Posts tagged ‘frustration’

July 22, 2013

Psychology of a Hot Mess, Part 1

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Yep, that’s me alright. At least the “mess” part. Oh, the frustration my loved ones and innocent bystanders must deal with when I’m left to my own devices. If you happen upon me while I’m on the move (which is most of the time), I appear to be in control and with purpose. But let me linger for a while, and my true colors come trickling out. I’m a very free spirit who is organizationally challenged.

butterfly free spirit

This dysfunction extends from my time management skills to the clutter that surrounds me. If I try to impose a schedule or list on myself, an even deeper part of me rails wildly against it. I hate structure, but apparently I need it. Sometimes I manage to march to the beat of other people’s drums. Most of the time, however, my best intentions are left trailing behind me as I rush to the next thing, late and flustered again. And the sad part is that no matter how bright things seem to be, my guilt and self-recrimination are ever-present and heavy.

Budda time

Friends, that’s no way to live! Surely I’m not the only one who struggles with the mysteries and frustrations of time, clutter, and accomplishing goals. So, I’m doing things a little differently these days, and perhaps some of my discoveries will help you too!

A New Perception of Time

I recently found a great blog that stopped me in my tracks. The post described people as being either monochronic or polychronic in the way they perceive and manage time. A monochrone is someone who sees time as linear and absolute, is usually very punctual, is more task-oriented than relationship-oriented, and often focuses on only one thing at a time. Monochrones are the splendid folks you see actually getting things done (in an orderly fashion) who are banging their head against the wall as they wait for the polychrone to finish something . . . anything!

late girl

Is this you?

Then there’s the polychrone, someone for whom time is not linear but cyclical and fluid. These people tend to work on many things at once, are easily distracted, and are often late. On the flip side, polychrones are fabulous at handling change, switching gears, and cultivating strong relationships. Time means very different things to these two individuals, and as you can imagine, they often make each other crazy. If you are a polychrone trying to navigate in our monochronic world, there’s hope! Here are a few tips I can’t wait to try out:

1. Stop Thing #1 before beginning Thing #2: This seems like common sense, doesn’t it? But what blew my mind here was that the tardiness of polychronic people is not an inability to begin or arrive at Thing #2 but instead a difficulty with stopping Thing #1. (Stop and ponder that for a second.) While monochrones are adept at finishing a task or ending a social interaction in a timely manner, polychrones find endings uncomfortable and difficult. I always thought I was imagining this, but nope, it’s a real sensation.

SOLUTION: Rehearse your exit plan before arriving anywhere—what you will say to others when it’s time to leave or what time you need to pack up to leave before you absolutely must be gone.

 

2. Plan your schedule backward from appointments: This suggestion is also a new one for me. Polychronic people tend to think of time idealistically instead of realistically, imagining the best-case scenario instead of all the possible pitfalls.

SOLUTION: So, if you have a lunch date at 11:30, figure out going backward how long it will take you to get to the restaurant—if there’s traffic or a wreck. Then, how long will it take you to gather your belongings to get in the car? What about a trip to the restroom to touch up your lipstick? See what I’m getting at? Just a new way of thinking.

 

3. Set audible alarms or reminders to transition to the next task: This suggestion is a good one, though not foolproof. I’ve heard recommendations to set multiple reminders leading up to the time you absolutely, positively must jet, but if you are anything like me, I have so many reminders on my calendar dinging at me that they sometimes melt into white noise.

SOLUTION: Prioritize those noisy alarms and abide by them religiously. Also, if you have a trusted monochrone friend who you are meeting, you might ask him or her to (kindly) text or call you if you are even 2 minutes past time. To avoid possible lateness, you might even ask her to text you when she’s on her way to meet you (a built-in reminder!).

reality check

I’m feeling really excited about trying out these new ideas. I’m sure the people in my life are cautiously hopeful as well. And if you have any solutions that have helped you be an awesome time wizard, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, good luck and I’ll be clearing out my home office—my husband is still stunned. 🙂 Catch you next week!

Brooke

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July 3, 2013

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

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“But Lacey, it’s scary to change the way we eat.” These are words a great friend spoke recently at a catch-up lunch date. The words resonated with me long after I cleared my plate of fabulous quinoa salad and hummus. (You do not have to clean your plate, Lacey… repeat!) As we chatted life, kids, work, fashion, and yes, nutritional advice in the sunshine on the patio at Nick and Sam’s Grill in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t immediately hear the fear in my friend’s voice. I figured that, like most people, she was sharing that her hurried life, differing preferences and personalities of family members, and list of professional and personal obligations left no room for preparing healthy food at home.

For the sake of time, I’ll share that the lunch date came and went without any action plan or new revelation to make implementing healthier choices easier or more convenient.  The evening, I finally heard my friend. She called a little after 8:00 p.m. to share that her evening was filled with yelling, crying, and bitterness, all stemming from a meal she prepared, with love, for her family. Something can’t be right… so much anger and fearful emotion over food? Are we making things too difficult? I stopped my inner-questionnaire and listened to her story.

