30 April 2010

This time, last year


Most of us are getting ready to leave Europe - some are staying a few more weeks to travel with their girlfriends. I had just arrived back in Munich from Romania, and Brad and the guys had just gotten back from their brewery tours in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. The guys have all graduated from their brewing program, and we're all at the experimental brewery celebrating.

28 April 2010

Motivation without External Deadlines
















I have never asked for an extension on a paper, nor from a client. No matter how unrealistic, I have always met deadlines. But, I am also a huge procrastinator. I’ve gotten up at 3:30 a.m. to finish projects due that same morning (I’m a morning person).

The problem now that I work for myself is that I also usually set my own deadlines. Deadlines that are more flexible than external deadlines. Deadlines that I can rationalize away. And, this is the problem.

When you don’t have external deadlines, how do you stay motivated to work rather than spend the day skiing, kayaking, or otherwise having more fun (work is work after all)?

I have had to redefine what work is and how I get it done. I used to have to be at the office most of the day - whether I came in later or earlier, I had to be there. Now, I make my own hours. Like many people newly freed from their corporate desks, I abused my schedule and didn’t quite get much done at first. It was a lot of "I'll just do that later and go kayaking now."

What I’ve learned is that I need a schedule, and I need to keep to a routine. I still get up at 6 every morning, and am usually working by 8:30. I set a schedule and stick to it... most days. The schedule and routine makes me more motivated to get through the work I have to do. I am not putting off a task until later only to dread it, not get it done, and then dread it some more.

I’ve also adopted the critical task approach. I make sure that I do two or three tasks each day that will either make me money, or will lead to me making money. Once I have completed those tasks, the day is mine. While I keep a constant to-do list, I am realistic about what I can get done in a day.

Another motivating factor is staying in contact with friends and family, and telling them of progress with various projects. There has to be some progress in order to talk about it.

Of course the biggest motivator is reminding myself why I am doing this. The threat of having to go back to work for someone else to pay the bills helps with motivation. The freedom and flexibility I have now is worth the extra work I might have to put in to complete projects, or to start new projects and build additional income streams.

22 April 2010

The Start of Summer Beer Fest Season

I should really run my photos through Photoshop before posting... but, you get the idea.

We headed down to Trinity Brewing Co, in Colorado Springs, over the weekend for the Saison and Farmhouse Ale festival. We had some great, some OK, and some bad beer. Next year, the FunkWerks will be pouring as well. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

A rainy day makes for a crowded bar


Der biermeister giving a lecture on.... beer, what else?!
He was pretending for the camera, actually.

I'm guessing this was one of the bad ones... One was so bad it incited threats of cutting tongues out. Of course, it's all subjective, most of us liked that particular beer made with hemp seed.

Last call

And this is what happens after the festival is over...
See the rest of the pictures here.

16 April 2010

The Three Month Agony


I recently gave a friend moving in with her fiance the same advice I give everyone in that situation: the first few months are wonderful, then just push through the next three months. The love of your life will turn into everything you hate, then he or she will turn into everything you didn’t know you hated. Then, somehow, it passes.

B and I have lived together a long time. Even before we officially moved in together, one of us spent most nights at the other’s place. It wasn’t until both of our names were on the lease that we experienced the Three Month Agony. This is the period a few months after you’ve consolidated furnishings and CDs - a few months after the ga-ga-we’re-so-happy phase. It usually lasts about three months (I am basing this on elaborate sociological studies of friends and friends of friends).

All of a sudden you bicker about everything: socks on the floor, open tooth-paste caps, unmade beds, loud nose blowing, shoe piles, how the towels need to be folded, which direction the mugs should face… When did I become the fucking maid? When did he turn into a fog horn? Why the hell didn’t you get chopped walnuts, you should have known? You clearly don’t care about me. Some of these are our examples, some from friends; but they are all real examples.

Little habits and idiosyncrasies start looking like insurmountable cliffs. It all starts to feel like a colossal mistake. This is no longer a roommate. You can’t simply close the door to your room, shutting out the housemates. Your space suddenly gets smaller, much much smaller. And, because you’ve been in a little love cocoon, you’re only now suffering the lingering effects of too little alone time. It’s even worse when two introverts move in together.

And then, it passes. The trick is to push through it.** Part of it is settling into routines as a couple, tackling problems as partners. But, I think most of it is taking some time for yourself, alone, without feeling guilty. Do something you love, alone.

I require a lot of alone time. Without it everyone gets on my nerves from the kid screaming in the grocery store (let's be honest, everyone wants to smack that kid) to the guy chewing too loudly at the next table; I get crabby, and I overreact at the slightest offense. It took me a while to truly figure out that all I needed was some time alone. Now I take my time, no apologies. I’m happier; we’re happier.

**Assuming you actually want the relationship to work, that there are good reasons to continue a life with this newly uncaring, fog horning, shoe pilling, sock throwing person.

14 April 2010

Finally!

First signs of spring!!




02 April 2010

Happy Easter
















This was the bunny we got in our room last year in Munich. We ate the bunny.



Easter Sunday, we were in Prague.


And then, for Orthodox Easter, I was in Timisoara.

This year both Easters are on the same day. We're in Fort Collins, having friends over for lunch. It does not look muck like spring here though - I think we've got a few weeks before things start to bloom.
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