Life Reorganization to Regain Valuable Time

Life Reorganization to Regain Valuable Time

I will guarantee you’ve never heard me say I’m bored – and you never will.  I always have too much going on and more interests than time to pursue them. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re in a similar situation.  We all have a lot of stuff going on and and things only seem to be getting busier.  I’ve decided to make a list of my priorities to help me focus on how I really want to spend my time.

Setting Priorities

It’s tough to figure out what to work on when you have a never-ending list, but knowing your priorities helps.  I’ve thought about it a lot and come up with a list of my top five priorities.

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Navy Reserve
  4. Volunteer Fire Department
  5. WordPress/Development

So how’d I set my priorities?  It was really quite simple when it came down to it.

God.  I’m a Christian.  A simple, but profound statement.  One that really defines me.  Very few people have seen me upset.  It’s not that I hide it, but it’s my mindset.  I think trying to mimic God’s ways is why the phrase “Live aloha” seems to fit so well.

Family.  If you know me, you know my life revolves around my family.  I’m married with a wife and two kids, a 10-year old boy and a 4-year old girl.  They are the reason behind everything I do in one way or another.  We love outdoor activities and spend as much time outside as we can.  In addition to the outdoor stuff, my son is also in Cub Scouts and starts band tomorrow.  They are starting a new Cub Scout pack this year in our town and are looking for den leaders.  While I don’t necessarily want to be the primary den leader with my Navy Reserve schedule, it’s not out of the question.  And I certainly wouldn’t mind assisting if someone else steps up for our age group.  Things aren’t slowing down here any time soon.

Navy Reserve.  I started typing this post as I sat in an airport waiting to board a plane for a couple days of Navy Reserve training in Groton, Connecticut.  I’m our unit’s leading petty officer (LPO), which means I’m responsible for the enlisted sailors.  It’s the Navy’s equivalent of a supervisor.  I need to make sure personnel have everything they need to succeed, while also being responsible to make sure they are getting their work done.  And that’s on top of my own duties.  Not only am I letting people down if I don’t get something done, I can also get in trouble for it.  For this reason, Navy Reserve is slightly ahead of the Fire Department.

Fire Department.   Just because this is a volunteer position doesn’t mean I don’t take it as seriously as any other thing I do.  We have weekly meetings that often include a variety of training topics.  If we get a call and I’m working on Navy stuff, I drop what I’m doing and go.  However, if I’ve got a ton of Navy stuff to do, I may have to miss our meeting.  I don’t like to do that, but it all depends on when things are due.

WordPress/Development. As much as I love using and helping people with WordPress, everything I do in WordPress is for fun.  Because of this, it comes in last out of my top priorities.  I’ve been spending 10-15+ hours the last couple weeks on Navy work, so unfortunately this is where I was forced to cut back.

Organization Techniques

You’ll notice a recurring theme with what I’m trying to do:  bulk and automate.  I think it saves time to do the same thing for

Weekly Meal Planning/Prep.  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time now and have heard plenty of times how it can save time.  As much as I love cooking, there just isn’t always a lot of time for it.  Or if we cook a “real” meal every weeknight, that takes a lot of time away from other things we could be doing.

Lists, Lists, and More Lists.  I’m a huge fan of lists.  This is something I got started with when I was in the Navy.  You were expected to always have a pen and your wheel book (a small notebook) to write down your tasking or anything to follow up with.  I regularly carry around a wheel book with me to this day.  I’m starting to make lists for everything I can.  Once something is on paper, it’s one less thing to worry about.  I always have some new idea running through my head, so I don’t want to forget the important stuff.

As a prime example of a list:  I’ve been in the Navy Reserve for almost six years now and I would always worry about forgetting something on my drill weekends.  Until I made a list.  Now I can pack for a drill weekend without even thinking about it.  If everything is checked off my list, I’m all set.

Sunday basket.  I listen to a lot of podcasts, including a number of them related to organization and productivity.  I came across one called Organize 365 by Lisa Woodruff.  Even though it’s geared towards women (her words, not mine), I find it very useful.  I’ve actually gone back to the beginning and started listening to all [the applicable] episodes.  She describes something called the Sunday Basket that allows you to organize all your action items in once place and postpone those things that don’t need to get done right away.

