Challenge 5: Fix what bugs you

This challenge has its origin in several places.

I’ve been reading Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, in which he talks of the circle of concern (which is everything we care about) and the circle of influence (which is everything we have control over or influence on). He recommends undertaking a 30-day proactivity challenge, where you work only in your circle of influence, on things you have control over, rather than getting caught up on things that concern you but which you can’t do anything about.

Along the same lines, a recent email challenge over at Hey Kendra was to go for 24 hours without complaining. Kendra says that while complaining has some rewards, (because it feels good to vent and can help us bond with other people who have the same complaints), it has downsides if you do it a lot. For example, you look like someone who isn’t in control of their life; people can get sick of you if you complain a lot and you can attract other complainers into your life. Kendra puts it like this: “we have perfected the art of fine whining”.

This is something I’d already started to focus on, because I started thinking that, unless other people have the same issue as I have, they really aren’t interested in the little things I complain about.

I committed to not complaining for 24 hours for Kendra’s challenge, and didn’t even last half a day! Some things (that are totally outside my circle of influence) really push my buttons. But on reflection, they aren’t worth the energy it takes to complain about them.

Kendra says the challenge is to focus on solutions – and if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing. And this leads us to the final piece of the puzzle that is Challenge 5 in my year of #steppingonthecracks.

This came from a recent podcast from Asian Efficiency, with Paul Akers from which I got the big takeaway “fix what bugs you”. This could possibly be the best advice I’ve heard all year.

Putting all of this together, my next 30 day challenge is: If there’s something that’s pissing me off to first ask myself if there’s anything I can do about it. If not – let it go.

If yes – fix it. It probably takes as much energy to fix a niggling little problem as it does to whinge about it, and the difference is that fixing it means it’s no longer a problem, whereas whinging about it has used the same energy and the problem still exists.

If it’s not something I can fix straight away (the two-minute rule might be useful here – if it can be done in under two minutes, do it right away, don’t leave it), at least make an action plan to get onto fixing it.

Example: Last week I was in the kitchen and the bin liner had come away from the sides of the bin and was making it difficult to put stuff in the bin. You know, when you dump something heavy in the bin first up and it pulls the whole thing down.

Other person, looking at the bin: “That bin liner isn’t very useful like that”.

Me: *Pulls out the bin and straightens up the bin liner.* *Gives self gold star for fixing instead of pointing it out and doing nothing.*

This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

I’ll have to be very careful on Twitter, since that’s where most of my complaints are aired. If you catch me complaining in the next 30 days without having a plan to fix the issue, feel free to call me out on it! #fixwhatbugsyou

My goal will be to find at least one thing each day that I might have complained about and fixed instead.

And in case I felt inclined to complain about the weather, a reminder that spring is coming:

20160812 Pretty at St David's Park

 

12 of 12 September 2015

A boring Saturday at home. The first day of my “let’s try getting up earlier and doing some things I have to do in the morning instead of lazing around and then having to rush out the door at swimming time because I couldn’t be bothered having breakfast and getting dressed until 10 minutes before we had to leave, and having all the things not done at the end of the day.”

20150912-02 Early morningThat seemed to go well.

1 of 12 – It’s been a cold winter. Really cold. Just lately there have been signs it’s coming to an end, but we all know that this is just a teaser before we’re plunged back into freezing temperatures. But for the next couple of days, it’s going to be really nice. Forecast top today: 20 degrees, actual top: 22 degrees. Quite a contrast with where we’ll be in two weeks.

1 of 12

1 of 12

2 of 12 – Juniordwarf volunteered to make us coffee this morning. He used to do it all the time a couple of years ago but fell out of the habit. Unfortunately the coffee machine goes through temperamental phases, which makes coffee very hit and miss. Today was one of those days.

2 of 12

2 of 12

3 of 12 – One of the things Juniordwarf does is help make breakfast when we have eggs. Now that the chooks are laying again, we’ve got a good supply. Fresh eggs, sautéed kale and my favourite bread from Pigeon Whole. Nice way to start the day. And yes, I do have my breakfast on Juniordwarf’s “Bunnykins” plate.

