Drawn. Quartered. 

You might think by the title that this post is going to touch on medieval torture and the particulars of that violent protocol. Not so much.  In this case though, the concept of drawn, and then quartered, is instead a little spin on well-known time and worry management strategy.  Or actually two strategies, technically.

For me, one idea begets the others.  Here’s the basic thinking.

I’ve got a lot of different commitments and pulls on my time, currently. It’s gone on for a long while, actually. I’ve feel a bit of the tug in a rather tortuous manner during my worst moments.

As I recently worked through whatever the crisis was that brought on those feelings one recent day I thought, “Drawn, and Quartered…that’s a good image for my best practice and managing things, especially when it seems overwhelming, too much, etc.: ‘Draw up the plan for the day, work the most important to-do from each quadrant of your life, and go forward.”

The quadrant concept is an important distinction, for my thinking, at least.  I divide my life into four basic sections, based on what matters most to me:  my wife, my kids, my work, and then everything else.  The everything else rotates through the fourth quadrant:  care for my elderly parents, the service club I belong to, friends, writing.

So my basic goal is to spend time in each quadrant each day, to keep each area healthy, attended to, moving forward.  Of course, my success ratio varies day-to-day.  But that’s what I strive for.

After all, it’s in the planning, and then execution, that we accomplish the things we want to in the midst of life happening every day.  Remember, whether we plan or not, life happens. It’s what we make of the time that makes all the difference.

Kids: Teach Them…

Today I took 2/3 of the crew to a walking bridge I’d driven under a thousand times but had never been on. It got me thinking, as usual.

What is one of the best thing you can do for your kids? Teach them the traits that will serve them throughout their lives.

Teach them about the fun to be had in adventure, by doing new things, going new places, venturing into the unknown. They’ll be energized, and excited, and challenged. All good things.

Teach them to cope with struggle, with pain, with difficulty, and disappointment. All of these conditions are part of life, the human experience we all share. The sooner they learn the skills to get through the trials, the better off they’ll be.

Teach them to adapt. The theme comes back to the for again and again. The only constant is change. Learn to adapt as needed, adjust and keep moving forward, the better off we are. 

The big take-away? Learn these skills earlier in life, be happier. 

Who knew a weekend walk to a new place could be so GOOD. 

Cadre Redux: Dads Everywhere

Over the last couple of years I’ve had some great micro-exchanges with a bunch of dads via the likes of Twitter. The insights and props of mutual support from those guys have meant a lot, and buoyed me in a way I didn’t expect.  The outcome?  I’m very grateful for the positive connections that can be established via the inter-webs.

In fact, these connections led me to share a writing piece for a Dads publication one of my Dad Compadres, John Finch, put together and published.  The book, Encouraging Dads, is a great collection of stories, and I’m honored to have my work included.  You can check out the dads support project here.   You can find the book itself (and buy it) here.

The central value of all this communication and sharing and work like John champions is the support between fathers.  Guys helping guys, pushing aside stereotypes and pretense and airs, to focus on what matters most:  our pivotal role in our children’s lives.

No surprise, the power of these connections.  Dads sharing dad stories, experiences, challenges help us realize we’re in the same boat. We’re trying to do right by our kids, our partners, our families.  Lots of love, lots of learning along the way.

Here’s my core crew.  They rock. And they do GOOD, as dads, and as people.

Looking forward to working with them into the future to make the world a better place, by making our children’s lives better, as they grow up, and thus living the joy of fatherhood.

Motion is Lotion

“Get UP!” That’s been my mantra the last several years.

I’d been a runner off and on since I was a kid, up until five years ago. Ran mostly for conditioning when I was young, then for health and weight management in adulthood.

I even ran a handful of half marathons and some trail runs too.  Was running pretty quick for me, feeling healthy, all good.  Then after our first kid was born, time constraints and age-related aches and pains forced me to change gears.  Not much running.

Two more kids tightened things up even more. I had to shift gears. Running went by the wayside.  I had to figure out how to integrate activity more throughout the day.  Exercise went from an hour run to sprinkling more activity continuously into my daily routine.

Stretching, counting steps, abbreviated kettle bell workouts in the garage after the early morning dog walks, three minute walk breaks throughout the work day: all these factor into more motion.   And as the saying goes, “motion is lotion.”

I got a step (and sleep )tracker a couple years back.  The UP Move by Jawbone was my choice.  One of the cheaper models, but still did what I wanted it to do.  I could now tell how much activity I was actually getting each day.  I make an effort now towards hitting a given Step Target most every day.  Even if it’s not completely accurate, there’s no doubt I increase my activity level to get to a higher number.   I’m able to dial in my efforts to get better, consistent sleep too.

More energy, more steps.  Steps translate to a higher level of mobility.  Better mobility means more activity, which gives me a path to find and maintain a better attitude, better health, better me.  And that’s all good for me.   Try it.  Get up and get moving.  Might be good for you too.