Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Goal #3: Managing my Resources

Again, this is an overlapping goal and intention: money, belongings, time, and even friends.

Money is easiest: paying off debt, shaping retirement funds more effectively, selling and donating unwanted things, and re-investing in myself more wisely.

Belongings means using the things I love often, giving away, discarding, or selling the things I do not need or use, and using Morris's dictum as a guideline... which will help eliminate impulse shopping and useless belongings. Keeping a minimalism guideline, I can focus on what I need and love vs. everything else.

And stop distracting myself with "stuff." Have I ever mentioned I love the TV show Clean House? (BTW, this is not my house, below!)

Time is the most important of all, really, and the key to everything. This includes setting boundaries for others and myself in "technology" time (like emails, internet, etc.) and establishing time for me to work on classroom work, scholarship, and creative work... a goal I always have.

Again: distractions. I'm reading Focus by Leo Babauta (free on the web here), which is a simple but powerful text on how to "focus in the age of distraction" (wow!)--it is helping me by identifying new sites of distraction, but also confirming what I already know (I don't want to be available 24/7 to electronic/digital devices, let alone people!) and there are strategies for creating effective boundaries. Time-wasters like mindless TV, video games, and reading admittedly trashy books--necessary in their own ways, but too big a portion of my time now--redirected to the 50 books I listed, my own creative and scholarly goals, and simply being more mindful. And yes, still enjoying "time wasting"!

Community is the big resource I want to manage (goal #4): I have work to do on this one. Honestly, I have trouble stepping into already-formed communities, like church groups. Since the community of my department at My U has dissolved, that internal community would have to be of my own making. Which means stepping up my own connections to chosen colleagues. More, it means identifying and creating my community among family, friends, and colleagues, including real and virtual communities. Community is a lot of work, both on an individual basis and a group basis.

As we get older, communities are tougher to find and maintain. I have noticed friends dropping out because of marriage, babies, moving, and even death. I have stopped talking to or connecting with people because of my over-involvement with work, time, or simply laziness. In this way, social networks like Facebook have actually improved connecting, because of the already-available platform for emailing notes and pictures, low-pressure ways of staying in touch.

But communities are a huge resource, especially for single people, because that maintains your health (according to studies) and keeps you involved and joyful. Like watching your money, it is important to watch your friends, family, and other social groups. More on this, tomorrow.

But managing my resources means being mindful of my resources--all of them--and balancing them, again mindfully. Being aware of the variety and strength of each one, and maintaining each one as well (for some reason, I just flashed on the medieval morality play EVERYMAN! And I am so a teacher!).

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