Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday RoW80 Update - Squeezing the Balloon

About two months ago I was seated in my boss's office at Goodwill, where I work.  Financially, things had been going poorly for the past two months, and some evidence of quality issues were starting to pop up as well.

My boss asked me if I still wanted to work at Goodwill, to which I responded that I did, of course.  He asked why I wasn't fixing some of these problems, which had a tendency to keep popping up now and then.  At first I had difficulty determining how to describe the feelings I was dealing with in relation to the department and its host of problems.

Then I thought of a balloon.  It was a nearly perfect analogy, in my opinion, to trying to squeeze a balloon down to a smaller size.  The goal is to reduce problems in all areas of the department.  However, whenever I would focus on one problem, essentially squeezing that part of the balloon, another problem would pop up somewhere else.  It's no wonder people swing so hard on the Whack-a-Mole game... never knowing which part will pop up next is incredibly frustrating.

Getting back to RoW80, I find a similar type of frustration in putting enough focus on each area of my life to meet all my goals.  Trying to balance work, a wife, kids, and various scheduled events with writing, reading, blogging, exercise and housework has been a fascinating challenge for me.

Please don't get me wrong... I love every minute of it.  I'd had an unusual drive the past three days, a drive to succeed at everything.  I'm running myself ragged, scheduling every minute of my day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep.  I'm getting exhausted, but it's not really slowing me down.  Not yet, at least.

I've been quite productive so far this week, if you don't count Sunday.  Sunday was my trip to the Detroit Tigers game, and was worth every minute of wasted time.  Monday I hung around the house while my wife took the kids to her family's Labor Day cookout, and I got a load of writing, housework and blogging completed.  I'm still trying to catch up on reading all of your blogs, but I'll get there... I think.

I can't wait to see what the rest of this week will bring.  Tell me your successes, and let us cheer each other on to victory!

RoW80 Detailed Goal Progress

Writing - I will write something toward finishing my as yet untitled book from NaNo last year, even if only 50 words, every day.  Write at least five days, and shoot for a wordcount goal of 65,000 - cutting down the overwhelming goal of last week.
9/2/12 - No writing accomplished.
9/3/12 - Wrote approximately 1600 words.
9/4/12 - Wrote approximately 1000 words.
9/5/12 - Wrote approximately 150 words (so far).

Reading - I will read at least 10 pages of a book each day.  Next Week's Goal: Read at least five days, and get to page 120 of Battle Royale.
9/2/12 - No reading done.
9/3/12 - Read 11 pages to page 40.
9/4/12 - Read 1 page to page 41 - sad, I know.

Blogging - I will write at least three blog posts each week, one of which must not be ROW80-related.  Next Week's Goal: Write my two RoW80 post, my book review of "The Power of Paradox", and one other post.
9/2/12 - No posts.
9/3/12 - Wrote Sunday's RoW update post.
9/4/12 - No posts.
9/5/12 - Wrote Wednesday's RoW update post.

Exercise - I will get "real" exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. Get at least three prayer walks, and one aerobic exercise routine.
9/2/12 - Got about half an hour of walking during the hike between the parking lot and the baseball stadium.  Not sure how much it counts as exercise, though, as I was walking with a group of slow-pokes.  :)
9/3/12 - No exercise.
9/4/12 - No exercise.

Housework - I will, in some small way, make my house look better each night than it did the previous night.  Keep up with dishes as best as possible, work on reorganizing entertainment center area in basement, and organize garage.
9/2/12 - No housework completed.
9/3/12 - Did about two hours' worth of solid housework, taking care of dishes, moving dirty laundry to the laundry room, and picking up after my wife and kids (and myself a little bit, too.)
9/4/12 - Emptied the dishwasher, reloaded and ran another load of dishes, picked up all the DVD cases and loose disks on the entertainment center, reorganized and put them all away.


  1. Huzzah for drive! And for a spouse willing to take the kids to an event while you get some writing done. I have one of those too!

  2. Thanks. I'm not entirely sure that "willing" is the correct word, as my wife would have much rather had me go along to the cookout, but the lack of an argument over my not going was enough for me!

    Congrats for you too for a loving spouse who understands! Thanks for commenting on my post.

  3. Holy cow, you got a lot done! I can only sustain that kind of productivity for a very limited time, then it leads to burnout. But that's just me - keep up the good work!

    1. I'm rooting for avoiding the burnout. I'm kind of waxing and waning on my drive, so I'm trying to make the most of those really productive times.

      Thanks for the nice comment!

  4. Hey...watching sports is one way I blow off steam! It's good to relax. It allows the creative juices to replenish. Also, awesome on the time alone to write and catch up on household chores.
    ...And thanks so much for release day cheers! :}

    1. I get really animated during sports, especially in person, so yes, I blew off a lot of steam this weekend, and will continue to do so as I watch my football teams do well (or not!)


  5. Mike, I really admire your drive and determination. Like you, actively pursuing my goals is helping me to notice when I'm wasting time and slowly, I think I'm becoming more efficient. But it's a learning process (and while I work fulltime, I don't have kids!)...

    1. It's amazing how much time we waste when we don't account for it! Believe me when I say that just combining a full-time job with writing is exhausting, so don't feel like you're not as overloaded as me!

      Have a great week, and good luck completing this week's goals!

  6. I agree with Andrea that having to account for my goals has made me pay closer attention to how I spend my time. I'm not to the place where I'm accounting for my progress by the day. Your breakdown of the days was something I probably need to try. Keep up the good work!

    1. Don't feel pressured into keeping a day-by-day accounting of goal progress. While it does help me stay focused on my goals, it also adds more work, keeping track of it. It's a personal decision to go to this level of detail.

      If you're making good progress, keep doing it the way you're doing it. Good luck!

  7. Such a perfect analogy. I, too, am always trying to proportionately squeeze the balloon (Writing, social media, husband, kids, family, and on and on). Such a delicate balance. Looks like your writing is consistent, something I need to work on (squeezing the balloon this summer unfortunately took its toll on my writing consistency).

    Great post!

    1. Well, if it looked consistent, it doesn't anymore. Sigh. I think the balloon has started squeezing me. Maybe I'll use that for my RoW Title this time around!

      Thanks for stopping by!


Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog