Wednesday, August 27, 2014

need for speed

Next week is the start of another semester of MBA night classes.  I learned a hard lesson last year during my first semester.  I loved my Accounting class and enjoyed the challenge of the homework and as a true nerd even loved taking the tests.  My huge mistake in Accounting landed me my first B in the MBA program (and hopefully my last!!)  I got cocky.  I was speeding through the tests and the homework with great success and I took this to an extreme with the final.  The night of the final I had an obligation to get home at a certain time (so my husband could go to work) and I let that take priority over my final exam.  I made foolish mistakes – answers that I could have fixed if I had spent more time reading through the test again.

Lesson Learned: What I should have done: hire a babysitter to watch the kids.  That would have let me stay in class as LONG as I needed and let my husband get to work on time.  Less stress across the board – doesn’t that sound nice!

This MBA program has been really interesting to take on.  I have to balance the class with work, kids, gym, friends and anything extra that gets thrown into the mix.  I know that I don’t have the time to study for 20+ hours a week.  I am ok with that – I am also ok with getting a B if I need to.  At the end of the day the grades for each individual class won’t make a difference.  The real goal for me is completion of the full program.  What drives me nuts about the scenario above is that it was under my control and I could have resolved it with a little planning ahead.  I won’t make that same mistake again. 

With the semester starting next week – I am making myself a couple promises:

·        Don’t get cocky

·        Take my time during class – to ask questions and absorb anything I can.  (The more I can get done in the class, the less I need to tackle at home.)

·        Go to weekend study groups at Panera – and don’t eat too many pastries!
How do you balance your time?  What lessons have you learned this year? 

*** in case you were wondering - my text books make a great lamp base ***

Sunday, August 10, 2014

from sketch to painting in 3 days flat

This is my follow up post from rekindling a hobby that I wrote about last month.  I wanted to share the final results of a class that I would call a success.  I spent three days with a local artist and learned quite a bit. 

First day - walked around town sketching several spots (in the rain.)  We were looking for an interesting view as well as someplace we could paint without getting wet if it rained all three days.  Here is the chosen spot and the sketch I did on the first day:

The second day we worked on adding a rough sketch to canvas and starting out with under-painting (which I had never heard of before.) Basically you choose any color you want and just start filling in the shadow/dark areas with color.  The oil paint is thinned with turpentine to make it watery. Once you have the darkest colors filled in - you choose a different color and paint the middle dark tones.   The colors don't matter because the next step will be painting over top with more realistic color choices.  My instructor called this day drawing with paint.

The third day was the most intimidating because I knew I didn't have much time left to finish the painting before I needed to head home.  It was nerve racking to choose what colors to use.  Another trick that I learned was to take each color and make three shades on your pallet using more and more white.  The three shades help the painting look more real when you think about light hitting the building or the shadow of the trees. 

And there you have it - the final product (still sitting in a travel tube on top of my dresser.)  Next step is to actually get it framed and find a home for it.  Overall, I was really pleased with the class.  My instructor was great and I enjoyed learning new things.  Not sure when I will make the leap and purchase those oil paints - but I would sign up for another class again.  It is all the fun without the commitment.

do more with less... sleep

Recently I have come across several articles about how much sleep we need every night.  I am probably a rare breed in that I make sleep a priority and usually get about 9 hours sleep a night.  I have always been jealous of my husband who can sleep for 6 hours a night (every night) and not feel groggy during the day. I just think about how much MORE I could get done if I didn’t need to sleep so much. 

With that being said – I am starting a sleep experiment! I am going to see what it would feel like to reduce the time I spend sleeping every day and what more I can accomplish if I give myself the gift of MORE time. My goal is to get to 7.5 hours a sleep a night (and be comfortable with it.)
  • Current sleep hours per night: 8.5-9
  • Planned sleep hours per night: 7.5-8
Nightly gain = 1 hour * 7 days = 7 hours more free time per week

Week One Results
Day one:
  • Set alarm for 7am when usually wake up @ 7:45 am
  • Hit the snooze button several time and finally gave in – got up at 7:50 - no gain

Day two:
  • Up at 6:40 out of necessity for kid drop off responsibilities  – no gain
Day three:
  • Alarm went off at 6:40 and I gave up the first time.  Deleted alarm and reset for 7:45 am (normal wake up time)
  • Remainder of the week was a bust - sleep challenge fail
Week Two Results
  • Monday – set alarm for 6:40 – got up at 7am (45 min gain)
  • Tuesday - Set alarm for 6:00 – got up at 6:20 (20 min gain)
  • Wednesday - Set alarm for 6:40 – got up at 7am (45 min gain)
  • Thursday - set alarm for 6:00 - got up at 6:15 (15 min gain)
  • Friday - set alarm for 7:00 - got up at 7:15 (30 min gain)
  • week two I would call a success!! total time gained 155 min :) 

What did I do with all this glorious free time??? Cleaned my office – made coffee before the work day started – took a shower – finished reading my Real Simple magazine – cooked and ate a hot breakfast (egg white omelet) and sat down to breakfast with my kids on a day I usually wouldn’t see them in the morning.
So far so good - I would consider this a success.  What about you - how many hours do you sleep a night? do you wish you could sleep more? sleep less?
Most importantly - what would you do with 7 extra hours per week?