Monday, August 13, 2012

Mini-goals and mini-rewards...

I have been playing little games with myself today in order to motivate myself and get stuff done.  Our sink was overflowing with dirty dishes, the living room is a mess, and I have a ton of work to do for tutoring, not to mention several personal goals that I've been ignoring.  Sigh...  What to do, what to do?  I know! Make it a game!

Now, before you get all excited, these aren't really fun games...more little mental tricks to keep me going, and allow me to feel like I'm accomplishing my tasks.  I have been bopping between several chores, tutoring tasks, and personal goals today by assigning a mini-goal for each one.  Once the mini-goal is accomplished, I switch gears and set a mini-goal for something else, and so on until I'm back where I started.

So, the starting point....

I've been doing several tasks at my desk, which is really just a table and camp chair in the living room.  As you can see it has been semi-taken over by my son's crap (Legos, video gaming headphones, and so on).  But...I've also been trying to centralize all of my tutoring supplies, and have a plastic crate on its side as a makeshift bookshelf on my desk.  (Yeah, we have virtually no real furniture, and it's going to stay that way until we are able to move out of this dump of an apartment into something nicer.)  Our lovely pooch got all excited when I busted out the camera, so I purposely shot the pic so she'd be in it.  See the SAT world history subject test book on the floor?  One of my tasks today is to create ONE timeline from the book for my tutoring student who will be taking the SAT II in December.  He is away on vacation for a few weeks, so I'm creating some additional study materials for him (and by extension, for my son!).  That brings me to mini-goal and mini-reward #1...

Mini-goal and reward #1:  Condense 5 mini-timelines from the study guide into my larger timeline.  After those five are done, spend no more than 5 minutes on social media.

Mini-goal #2:  Go to the kitchen and wash at least 5 dishes/items in the sink.  Individual silverware pieces are NOT individual pieces!  5 pieces of silverware = 1 item.  After those 5 are done, clean a 2' x 2' section of the kitchen counter.  Then, refill coffee cup, and read a blog post.  This is a good one:  You Gotta Give it Away - Dreams of My Home by Rosalind at A Little R & R.

Mini-goal #3:  Sort the recycling from the trash, and figure out what the mystery odor is in the kitchen.  Use the old ratty kitchen sponge to do a preliminary cleaning of plates on which JP has made cheesy pizzas, and thus also made the plates impossible for me to use in the process thanks to my dairy allergy.  Throw away disgusting sponge, put plates back in sink for a real washing with a new sponge.  Check supply of paper plates for future cheese related episodes.  Reward:  More coffee, and another blog post to read.  I really like this one by Gabriela at Luminous Fire - Good Thing We Took Our Rain Jackets.  So full of beautiful pictures!

Aren't you glad I am showing you clean counter space, and not a picture of my sorted recycling and trash?

Mini-goal #4:  Go back to the desk, and practice some Spanish using Duolingo.  Duolingo is a mini-reward in and of itself.  I think it's fun, and much easier to use than Rosetta Stone although it has a similar methodology, plus it is FREE.  Today, I practiced plurals.

Now, I'm starting over with the timeline, then into the kitchen again, but this time to bake some lemon-zucchini bread which I found on Pinterest!  Due to a dairy allergy, I am making some substitutions. The original recipe HERE. UPDATED - a review of the recipe linked here.  Um...we didn't really like it.  The glaze was too tart, and the muffins were...odd. :/

After the zucchini bread, I plan to work on a post about our homeschooling curriculum choices for this coming school year...I keep promising to do that!  Today, it is on my list, and I WILL get it done (I think...).

Ok, so those aren't really games, but they are larger jobs, broken down into smaller tasks, with tiny rewards along the way.  I am in a bit of a funk today, and really needed to break things down to much smaller steps in order to accomplish anything today.  And, the next time you are feeling so down, lame, tired, or whatever that you just want to say, "Chuck it! I'm going back to bed!" instead, choose one chore or task, and break it down into several smaller steps.  Choose one tiny step, and accomplish that itty bitty goal.  Give yourself an itty bitty reward, then move on to another itty bitty goal with an itty bitty reward.  Eventually, you will have accomplished something larger, and will hopefully feel good about the results, even if you still feel like going back to bed!

There was a time in my life many years back, when JP was quite young, that I felt stuck in every possible way.  Even the simplest of tasks felt impossible and not worth doing.  So, I would just set myself to one TINY task.  Usually it involved cleaning a 2' x 2' section of the kitchen counter.  I would do that, give myself a little reward, then come back to do another 2' x 2' section.  Over the course of a the morning, my depression would ease a bit, though wouldn't go away entirely (2 years of therapy, and a year of anti-depressants helped it go away...mostly).  At the very least, I felt like I'd accomplished something, even it if was something small. 

Off to work on that timeline, then mix up the lemon-zucchini bread, then walk the dog while the bread bakes!


UPDATED:  Nom nom nom!!!!  I have the lemon zucchini bread baking now, but I decided to go the cupcake/muffin route instead of baking a loaf.  And, oh my goodness!  Do you like mushrooms?  Do you like breaded mushrooms???  Droooooooolllllll....try these!  Super duper easy!  For the inspiration,  WITH dairy, recipe visit  HERE.  For a dairy free, but still cheesy tasting, version, keep reading:

Breaded Mushrooms

8oz pkg whole mushrooms, cleaned (mine were HUGE, so I cut them into quarters)
2 eggs
generous handful of breadcrumbs (I didn't measure them, sorry!)
1 Tbsp so of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

If you haven't cleaned your mushrooms, or cut the big ones into halves or quarters, start by doing that.  To clean the mushrooms, just wipe them with a dishtowel.

Put the two eggs into a little dish, and whisk.

In a shallow bowl, or on a plate, mix the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and pepper.

Dunk the mushrooms in the egg.  Then transfer the egg coated mushrooms to the breadcrumb mix.  Your fingers will probably get all goopy and gross - wash your fingers off as needed in order to keep handling the mushrooms without accidentally pulling off the breadcrumb coating.  I found that it works best to drop the egg coated mushrooms into the breadcrumbs and press down a little.  Then flip them, and press again, flip and press again, until the mushroom pieces are well breaded.

Place the breaded mushroom pieces on a lined baking sheet (I just used a piece of parchment paper).  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 450F.

Allow to cool, and enjoy!

In the process of making the lemon zucchini muffins and breaded mushrooms, I completely destroyed all of my kitchen counter cleaning and dish washing progress!

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Anyway, I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.


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