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juliebarkley

Juliebarkley digs her way out

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Julie and the gargoyle trudged to the top of yet another hill. This time, however, they were rewarded with a stunning view: a shining field of white stretching to a walled city full of towers that sparkled in the sunlight. Beyond stood several bridges that must span a mighty river, hidden below the snow. Then, fields and forests that stretched to the horizon. They stood together in silence, admiring the scene. They were almost there.

 

Julie scanned the city's skyline and quickly found the green copper roof of the Parliament buildings, their slopes too steep to let the snow gather. One of these was the gargoyle's home, she knew. She pointed at the clock tower. "You see that? We'll be there in no time!"

 

The gargoyle did see it, and for the first time in the whole trip, smiled. It staggered a couple of steps forward, and before Julie figured out what it was doing, it was in the air, fluttering awkwardly toward the city. This didn't last for long. A sharp wind rushed in from the west, knocking the gargoyle to the right. Its wing was still delicate from its injury, and its long convalescence had left its muscles too weak to resist. It flipped head down, then disappeared into the snow with a grunt.

 

"Gargoyle!" cried Julie, as she rushed down the hill towards it. A bad plan, as it turns out, as the wind off the river had created large drifts of snow against the side of the hill. Now they were both stuck. She swore to herself, then called out to her companion. "I'm coming! But I'm going to need your help. If we're going to get you home, we're both gonna have to do a lot of digging!"

 

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Happy New Year everybody!

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination. My efforts at KonMari-ing my possessions have laid bare the mountains of work that I have left myself from at least a decade of procrastination (I wish I were exaggerating). It is time to make these piles go down now. They are holding me back from where I want to be. I brought some paperwork to my grandmother's to do over the holiday. There is no internet at her house, and she spends most of her day in her chair watching game shows, so I could work on them and still be in the same room and social and away from distractions. I got a ton of stuff entered into reference lists and todos, articles read, and other things dealt with, and SO MANY papers recycled! I even got some long-overdue Epic Quest planning done! It felt really good. I want to keep that momentum up and work on clearing out my various procrastination piles this challenge. Each day, I want to spend at least 30 minutes working on ONE of:

- ONE paperwork folder (they are already sorted by category)

- clothing repair pile

- sticky notes

- "to try" board game/DVD/video game/music pile (items from KonMari-ing that I have never tried or have little memory of, and have enough promise that I want to try them out to see if they spark joy)

- maybe pile of books (see above note; the books often need a little research doing on them as they have no descriptions)

- any other similar piles that I have lying around by aren't coming to mind right now.

I am only working on one category per day, as I seem to work best if I focus like that, and because it will force me to work on more challenging and boring things. 5/7 per week is a pass for this one, because Wednesdays might not be possible.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. In particular, complete the morning routine every day. I tried this in the last week of my last challenge (just before I vanished), after I saw @Starpuck's picture of her weekly schedule. It has really been helping me to make time for the things I always tell myself I don't have time for (or more realistically, forget that I want to do when I do have free time), like starting side hustles and working on hobbies. A lot of my goals from previous challenges are built into this goal (ex. brushing teeth and prayers are both part of the morning routine, which is my particular focus), so I should be maintaining my current progress. For scoring, I am going to only enforce the morning routine for now, as I can always do that and it is nice and manageable. If it is too easy, evening routine will be next. 6/7 is a pass.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. I have a todo app (Firetask). I love my Firetask. It lets me enter whatever I think of throughout the day so that I don't forget about it. It reminds me to do all of the things that I mean to do, whether daily or once a year. I can code things according to where they happen or what theme they are so that I can find relevant things to do easily. I can make projects and lay out all the steps and then only see the next step to be not overwhelmed. (If you have ever read Getting Things Done, it is designed for that system). There is just one problem. I am not checking it regularly! I want this to be a habit of mine. I recently read a book that talked about the Triangle of Productivity (todo list, calendar, email, and also a note-taking app), and it inspired me. While at my grandmother's, I entered everything I had on loose bits of paper from literally years of procrastination into my Firetask, set up a category system that worked with my time blocks, labelled all my repeating tasks, and just basically got it all set up just so. Now, I just have to remember to check it! I'm not entirely sure how to score this, so I'm going to go with 3 times per day, including for morning routine, is a pass. 6/7 days to pass. This might change, as I'm going to try linking it with goal #4...

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. It is very cold, and the winter is very dry, and I have been waking up with sore throats and a hoarse voice for weeks. I forget to eat and drink when I am at home, and I clearly need to drink more. When my phone dings for a new time block alert, I will drink some water. I pass for the day if the bottle gets emptied at least once during the day. 6/7 to pass.

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. One of the things I realized last challenge was that my core could use some work. I tried out a bunch of exercises as an experiment, and got DOMs the next day. I hadn't gotten them for a couple of months at least. That is a sign to me that I need to shake things up a bit. Plus, my bodyweight workout feels more like work than fun, so I would like to change that if I can. My walk/run days have been challenging. I kept up with ZR5K up to December, but couldn't go past that. The winter gear I have to wear inhibits flexibility and adds weight, and I was getting tired too easily. The cold air hurts my lungs (and I think is also part of the getting tired easily). And my road is a dangerous place to run in winter (slick, almost ice-like hardpack snow, hidden potholes, and jagged shards of frozen snow and ice in the centre). So cardio is moving indoors. I am going to pick a roughly 30 minute podcast, and listen to it while walking up and down the basement stairs. This goal will have multiple parts. Each week, I pick one of the following to do. If I do it, pass. If I don't, fail.

1. Figure out how to hang my gymnastic rings. Hang them and fool around with them.

2. Find out what the categories of bodyweight exercises are and find at least 2 exercises for each category.

3. Make a shovelglove and do at least one workout with it.

4. Make a story with a workout built in.

5. Go outside and come up with 3 good exercise activities.

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. How is this being kind to myself? I was given storytime duties a few months ago. Toddlers are my least favourite segment of the library population to program for, and I have only done it a handful of times before this. I have very, very little planning time at work and a whole bunch of other new, time-consuming duties to worry about. My previous storytime booklists for older kids and babies are only partially useful. So I am starting essentially from scratch, struggling to get a new program laid out every week while working hard to stay on top of my other duties. I feel like I am always falling behind. It sucks, and makes me unhappy. And unfortunately, when I have time to plan and am facing work that is boring and I would rather not do (a different issue), I have been avoiding it, which is obviously not going to make the situation better. So. I want to relieve myself of some of my struggle by building program templates (just add books!). Then I can refine from there at leisure, and rid myself of considerable anxiety. 20 templates built by the end of the challenge is a pass.

 

I expect these challenges to be quite challenging, but I am optimistic! Let's go!

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Your all of text is so much cooler than mine. I am jealous!

 

I am also following, because I sense an ally in the ongoing fight against Procrastination in your goals. :)

 

Good to see you again!

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Hi


I seem to be seeing you around in multiple places. I think your goals are very doable and well thought out.
 

I will keep an eye on your challenge and I am here to support you as needed.

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Week 1, day 2:

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination. I'm going to give myself a pass on this for yesterday even though I started so late, as getting this challenge in took more than 30 minutes and made me push past procrastination. Today, I did 30 minutes of papers, recycling 5 and moving 3 to other folders. 2/7.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. Did it easily yesterday. Did it today too, though I didn't finish one item in my morning routine until, um midnight. But it's done. 2/7.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. Definitely checked this 3 times today and yesterday, but I still have more work to do. 2/7.

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. Yep, did this both days (the exercise sure helped!). 2/7.

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. I have not decided yet which option I will do for this week. I have picked what I am doing for my next two workouts, so it won't be shovelglove this week. I'm thinking maybe #2. 0/5.

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. I had a lot to do at work, what with coming back from a break and start-of-new-month/year stuff, so I didn't get any made today. I did, however, get my work todo list cleaned up, and counted the templates I have already made (3). So I am starting at 3/20.

 

A good start! #2 and #3 make me feel a bit weird that my challenge is getting me to check my phone more (especially as I have only had it for a few months and already it is indispensable), but it's all for a good cause and I don't have a single game on it. #1 and #6 are going to be my tricky items this time, I think. Boo procrastination, but hooray Team Anti-Procrastination!

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Looks like your starting off well. Keep it up. And yeah, it is kinda shocking how fast you learn to depend on the phone. Hopefully the to do app helps you keep on track. Good luck.

Keep on moving forward

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Week 1, day 3:

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination. "Worked" on this today by playing a board game from the to try pile with a visiting family member (Scotland Yard). Really liked it (sucked at it, but liked it), so it will stay. 3/7.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. The only thing left of my morning routine is my son's poetry memorization, which I can't get done before leaving for work on Wednesdays. It will happen, though! We blew off reading hour because we were in the middle of a game, and tidying because we had guests, but these were conscious choices to modify the block due to circumstance, which is okay. 3/7.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. Checked 3 times, but really wasn't able to do much. But I did check. 3/7.

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. I'm almost there, and will make it before bed.. 3/7.

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. No action on this yet. 0/5.

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. You know how I said I had 3 programs done at work? I lied. I had two. My first program is in a different format (it being a new program for me, I have had to experiment to figure out what will work). However, I made one today because I needed one for Monday, so I am now at 3/20 for real this time.

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Hello! Found your thread. The story is adorable, and I have a fondness for gargoyles.

 

Fellow procrastinator here, and I can definitely empathize. The feeling of finally trying to get one's act together and then realizing the full weight of how much work Past You has left for Present You can be...overwhelming, to say the least. But it sounds like you've made a great start and have a clearly laid-out, structured strategy.

 

Looks like you're using a schedule approach to try to make better use of time? I do that too (in fact it was a focus of one of my old challenges, actually one of my most successful now that I think about it) and it can be super helpful...when I really do it. Sounds like we have a fair bit in common on that front. I also have a morning routine and find it does a lot to get me started off in the right mindset.

 

Does FireTask do push notifications? I use a different app which I can set to send me alerts/reminders about whichever tasks are currently active at whatever intervals I want. I don't have to set it for each task, either - it just alerts me in a general sense, like "hey you have some pending tasks." You seem to be doing well checking so far, but if you start to flag, maybe dig through the options if you haven't yet?

 

Also, librarians are inherently cool so you are obviously great (assuming you're a librarian because of the context of your job goals).
 

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Juliebarkley dug through the snow in search of her gargoyle companion. She could hear shuffling noises from up ahead, but they were growing softer and more distant. The going was hard and slow; the weight of the snow had packed it hard as ice, and the digging was more like chiseling in places. Julie took a hard swing at the wall of snow in front of her, and revealed a gap and light on the other side. This development gave her a rush of adrenaline, and she soon knocked down the rest of the snow wall. Before her, a long low tunnel ran off in the direction of the city, its end hidden in the darkness further ahead. It would appear the gargoyle had been busy in her absence. But yes, there - she was sure she could see the shovel-marks of fellow-travellers, digging their own way towards the city. Silently thanking her mysterious companions for their help, she ran off into the dim tunnel ahead.

 

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Yowza, I have been bad at updating this challenge!

 

Unfortunately, I have also not been doing super well so far. Gee, I wonder if there's a connection... I'm glad this is a longer challenge, as I will need the extra time to pull it back.

 

Here's where I'm at:

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination.  I have missed a few days, but this part of the challenge is actually going pretty well! I have cleared some sticky notes, icons off my desktop (more work to do on both of those), as well as some scanning and some papers dealt with. Still so much to do, but little by little, it is improving.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. Yeah, I've not been so good at this one. Partly because I've allowed myself to dawdle in bed when I have decided I should get up. My routine isn't that hard; not much more than "eat breakfast, take vitamins, brush teeth, check what is happening today", but clearly I need to keep focussing on it as it is proving tricky for me.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. I have not been so great at this either. Dang. But I have been pretty good about adding things to it when I think of them. Now to work on the harder part of actually doing something about those things!

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. I've been so-so about using the ding of the phone for my trigger, but the water has disappeared most days, and my dry throats have disappeared too. :)

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. Last week, I found a place to hang the rings and have been experimenting with them at all of my workouts this week. I have muscles aching that I swear never get worked, and it is awesome. But I haven't done this week's task yet, so tomorrow? (My challenge is a Monday start)

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. 1/20. I have made negative progress in terms of numbers, but the numbers lie. I got all my prep work done, getting my ducks in a row for the planning, as I decided it was going to make more sense to do all 20 at once. Reviewed the ones that were already "done", and found that most needed more work. Worked on this lots on Wednesday (didn't want to, so am proud of myself for pushing through) and got all the "active" sections done except parachute, plus all the active songs! Now I only need the quiet songs and I will have 18 done! I need to learn some good parachute songs to finish the last 2, as I only have about 4 that I think I can adapt for it. With effort (and some luck), I can finish these this coming week!

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On 1/4/2018 at 11:24 AM, Severine said:

Hello! Found your thread. The story is adorable, and I have a fondness for gargoyles.

 

Fellow procrastinator here, and I can definitely empathize. The feeling of finally trying to get one's act together and then realizing the full weight of how much work Past You has left for Present You can be...overwhelming, to say the least. But it sounds like you've made a great start and have a clearly laid-out, structured strategy.

 

Looks like you're using a schedule approach to try to make better use of time? I do that too (in fact it was a focus of one of my old challenges, actually one of my most successful now that I think about it) and it can be super helpful...when I really do it. Sounds like we have a fair bit in common on that front. I also have a morning routine and find it does a lot to get me started off in the right mindset.

 

Does FireTask do push notifications? I use a different app which I can set to send me alerts/reminders about whichever tasks are currently active at whatever intervals I want. I don't have to set it for each task, either - it just alerts me in a general sense, like "hey you have some pending tasks." You seem to be doing well checking so far, but if you start to flag, maybe dig through the options if you haven't yet?

 

Also, librarians are inherently cool so you are obviously great (assuming you're a librarian because of the context of your job goals).

 

Thanks! I don't have a big overarching serious story like some folk, but it's fun and I like experimenting with it. :)

 

I am indeed creating a schedule for myself. I wrote it out on paper, but then decided it would work better with more reminders, so I put the whole thing as repeating events in Calendar with alerts when they start. The blocks are really general, and none less than 1 hour, so it's not going off all the time or anything. It's actually been incredibly helpful. I absolutely remember your challenge and I remember empathizing. I like flexibility and one of the reasons I would like to work from home is the freedom of it, so I was hesitant, too. But it has been great - it has forced me to make time for the things I want to make time for, and reduced the time on things I wanted to deprioritize.

 

I am not sure about push notifications for Firetask; I have them turned off for most apps. I am using the old phone app as well, as my computer is 11 years old and not able to run the newer app (they sync), so not sure if the new one can do lots of awesome things. I am only using it for the todos, not the blocks. I know it can do reminders, but I have not been using them. What I have done is organize stuff into categories (morning routine, evening routine, computer time, etc) that correspond to at least some of my blocks, so they should be really easy to check if I can remember, I put a lot of thinking into the best way to do this, so I want to make it work. Maybe I could add a note to myself in the block alert to CHECK MY FIRETASK! :P

 

Children's PSA; close enough! B)

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On 1/1/2018 at 11:15 PM, juliebarkley said:

Make a story with a workout built in.

Curious by this one, can't wait to see what you might come up with.