New Daily schedule.  There will simply never be enough time for me to do everything I want to.  I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is and there’s nothing I can do about it.  What I can do is determine the most important things for me and focus there.  I made a new Google calendar that I’ve been playing around with for a couple weeks trying to figure out a new schedule.  It’s really tough to narrow down.  I’m a very visual person and I really like seeing everything laid out on the calendar with the physical limitations.  Today is October 1 – the first day of a new quarter and the first day of my new schedule.  I’m stoked to see how everything works out!

Continual Improvement

I like what I have right now, but I’m going to be continually reevaluating what’s working and what’s not.

 

GeoffreyShilling.com is now Shilling.Blog

Did you notice anything different?  I had a name change!  While I’ll continue to share my fitness updates, I also want to start sharing recipes, our adventures, and other family stuff on this site.  For that reason, sticking with the domain geoffreyshilling.com just didn’t seem right to me.

GeoffreyShilling.com is now Shilling.blog.

I had started another site called WP Adventure for my journey through WordPress support and development.  Three sites is more than I have time to worry about right now.  GeoffreyShilling.com will be taking over for WP Adventure as my place to share WordPress support and development topics.

Aloha for now!
Geoffrey

P.S. I’m also pretty stoked I have a reason to take advantage of the .blog domain now, too!

PRT Challenge – Are YOU Ready to Get Healthy?

Me being dropped off in the country
Me Running in the Country
Me Running in the Country

I don’t consider myself super out of shape or anything, but there’s always room for improvement.  In case you’re reading this and don’t already know me, I have a number of important reasons to stay healthy.

Family

I intend to be around a long time for my wife and two kids, ages 3 and 10.  It’s very important for me to be able to keep up with my kids and the activities they do.  My wife regularly claims me as her third child for a reason; I love playing just as much as our kids!

Fire Department

I’ve been a member of my local volunteer fire department since March 2016 and intend to be there for many years to come.  While we don’t currently have any set physical requirements, there’s a lot to lose here.  Of course I hope we won’t ever get into a really bad situation, but if we do, being healthy can be a matter of life or death.  It’s important for us to be able to help others to safety.  Occupants of a home rely on our help and fellow firefighters demand it.  You’re putting your life in the hands of the other person when your team goes in a buring structure.  I feel it’s my obligation to be in the best shape I can be.

Navy Reserve

I hit my five-year mark in the Navy Reserve in January.  Combined with five years of active duty, that means I have at least ten years left until retirement.  We have a physical readiness test (PRT) every six months.  During this event, we have to run 1.5 miles and do as many curl-ups and push-ups as we can in two minutes.

You VS the Year 2017

I’ve accepted MapMyRun’s You VS the Year 2017 challenge.  I started a little late, but that’s even more incentive to make sure I don’t get more behind.

You vs. the Year is the digital run challenge to run 1017KM in 2017. Be a part of the largest digital Run Crew on the planet and compete to earn bragging rights, gain access to exclusive content, and more. So, what are you waiting for? Up to two (2) runs per day will count.

As a reference, 1017KM is equal to approximately 632 miles.

Current Stats

Here’s my progress on You VS the Year 2017 as of today:

  • Kilometers Completed:  159.88 (~99.3 mi)
  • Kilometers Remaining:  857.12 (~532.59 mi)
  • Days Remaining:  218

PRT Challenge

Me being dropped off in the country
My wife dropped me off on our way home from visitng family so I could run. 6 miles from home and no ride. That’s good motivation!

Here’s where the actual challenge comes in.  I earned the following scores on our last PRT, earlier this month:

  • Running:  Good High (1.5 miles in 12:08)
  • Curl-Ups:  Good High (71)
  • Sit-Ups:  Good Medium (45)

I’ve mentioned it before, but I officially began my new PRT Challenge on May 15.  The purpose of the PRT Challenge is that I want to continually improve until I can achive a maximum score.  Our next PRT is in October and my goal is an Outstanding Low for all three items, which means for my age group I need these numbers:

  • Running:  1.5 miles in 10:08
  • Curl-Ups:  88
  • Sit-Ups:  70

Weekly Goals

These are the goals I’m aiming for each week.  The curl-ups and push-ups are going to be the hard part, because I don’t like doing them.

