I just want it for background noise. Well, guess what happens? I end up watching what is on the TV and not working on my dissertation. Or, I will hear something on TV and then go look it up and I am off on a tangent that consumes 30 minutes of my life. So, new rule: The only time I turn on the TV is to actively watch something. So instead of sitting in the living room to work on my dissertation, I will sit in the living room to watch TV. Actively. With intent. I will work on only watching things that are recorded or on demand, that way I can watch them on my time and not the TV time. Also, I am going to clean off this desk area so that I can spread out and will have room to work. This is a good plan. A real good plan. If I remove mindless TV from my life, I believe I will get more done. Okay, that is one problem. The next problem is Facebook. I look at Facebook for long periods of time. I wanted to say hours here, and that may or may not be true, but it sounds harsh so I decided not to go with it. I am going to turn off all notifications for Facebook so that I won't get distracted by it. I will also not keep it open in a tab on any computer I'm on. I don't look at Facebook all day at work because I'm using my work computer and I survive just fine. I sit for a few minutes after work and scroll through it and boom, I'm all caught up. So basically, no facebook on the computer. I will save facebook for my phone or tablet as I can look at them when I have a few minutes outside the home to kill. Love it. I will need to take some time this weekend and set these things up. I will make sure that everything I want to watch, and there are really only a few shows, are on demand or recorded. I will also stop all notifications from facebook on all of my computers. I will also print out some of the articles I found last weekend so that I have them to read through when I'm not on my computers. Finally, I will work out a schedule and set aside time to work on this beast each and every day. I'm going to view it as a cupcake! Something that I want to work with every single day. This is not a chore but a pleasure. I need to change my mindset about this thing and make it something I look forward to doing.

It is now Sunday morning, 5 am, and me and Lola are the only ones up. Yesterday was a good day overall. After the dog park, we went and had breakfast then headed out to do some hiking. We went to Papago Park and climbed to the hole in the rock. That was fun. We were going to do another hike in the park, but it was so packed and there was no parking. Then we drove to Camelback to check it out and found out that in order to hike it, you have to park on the street and walk in. Since it is a hard trail and we knew we weren't going to hike it, we didn't go. They have a security guard at the bottom of the street to turn cars back. Wow.... So then we hit some garage sales in the area and I ended up buying a Cricut machine. I've wanted one for a long time but could not justify $250 for it. So I got it at the garage sale for only $100. Turns out there are things missing and I should have opened it and examined it more closely at the sale, but whatever. I ordered the things I need off Amazon. Then in the afternoon, I headed over to the library for a couple of hours to get some work done. After yesterday's writing, I realized that I am completely sabotaging myself in this dissertation thing, and I just need to buckle down and do it. I have a pattern that I've noticed in other areas; Crossfit, marathon running, triathlons, etc. I will start strong and be motivated and determined to do whatever it is well. Then I get to the halfway point and start to lose motivation. Doubts begin to creep in. I feel like I can't complete it. I struggle, sometimes I will even stop. But then I reach a point where the motivation returns and I kick it into high gear and finish strong. Now in that middle area where motivation is running low and doubts are running high, I usually have people around me that inspire me to move on. Those people are the other racers/Crossfitters/etc. I see them moving and pushing and I will start moving and pushing again. I feel now this is what is happening with my dissertation. I've reached the middle area where motivation and determination are running really low. Unfortunately, I have no one near me to inspire me or help me push through the doldrums. I have to be my own motivator and cheerleader and that is where I've been failing lately. These first 3 chapters are like the middle of the race. Once I get through them, it's research and 2 more chapters and boom!!! Done!!!! I just need to get myself through this middle part. Because I do want to be done with this thing. Last quarter I thought I wanted to be done by quitting, but I'm pretty sure I've gotten over that and now want to finish. So this is the end of the bike and the beginning of the run, or mile 17 in a marathon. A little more than halfway done, but still a long, long way to go. I can do this. I will do this. I will finish strong.

Well, this post has become epic. Time to end it and move on with my day.

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