 

Though the priority of apps I know more than the feeling of becoming attached to your phone... From my own personal experiences, I went to see if this was the way that I wanted to "live my life". If the outcome kept being rewarding I didn't bat an eye on the use of technology, however it taking over my life was another issue that may come around.

 

On 1/14/2018 at 2:11 AM, juliebarkley said:

Children's PSA

I tried googling and have no idea what your job position is... Especially how you explain your work I kind of figured you were a librarian.... Just over here  assuming.

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On 1/16/2018 at 11:16 PM, BouncerChic said:

Curious by this one, can't wait to see what you might come up with.

 

Though the priority of apps I know more than the feeling of becoming attached to your phone... From my own personal experiences, I went to see if this was the way that I wanted to "live my life". If the outcome kept being rewarding I didn't bat an eye on the use of technology, however it taking over my life was another issue that may come around.

 

I tried googling and have no idea what your job position is... Especially how you explain your work I kind of figured you were a librarian.... Just over here  assuming.

 

I'm going to try to have some fun with the story! The point is not to be a "good" story, but a narrative for the workout. I did one once improvisationally with someone else. We would set up the story as, for instance, you are a warrior who has to defeat the dragon who has just threatened to burn your city to ash. Maybe you have to beat out the flames first (arm rotations), Climb into your armor (??) jump on your horse (jumps; have to do more than one because your horse is tall!), trot across the countryside (high knee lifts)... You get the idea.

 

My job is probably basically what you would think of when you think "librarian". Librarians have to have a masters, and so they are more managerial roles with less public interaction (at least in my library service). The bulk of the positions are library technician positions, where you need a college diploma only (though the bulk of people have an undergrad degree also).

 

Week 3, day 3 (for yesterday): (really? already?!)

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination.  2/7. So far, I have missed one day this week. Not done yet for today. I have been typing out a really long handwritten list, so I haven't had a lot of papers to recycle to make me feel like I'm progressing.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. 1/7. That's including today, so still not doing so hot. I have noticed that when I nail this, my whole challenge goes better and I am more likely to stick to the rest of my schedule as well. So I really want to improve on this. My main obstacle for the last few days has just been not getting to bed on time.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. 2/7. Sort of? Too often, I have been thinking, "I should check that, but there's nothing I need to do anyway", which when I check it turns out to be a lie. Which I should know, since the whole point is to remind me of things I want to get done that I am likely to forget!

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. 2/7. The water was not quite all gone yesterday, but otherwise, this has been going well.

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. 1/5. I did not do my new thing for last week. :( I am going to allow myself to catch up in later weeks if I choose to. But I have not done anything for this week yet, either.

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. 20/20! I finished these up yesterday! I am SO HAPPY to have these done and out of the way! Now I never need to be anxious about what I am doing for next week's program. I can just pick two books, grab a plan, and I am ready! And I will have time to catch up on all of the other things. too. Thank you, non-procrastinating me!

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"Wait!" Juliebarkley dashed through the tunnel at the blob of shadow climbing out into the light. She hurled herself at it, wrapping her arms around its ankles. Both lump and human fell to the ground with a thunk. A drift of powder snow sprinkled down on the pair from above. The gargoyle gave Julie a glare as it shook the snow from its wings.

 

"Okay, I know that was a bit rude," said Julie as she struggled to her feet, "but we can't go up here. Think about it. If you went waltzing through the centre of town, people would panic." She pulled herself up just enough to peek out the top. The latest snowstorm had taken its toll, but had now eased. She could see people busily clearing the roads and paths within the city. The main road into town was still drifted over and empty of traffic. "Far too many people about, and they'll be busy for quite a while." She dropped back town and tucked her hands in her pockets for warmth. "The castle is way in the back of town, on the hill by the river. We can't go through town, but we should be able to get up there from the back. People will be busy clearing the important roads for a while, and there's nothing up there except that castle. If we keep tunneling around the city towards the river, we can stay out of sight. Hopefully there's some way to make it up from that side without being seen. They must have a way to get to the water, right?" She looked up at the gargoyle. It appeared to be listening. "Okay, good. But we're going to have to work fast to get there while everyone's still distracted. Or it's dark. If we can get there before dawn tomorrow, you will finally be home!"