  • Running:  15 miles
  • Curl-Ups:  125
  • Sit-Ups:  125

Week 2 Stats

Here’s what I accomplished this week towards my challenge:

  • Running:  20.14 mi (+5.14)
    • Duration: 2.97 hours
    • 5/23 4.0 mi
    • 5/24 5.0 mi
    • 5/27 6.12 mi
    • 5/28  5.02 mi
  • Curl-Ups:  50 (-75)
  • Push-Ups:  60 (-65)
  • Waist Measurement: 35″
  • Weight:  197.6 lbs

Overall Total

Here’s what I’ve accomplished since I started tracking on May 15, 2017.

  • Running:  37.04 mi (+7.04)
  • Curl-Ups:  50 (-200)
  • Push-Ups:  60 (-165)
  • Starting Waist Measurement (May 17):  36″
  • Starting Weight (May 17): 201.4 lbs

Weekly Summary

  • Week 1 [Ending 5/21/17]: 16.9 miles, 0 curl-ups, 0 push-ups
  • Week 2 [Ending 5/28/17]:  20.14 miles, 50 curl-ups, 60 push-ups

Are YOU Willing to Accept the Challenge

You are invited to join me on this challenge!  I use MapMyRun to track my running and manually keep a log of my curl-ups and push-ups.

Getting Started

  • See how fast you can run 1.5 miles
  • See how many curl-ups you can do in two minutes
  • See how many push-ups you can do in two minutes
  • Take a look at the PRT Standards to find your score
  • Start training
    • It’s easier to do when you have support.  I’m sharing my runs on Twitter and Facebook using #PRTChallenge.  I’d love for you to follow along and do the same!
    • I’m also going to be posting how I do each week to keep me motivated
  • Compare your results in October
    • I’ll share when our next PRT is and how I did.  This would be a great time for you to share your progress

Let me know in the comments below if you plan to participate!

Good luck!

Weekly Progress Report – April 10-16

I decided to strip out most of the areas in my weekly report because they are more about WordPress, Development, and support.  If you are interested in those topics, I’ll probably be adding them to WP Adventure in the next week or two.  I almost quit the weekly report altogether, but decided I wanted to keep it specifically for the physical training section.


PHYSICAL TRAINING.

I’m finally starting to feel better and am behind on my workout.  I don’t want to do those sit-ups and push-ups which makes it so easy to come up with reasons not to do them.  I’m starting with a goal of 125 each per week because it’s low enough so I can get going with them but not enough it should start helping me.  This week it really begins.  From now until our navy fitness test in October, I’m going to keep a running total of what I should be at versus  what I’ve actually accomplished.  I am holding myself to doing that total by the end of October.

  • Monday:  30 push-ups, 30 curl-ups
  • Wednesday:  25 push-ups, 30 push-ups, 4.25 mile run
  • Thursday:  35 push-ups, 30 push-ups
  • Saturday:  25 push-ups, 30 push-ups, 7.52 mile run

Cumulative Totals

Goal:

  • Running:  10 miles
  • Curl-Ups:  125
  • Push-Ups: 125

Actual (Difference from Goal)

  • Running:  11.77 miles (+11.77)
  • Curl-Ups:  120 (-5)
  • Push-Ups:  115 (-10)

READING.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris.

Biggest takeaway this week:

Tim Ferriss asked Jason Nemer what he would put on a billboard.  He responded,

Play!  Play more.  I feel like people are so serious, and it doesn’t take much for people to drop back into the wisdom of a childlike playfulness.  If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’d be movement and play.  Because you can’t really play without moving, so they’re intertwined.

I couldn’t agree with this more.  Play is a very important part of staying happy and young.  My wife regularly tells people she has three kids – to include me.  I don’t plan to ever grow up.

Weekly Progress Report: April 2-9, 2017

Weekly Progress Report: April 2-9, 2017

I mentioned there would be changes for a while until I got things organized, didn’t I?

I’ve heard people say you shouldn’t publish on a weekend because you won’t get as much traffic.  That makes sense, but starting next week that’s exactly what I’m doing. As I  mentioned before, the main purpose of this is to keep me on track and a way to look back on what I’ve been doing.