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She was four weeks into a new fitness plan, and became interested in the way I balance my nutrition. As her coach, I saw much improvement with our workouts simply because, before our work together, she didn’t workout at all! This is a passion of mine—to get sedentary people moving. Success! Once she saw the difference in her physique, she wanted more. She became eager to see what her body was capable of if she fueled it with optimal nourishment. Heck yeah—I’m excited to show her! Full speed ahead… until the evening of the somber phone call, that is.  Her words; her story:

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After work, I made a quick stop at Sprouts (a neighborhood farmer’s market shop) to grab something to make for dinner. I got the good chicken, the good bread, and the organic produce for a nice salad. I even got hummus and the good crackers for an appetizer, I thought we could enjoy as dinner finishes cooking. I even got a bottle of organic wine, which we never opened because the evening went south. I got home and got to work in the kitchen. The kids weren’t letting me concentrate, so I got short with them a few times.

They started bickering the minute (her husband—no names necessary) walked in. He put his things down right on my salad prep area and asked, “what the heck is going on here?” I didn’t love his tone. He grabbed a light beer before I could even show him the wine. Frustrated I went back to the appetizer tray. I proudly called everyone to the table and presented the appetizers, but nobody was interested. Strike two in my book, after the chaos my husband walked into. When we sat down to dinner, everyone’s facial expressions summoned tears to well up in me that I sucked back in time to ask, “What?”

Dinner looks boring… where’s the gravy… is this it… comments and questions shot out like bullets. I was done. I told everyone they didn’t have to eat it if they didn’t want to but that I wasn’t making anything else. The kids disappeared, and (her husband) asked why I was making such drastic changes.

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It occurred to me that we all find our “nutritional ah-ha moments” at different times, and that pacing change is best for long-term success. A former business leader comes to mind when I reference The Golden Rule: Treat others we you would like to be treated. Who wants to immediately and abruptly change what you eat and drink? Who wants to be told they can’t have something? My friend was trying to make too many drastic changes all at once, too quickly, and without any notice and very little helpful resources. I would have definitely given her my copy of, “How to Make Your Family Read Your Mind.”  Although her heart and intentions were in the right place, her delivery needed some work, and she needed a sprinkle of my creativity dust to encourage the household transformation along in a positive manner.

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Together, we realigned, reorganized, and re-energized her effort and excitement for implementing positive nutritional changes for herself and her family.  I want to share some of my favorite tips, in case you find yourself in the same spot as my friend, or if you’re ever the recipient of a good-intentions-meant chicken breast with a side of not-a-chance-I’m-eating-these kale chips in the future. Enjoy, and remember to find your own happy pace with a fit and fun lifestyle.  –Lacey

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  1. Make it fun! Implementing nutritional changes (or any changes) has to be fun, or most won’t be interested, much less excited. For example, add a fun salad side or a favorite dish made with a healthier recipe. No need to announce until everyone mentions how yummy it was.)  Decide to have a vegetable at every meal and let a member of the family choose the veggie each night.  If you’re going out, announce that everyone will be sharing, and ask them to pick a buddy to sit next to and share with. Use your imagination and tailor ideas to your family’s personality.
  2. Make it Flavorful! Use spices, herbs, and healthy oils to create flavorful sauces, dressings, and toppings. Seeds add a crunchy punch to veggies and meats. Trying to pass off mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes? Adding Italian herbs, garlic, or Greek yogurt and sea salt can help your effort. Who knew how yummy cinnamon is on spinach!?  (Simply shake spinach, a little olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon in a freezer bag and POOF!)
  3. Communicate! Send your family members an email, text, Tweet or Pinterest board of options for dinner and ask them to select three favorites. Implement these into dinner so they have an investment in the change. Special note to moms (and step-moms): I’d refrain from posting anything on their Facebook wall, or sending photos of food options to Instagram, or otherwise communicating with them in public, on public forums… even if you think you’re hilarious, which, I’m sure, you are.
  4. Take it Slow! Implement healthy options a few times a week, then have a healthy meal each day, and soon you’ll be able to incorporate healthy options at every feast. We have appetizer night to reduce portions, make creative finger foods, and have the freedom to take dinner outdoors or to eat while playing a game together. Celebrate each week’s healthy changes!
  5. Theme Days! Who doesn’t enjoy a great theme party or costume party. A great way to introduce chickpeas, new greens, alternative protein options, and other healthier alternatives is to make it “Mediterranean Night” or “Asian Evening” or by enjoying another culture’s fare. What a great way to share the world with your family and educate them on other countries and foods. Did you know that breakfast in Egypt is often purchased and consumed at a street stall, and that it’s usually bread wrapped around assorted fried vegetables: eggplant, beans, tomatoes, and peppers? (Nobody would know if we grilled ours…) Also, according to folklore, pretzels were initially created as a gift to children who recited prayers correctly.  The pretzel shape was supposed to signify arms folded across the chest in prayer. One or two with almond butter could make for a great incentive for young children!