 

That was all it took. The gargoyle thrust its arm into the wall of snow and ripped out a chunk of the wall. "A little more to the left or we'll run into the wall. Let's go!"

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Updating has been a real challenge for me this time around - it always feels like "too much work" even though it isn't, really.

 

So, after four weeks, how well am I doing?

 

Not super.

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination.  This has actually gone decently well, but I have a long way to go. My computer hard drive died on January 19, and I have been alternating between dealing with paperwork and getting my computer back in order. The only hard drive I currently have to restore on to is 40-50 GB smaller than the volume of stuff I had on the previous one, so I couldn't restore from the backup. While I wait for my new hard drive to arrive (and figuring out how to get back things like Firefox sessions and bookmarks), I figured I might as well decide what I should keep and what can go so I am not restoring unnecessary things when the new drive arrives.

 

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. Okay, this has also been pretty good. Work from Home blocks have turned into Computer blocks until I get around to restoring the data I need, but otherwise not too bad. I only missed one bodyweight workout, on the night my hard drive died. I have missed a whole bunch of walks, though :(.

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. Really bad on this one. Did my morning routine this morning, but otherwise pretty much didn't this whole week. I know I've said this before, but it really sets up the day when I do it, and I become much more of a slacker if I don't. Pull it together for the last week, me!

 

4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. I kind of forgot about this, but I haven't been waking up with a sore throat at least. Will need to work on it. It will be easier to work on given that my trigger is the same as for #3.

 

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. This has been a near-total loss, and I really have no excuse. :( I still want to try those things, so I'll probably bring them around to next time. However, I would like some help. For the option "Find out what the categories of bodyweight exercises are and find at least 2 exercises for each category", I had in mind a post that someone did maybe 2-3 challenges ago, where they laid out the important BW categories in groups, with some examples (horizontal pushing and horizontal pulling, I think were two). It might possibly have been by @WhiteGhost. I can't find it anywhere, and my Googling has made me more confused than before. Can anyone help me find either that post or any other post or web site that can help me sort the BW exercises? I don't want to miss any important movements.

 

6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. Done, done done! :D Present me is already super grateful to past me.

 

I have had a lot of days where I just didn't want to do anything at all, and had a pretty negative attitude to everything, including myself. Even yesterday, which started with all of my computery things working out really well and my getting a lot done and feeling good, by the end of the day I was just so down on myself. Even my son was trying to cheer me up, and he notices that I have been acting kind of cold and slightly annoyed all the time (even if I am not actually annoyed). I'm not sure why I am feeling sort of anxious and paranoid, and not really caring about things. Maybe it's overwhelmed, but I only work 17 hours a week and don't even cook all my own meals, so if this is overwhelming me, how do full-time workers not just end up exhausted and suicidal? Ick. It's been a couple of months like this now. I hope it goes away soon anyway.

 

Will really try to post every day for the next week! I love you guys. Even when you are silent, you are supportive. :love_heart:

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1 hour ago, juliebarkley said:

I had in mind a post that someone did maybe 2-3 challenges ago, where they laid out the important BW categories in groups, with some examples (horizontal pushing and horizontal pulling, I think were two).

Is this the one?

 

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Once again, the gargoyle was moving too fast for Juliebarkley to keep up, tunnelling through the snow like a single-minded bulldozer. She raced after it, and emerged in the bracing cold of a beautiful starlit night. The frozen river spread far into the distance in front of her, gently glowing in the dim light. To the right the ground rose steeply, sheets of stone reaching upward to the castle perched on top. Clinging to the cliff face, Juliebarkley saw a railing snaking upward, and the gargoyle fluttering from step to step as it climbed. It looked so much stronger now that it was hard to believe that this was the same injured creature that she had found lying in a field.