3 of 12

3 of 12

4 of 12 – I had to prune back this boronia (I think) bush because it was in the way of me being able to see where the chooks are. By “prune” I means chopping off anything in my line of vision. Note to self: clean kitchen window.

4 of 12

4 of 12

5 of 12 –Swimming lesson day.

5 of 12

5 of 12

Remember a couple of months ago when I didn’t have anything to take photos of so I went for a walk around town. (It was actually May) Here are some updates.

6 of 12 – Not so much an update as something totally new. This building has been a couple of restaurants since we’ve been here, but has been empty for several years. Looks like it will be back in use again soon.

6 of 12

6 of 12

7 of 12 – Lees Corner. The old site of Banjo’s, the lolly shop and Sintonic, which burnt down in 2012, and has sat unused since. They are now making it into a small park until the owners decide what to do with it. The work started in May. Apparently it was supposed to be finished by the end of May.

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7 of 12

8 of 12 – Happy springtime!

8 of 12

8 of 12

9 of 12 – Old cottage, meet new hardware store. Bad luck if you want any light. In May this was the site of lots of puddles and diggers. It used to be the site of old fruit packing sheds.

9 of 12

9 of 12

10 of 12 – Anyone want to buy an old supermarket?

10 of 12

10 of 12

11 of 12 – This is the latest addition to the Willow Court site – new gates in front of the old Barracks. (I know. It’s been there several months. There are conflicting opinions on the suitability of this style for a historic site.)

11 of 12

11 of 12

12 of 12 – We are very lucky to be able to have Two Metre Tall Beer-fed Beef delivered to our front door.

12 of 12

12 of 12

P365 – Day 237 – I did not speak too soon

I did not speak too soon . . . I did not speak too soon . . .
So OK, after a glorious morning, at lunchtime the weather decided it was winter time again, the temperature dropped by several degrees, the wind started blowing (up to 109 km per hour according to my handy weather app), the clouds and rain moved in . . . we had gale warnings and road weather alerts, and someone at work mentioned the words ‘highland snow’.
What a perfect opportunity to have another go at photographing a tree in a puddle, after my dismal effort last time.
This one worked a lot better.
And as for the weather, well it was a typical Tassie ‘four seasons in one day’ day. Well two seasons, at least.

P365 – Day 236 – spring has sprung

Last week one of my workmates was saying how lovely it was that spring was finally here: the weather was warming up, the spring bulbs were in bloom and it was still light at 5 pm.
Another colleague insisted that it wasn’t spring yet; that there was still two weeks of winter left.
Nonsense, replied colleague 1. The weather decides when it’s spring. Not the calendar.
I fall into that camp too.
If it feels like spring, looks like spring, behaves like spring, then it’s spring. Who cares what the calendar says?
One of the things I love about spring in Hobart is the circles of daffodils and/or jonquils that are planted at the base of some of the trees in St David’s Park. I don’t know how long they’ve been there, but I think they look wonderful. 
I have no doubt that we’ll be shocked by at least one more cold snap (at least!) before the weather really warms up, but for now it’s just beautiful, and begs to be taken advantage of. I wonder if my boss would be open to the idea of having our staff meetings in the park . . .
Further proof that it’s spring is that today we got back home much later than normal, and I went outside to get something that I needed to get dry off the clothesline. I’d hung the washing out last night knowing it wouldn’t be dry when we got home today, because as soon as the sun goes down and the cold sets in, the washing starts to get damp again. Except it hadn’t. It was all totally dry.
It’s an evening you might almost describe as ‘warm’, with clear skies and a great view of the stars.
A beautiful night.

A beautiful spring night.

P365 – Day 227 – it’s getting ligher

This morning, as I left the house at 6.30, I noticed it wasn’t pitch black like it has been over the past few months.
The faint glimmer of light made it ever so slightly more pleasant to be heading off to work so early.
Fast forward to this evening when I was leaving work, and it was still light.
Spring is coming, and the signs are getting more obvious every day.

P365 – Day 223 – spring is nearly here!

It’s still pretty wintery, but the days are slowly getting longer, it’s not quite as cold in the mornings and there are signs of life starting to emerge.

No doubt we’re in for one or two more cold snaps before we say goodbye to winter (and then, of course, our customary freeze in December), but at least now we can see there’s light at the end of the tunnel.