Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July 2013

I planned to work on my patio in my back garden but it started to rain. I hoped to rent a compactor to level the ground that I had dug up so I can place the tiles but the skies turned dark; but I was hoping that the skies would clear but the rain started to fall in  the early morning. Since working on this project, I started to have doubts after the physical realization that I am no longer young, spending hours during the weekend and a hour or so everyday after work, digging the earth to clear a 12 by 10 square meter area. Now that I have done it now comes the hard work of leveling the ground. It also took awhile to buy the materials: 120 tiles (12 by 10 inches) , 20 sand bags and other stuff needed to complete the project like mallet, back hoe, stakes, black matting to cover the earth, shovel, digger, wheel barrow and sand cement. It took several trips to Lowes to buy everything, often after work or after our Saturday hike, a period that took at least 2 months until I assembled all the needed materials. Then I started to dig, wondering why I started this project in the first place, underestimating the labor and effort required.

The story of my life: to start projects with an optimistic naivete, wondering if I did the right thing or if I overestimated my ability to complete the work, all the more alarming considering the manual labor required, especially since one is no longer young. It became a common theme in the recent weeks as I dug my garden, putting in the hours and working under the sun. Similarly, I am working on my new role, meeting more people, doing more work and wondering why I got to this position without more planning. I now go to work early at least before 8 am, often times at 7:30 am, leaving the house at 6:30 am or earlier to be at the gym. I wanted to exercise early in the morning so I could go home early to work on the garden, or work on my book or just watch movies. I was wasting too much time exercising after work, often a bit late if I needed to complete some tasks in the office, finding for parking in the gym, small talk with my friends and so on.Exercising in the morning allowed me to remove all those distractions, exercise and be at work early. Oil man Getty  advised that one should wake up early and start work early to get rich. Wise advice.

I could now wake up early after using the CPAP machine, after the machine assisted sleeping made me more refreshed with a restful night’s sleep unlike before where my slumber was disrupted by sleep apnea. So it seemed to come together: CPAP + restful sleep + early gym workouts + going to work early + increased work in my new role. This routine made me use my time wisely and more efficiently; less effort and wasted gas. Hence, a good night sleep is the key of the whole new me, a streamlined work - life experience. I would not have moved into thess multiple roles without the amazing machine assisted sleep device. A few weeks back I attended a Toastmaster training in Columbia, for area governor, a new role that I am also starting in July, where I need to visit other clubs, make reports and organize speech contests and leadership seminars. I reflected on all the new demands on my time, the new roles I have to play and many things I need to do: planning, organizing, meeting and doing the needed tasks. I would not have embarked on all these new adventures without all the learning + small changes done in my life to make it more efficient and productive.

I upped my game so to speak, where one needs to go out of oneself and engage with the surroundings, missing the introspective and solitary work of the analyst into the more extroverted role of manager. I needed a new vision of myself which now seems easy after all those meeting in Toastmaster and my experience at work; almost 18 years in the company, gaining all the technical skills to excel at work. For instance, I needed to do work in UNIX servers which I never have done before, working mostly in c computers, but seamlessly succeeding in UNIX because the technical skills gained in the past help adapt into new operating systems. This project is completing soon but getting too much of my time especially as I transition into my new role where I have to prove myself all over again. Its an all new world, new details and perceptions opening up that one did not notice before, where one gains new perspectives with new assignments. I guess it all started when I transferred to my new house last year; getting to know the neighborhood and adapting to new life patterns.

But digging into the earth as I worked my garden, feeling my physical limitations emerge and the loss of youth, I began to doubt whether all these new challenges are wise. The answer is yes. Once must change to grow despite the stress and pressure and one should adapt to the new challenges, it is not the new external circumstances but the change once must do internally in order to succeed. New opportunities are best experienced by the prepared mind, as someone said. The prepared mind plus the machine assisted sleeping and the vitamin supplements (ginkgo biloba, Valerian and st. John’s wort) + morning exercise are the external improvements that mean nothing without the internal changes. I re-borrowed the book ‘Extreme Productivity’ where I hope to learn new tricks. Yesterday was one difficult day where I had to complete many tasks: re-forecast my projects in the system, test the latest patch, present the accomplishments in a monthly meeting, attend other meetings with agitated colleagues, prepare reports and write emails with stiff deadlines due to the holiday. I wanted to relax today by continuing work on my garden but I need to login to check some emails and do some work.

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