Where have I been and what have I been doing?  The past few months have been swirling like an eddy of thoughts and events and I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts and make sense of it all.   Nothing terribly profound, mind you, just distracted.  I came to realize that if I wanted to share my thoughts and expand my horizons, I needed to settle some dust and get myself organized.

I’m still not there.

I’ve hit a stage in my life where I need to seriously contemplate what I want to be when I grow up.  I now have children in three very different life places.

My college “graduate” is, in fact, one class short of his degree.  I cannot justify sending him to another state and paying for tuition, room and board for one class.  He will live at home and take his class locally and transfer the credit.  He’s been home about 6 weeks and is still looking for a job.  That doesn’t make him a whole lot different from hundreds of thousands of other recent grads but when it’s your own kid, you get frustrated right alongside him.  I’ve been “helping” him look at various options.

My middle one is about to enter his second year of college.  He has a good internship this summer giving him some practical work experience.  He’s studying Computer Science and his summer work is in IT for a Fortune 500 company but he says it isn’t really applicable to what he’s studying.  Still, though, a good resume pad.

Which brings us to our youngest.  About to enter high school.  Taking a summer class online, gearing up for marching band camp and thinking ahead to driver’s ed.

Chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe the home life.  Having five of us all together after being accustomed to three is challenging.  Combine that with my rotating schedule ranging from as early as 6 a.m. to as late as 9:30 a.m. for start times, it is difficult to find a routine to write and contribute anything to the greater good.  But I’m working on it.

I’ve also encountered some changes (for the worse) in my health status recently.  Nothing debilitating or even that will slow me down.  Just things that are forcing me to make some life changes and to be more mindful of taking care of myself.

In February, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.  I have now joined 29 million other Americans (2016 CDC Data) that have diabetes.  There are an additional 86 million Americans (same data) with pre-diabetes.  I also have had high blood pressure for about 20 years.

Combine that with two surgeries in the past 5 years (ACL reconstruction and bunion surgery) and the fact that I am 50 lbs. overweight and it’s all a big wake-up call.  In fact, this past weekend, I spent my Friday night of the 4th of July weekend in the ER with chest pains.  In reality, I knew it was not a heart attack but I didn’t know what it WAS.  My fear was gall bladder but that wasn’t the case either.  Turns out it was partially related to me attempting to take back my health and body.

I have been biking to work the past couple weeks in an attempt to get some additional exercise and lose a bit of weight.  In said riding, I had pulled a muscle in my chest.  Combine that with some acid reflux and it’s a recipe for chest pain.  And when you go to the ER and say chest pain, you get bumped to first class immediately.

Needless to say, as I write this, I’m taking anti-inflammatory for the muscle pull as well as prescription antacid for the reflux.  I’m fine but it was a bit of a scare.

So that’s my story.  That’s where I’ve been.  But the time hasn’t been a total disregard of my thought processes.  I’ve also been studying up on better use of time and using my learnings to become more self-aware of how I use my own time.  I’ve made some strides.  Especially at work.

I basically stopped using a to-do list and I’ve broken my calendar out into 15 minute increments rather than 30 or 60 minute blocks.  I try and put everything into my calendar.

Daily tasks that must be done are simple to overlook even when you know they are essential reports that need to be addressed.  It’s quite easy to get caught up in the fire of the day and get into reactive mode with an “I’ll do it later” mentality when looking at a to-do list.  Planting these items in your calendar creates and appointment with yourself and blocks the time from other usurping.

I’ve also turned off email notifications so the icon doesn’t pop on my screen every time an email comes in.  The tougher part is getting my team trained that I will not respond to email immediately.  I am trying to get into the habit of checking my email three times per day (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and around 4:30 p.m.).  The last check allows me to respond to anything that may require action prior to leaving the office.  As I said . . . I’m trying.  I’m not there yet and I have days that I slip into old habits but I’m also self-aware and know what I’m doing when I’m doing it.

I recently read a pamphlet/free book from Amazon called “How To Create An Editorial Calendar” by Donna DeRosa.  Whenever I read a book or article that can help me be a better “me”, I try to pick up a tip or two that I can apply to my life or work.  Creating an editorial calendar is the one I got this time.

So, there you have it.  That’s where I’ve been.  It’s a bit of a rambling story but it’s my story.