 

Julie grabbed the railing and began to drag herself up the icy stairway. She thanked the heavens that the snow had not yet hardened. She reached the top just behind her gargoyle companion. The black silhouette of the castle loomed before them now, full of carvings, alcoves, and dark crevices. The gargoyle was picking up speed on the flat ground now. It clearly knew exactly where it was going now, and never stopped once to look back. Julie ran as quickly as she could on the slippery ground. She rounded a corner, then another. She found herself in a courtyard, just in front of a large iron door. In the wall to the right of the door, three stories up, were four niches. The first three held what appeared to be nearly identical gargoyle statues. The fourth, nearest the outer wall, was empty.

 

The gargoyle was there, trying to flutter up, but its wing was still weak from its injury, and it missed the alcove several times. After failing to land directly in the niche yet again, it instead flew higher, overshooting the platform. It reached out its arms and grabbed the protruding stone rim of the niche. After dangling there for an awkward moment, it gently lowered itself until its feet hit the platform. It turned around and spotted Julie watching in the courtyard. It lowered its head and raised a hand. Then it raised its wings in the same pose as the other statues, and froze. It was home.

 

Julie raised her own hand and waved goodbye to the gargoyle, and turned to walk back the way she had come. Her mission was complete now, but she had somehow not thought of what to do next. The gargoyle had not been a friend exactly, but it had been good to have a travelling companion, and a purpose to work towards each day. Well, I am in the big city, she thought. The swamp will be frozen for at least a few more months. I might as well take advantage of it and find something interesting to do here before I need to head back.

 

As she thought to herself of all the interesting shops and services she would look for tomorrow, she turned the corner of the castle wall and headed down the stairs, back to the snow tunnel. It would be a safe place to spend the night, and it was too late to find an inn now. She packed the tunnel entrance nearly closed, wrapped herself in her thick, warm cloak, lay down, and let the world fade to black.

 

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The end of another challenge. Unfortunately, I do not feel that this challenge was very successful. However, when I look at the items on the list, I did pretty well at a bunch of them.

 

These items were a pass:

 

1. Dig, dig, dig. Dig myself out from piles of procrastination. I am feeling good about my time blocking routine. I have had to ignore certain items from time to time, but that is how I designed the routine, so I'm fine with that.

2. Keep on track. Keep moving forward. Follow my time blocking routine. I've been doing well at working on various bits of stuff that had piled up as well. For the last two weeks, I have been focusing more on clearing files from my computer than physical files, but clearing out unneeded digital files is useful, too!
6. Stuck in the snow? Be kind to yourself. Have 20 storytime plans done by the end of the challenge. Got all my storytime plans done early! I seem to always do really well at this sort of challenge item - the kind with a clear end point and time deadline, rather than a habit. Habits are so much harder than one-off goals!

 

This one was sort of okay:


4. Digging is thirsty work. Drink a bottle of water per day. I didn't stick to drinking a full bottle a day towards the end, but I was regularly drinking water.

 

I failed these miserably:

 

3. So much to do, so little time. Check my todo app at the beginning of each new time block. I failed this partly from laziness, but a lot of it was not going to bed on time. This means I either didn't get up on time to finish the routine and/or was tired and unmotivated. I will have to keep working on this.

5. Let's have a digging contest! Try out new things to spice up exercise. Near total failure. :( This will return next challenge as well. I am going to have to really look at the structure of my current routine as well. I am feeling directionless with regard to exercise right now, not really knowing where I am trying to get to or how to get there, so I have not been progressing and pushing myself. I need to set myself some clearer goals and a way to measure progress towards them. That combined with a few fun things should make exercising a lot more rewarding!

 

I also really, really need to post daily again. I like the little bits of conversation, I like cheering people on, and it brings my mind back to my goals when I realize I need to post, so I end up succeeding more. Kick me (by posting or by PM) if I haven't posted in a while, please! :D

 

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