It doesn’t make sense to have Saturday and Sunday on different weekly reports.  Instead of having the weekly report end on Saturday, I’ve shifted it to run Monday through  Sunday.

Another change this week is the name of One More Mug. It’s becoming Mug Monday and – you guessed it – posted on Mondays instead of Wednesdays.

I had set some guides a while back to help me keep my focus each day.  I’m updating these a bit so they are more realistic.  This daily guide is changing to weekly goals,  though I will still track things on a daily basis.  You may also notice some of the focus has shifted so what I’m working on actually fits in with my priorities.  I’ve cut back on development and added in time for improving support.  The focus of this area is more about finding ways to improve support rather than providing support itself.  While I do enjoy development and will continue to learn, I really like helping people.

I’m basing this on a five-day week to allow some flexibility while still being simple to track.  That leaves me with the following breakdown  each week:

  • WordPress.org Forums: 3 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  Providing support and moderation for the forums.  I haven’t been on the forums as much as would like and am looking forward to getting back into things.
  • WordPress.com Forums:  5 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  Providing support on the forums.
  • Learning – Customer Service/Happiness:  2 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  This time will be spent learning how to improve support/customer service.  I’ll be using a variety of things such as Lynda.com courses to books or other methods I find.
  • Learning – Development:  2 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  This time will be spent improving my developer skills.
  • Development/Projects: 2 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  I’m by no means a developer, but I have a list of sites to create for friends and family.
  • Reading: 2 Hours/Week
    Purpose:  This is more general reading and can include any topic.
  • Fitness:  Run:  10 miles, Push-Ups:  125, Sit-Ups:  125
    Purpose:  My primary goal for staying fit is to be around for my kids and continue to play (and keep up) with them as they grow.  Another goal for this is to make sure I’m physically fit for my duties as a volunteer firefighter.  Finally, the better shape I’m in, the better score I get on our Navy Reserve Physical Readiness Test (PRT).  Read more about the Physical Readiness Standards.  I received a GIVE SCORE last October.  We have another one coming up next month.  My goal for October is to achieve an Outstanding Low.  For my age group, that means I need to do this:

    • Run 1.5 miles in 9:25
    • 88 Curl-Ups in 2 minutes
    • 70 Push-Ups in 2 minutes
  • Navy:  2 Hours
    Purpose:  I’m the leading petty officer (LPO) of our Navy Reserve unit.  That makes me responsible for and to our enlisted members.  This is still a fairly new role for me and I’m getting settled into the position and what works for me.  I’m also our training petty officer (PO).  The Training PO is in charge of planning and coordinating enlisted training for the unit.  I will spend this time assisting our sailors with any problems, planning upcoming training, and taking online courses to better myself as an LPO.

Based on this, I’ll I broke this down into how much time I will need to spend each day.  Keep in mind this is based on a five-day week.

  • WordPress.org Forums: 36 minutes
  • WordPress.com Forums:  60 minutes
  • Learning – Customer Service/Happiness:  24 minutes
  • Learning – Development:  24 minutes
  • Development/Projects:  24 minutes
  • Reading:  24 minutes
  • Fitness:  The time for this will vary quite a bit.
  • Navy:   24 minutes

SUPPORT/HAPPINESS.  I started Customer Service Foundations on Lynda.com.  Although I’m not too far into it, I’ve already taken away some good information.

LEARNING.  I’m continuing to make progress on the Become a PHP Developer learning path on Lynda.com. This week I’m 45% done with the JavaScript Essential Training course.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

  • Tuesday:  Our regular training meeting was replaced by a township meeting to discuss a joint fire district.  You can read more about it in Joint fire district: Levy not first step.
  • Wednesday:  We had a house fire little after 9:00 PM.  As things were calming down, I started getting a sharp pain in my lower stomach.  A couple medics gave me their opinion and I left the scene around 3:00 AM headed to the hospital for some testing.  The symptoms pointed to my appendix, so I had to make sure everything was clear there.  Luckily it was not my appendix.  It was some kind of inflammation/virus.  This left me on the couch all day Thursday, Friday afternoon, and most of the weekend.  I’m finally feeling a lot better tonight.

PHYSICAL TRAINING.

  • Sunday:  5.01-mile run

NAVY RESERVE. The website for one of our courses wasn’t working correctly and the issue seemed to be resolved.  I was able to complete that training and assist a member in finding some information in preparation for their AT.

ORGANIZATION.  I’m trying to streamline some of the standard chores and activities around the house.  I’ve been listening to Lisa Woodruff ‘s podcast, Organize 365, for the past couple weeks.  She has some great tips and I finally tried out her nifty Sunday Basket.  This is the first week, so it’s too early to tell anything yet, but I’m quite hopeful!

I told you things would be moving around a bit!  Aloha, a hui hou (until we meet again)!

Weekly Progress Report: March 26-April 1, 2017

My son was sick with strep two weeks ago and was getting over it just as my 3-year old daughter started to get it.  She couldn’t break her fever for a while and she certainly wasn’t sleeping very well.  If I wasn’t at work, she was cuddled up with me.  That means, I accomplished very little from my list this week.

LEARNING.  I’m continuing to make progress on the Become a PHP Developer learning path on Lynda.com. This week I’m 33% done with the Introducing PHP course.  According to Lynda.com:  37 hours of video tutorials remaining in this path.

DEVELOPMENT. Project: “The Store”

Weekly Progress:  I have a basic site set up on my local machine using DesktopServer.  I added two pages of products from their catalog to the site this weekend.  Only 28 more pages to go.

Project Scope:  This is a website re-design for a brick-and-mortar store I’m doing for a family member.  They currently have a static HTML website, but it needs some work.  The site itself is not responsive and does not allow the business to add their own products.  Once the re-design is complete, it will be fully responsive and use WooCommerce to display (but not sell) products on the site.  This will allow the business to easily add or update current inventory without having to rely on a developer or trying to dig into code.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

  • Tuesday:  We held our monthly business meeting to discuss our reverse raffle and other department information.

PHYSICAL TRAINING.  I only went on one run last week and I felt absolutely horrible about it.  My daughter said she wanted to watch me as I walked out the front door.  I told her she could watch, but to shut the door as soon as she couldn’t see me anymore.  I figured she would go back to watching her movie and relaxing/resting up, but I was wrong.  As I approached the front door after my run, the poor kid was still there.  She didn’t leave the entire time I was gone.  I told her I wouldn’t run again until she was feeling better.

  • Running:  3.42 miles
  • Curl-Ups:  0
  • Push-Ups:  0

NAVY RESERVE.

  • I was in Dayton this weekend for our drill weekend.  It was quite busy, as we had a new chief and I am still getting settled into the Leading Petty Officer position.

This was definitely a brief outline, but I really didn’t have a lot of time to work on this or anything else.  Luckily my daughter is finally starting to feel better now!

Weekly Progress Report: March 19-25, 2017

I didn’t get much done this week.  My son was sick most of the week and finally started feeling better as we headed into the weekend.  At the same time he was starting to feel better, my daughter was getting sick.  She didn’t leave my side much this weekend, which takes priority over all other things on this list.  We had a relaxing weekend of binge-watching kid movies so they could rest up.

LEARNING.  I’m continuing to make progress on the Become a PHP Developer learning path on Lynda.com. I finished the JavaScript Essential Training course and am 22% done with the Introducing PHP course.  According to Lynda.com:  58 hours of video tutorials remaining in this path.

LISTENING [Audible]. Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken.

DEVELOPMENT. Project: “The Store.”  Project Scope:  This is a website re-design for a brick-and-mortar store I’m doing for a family member.

Weekly Progress:  I learned how to bulk-edit/resize photos using Photoshop Elements and have all the images sized and ready to be renamed from their standard “image-1” to more meaningful names.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

  • Tuesday:  We had training on forcible entry.  One of our officers made a wood frame that lets each of us practice different techniques.

PHYSICAL TRAINING.  Well, I got started, but that was about it.  I actually intend to hit all my goals this coming week (9 miles running, 125 curl-ups, and 125 push-ups).

  • Running:  10.41 miles (16.75 KM)
  • Curl-Ups:  50
  • Push-Ups:  50

NAVY RESERVE.

PLASMA.  I started donating plasma again a week ago Thursday.  I like donating on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which is what I did this last week.  I’ve decided to focus on leadership training on Lynda.com during that time.