Jan 27: Time Constraints

What puts more pressure on you: time constraints or achieving perfection?

Short answer:  Both.

Try aiming for perfection whilst having time constraints. It’s not exactly the easiest to achieve. Moreso when you’re constantly being interrupted. Even worse still is when you find yourself completely in ‘the zone’.

If I had to pick one, I’d probably say time constraints. I tend to be quite thorough with my work, and present my work well in terms of layout and design, but my problem is managing to do that in a timely fashion. I could have a couple of weeks up my sleeve to complete something, and that’s where the problem begins.

In the beginning I’m always of the mindset that I’ve got heaps of time, and it’s not a really complicated job, it might take me a day or so max, so I don’t need to really think about it just yet.

WRONG!!

What happens after that is I become a lot more aware of the days passing me by, but in my head I still see myself having heaps of time up my sleeve, and more often than not, it’s usually the day before, or worse, the day it’s due and then I realise I’ve left it until literally the last minute and go into complete meltdown mode and stress out like crazy in order for it to get done.

I will actually get it done, but don’t think about even coming anywhere near me when I get into that mode, because I’ll be ready to rip somebody’s head off.

Time management, not my strongest, and clearly something that needs to be worked on.

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Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered

It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

Well, Jan 26 here in Australia (‘Straya!!) is when we celebrate Australia Day.

Australia Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from England in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip.  When it was first settled, it marked the proclamation of British sovereignty over Australia’s east cost and was referred to as New Holland.

Captain Phillip was sent out here to check out some land that was discovered and claimed by James Cook in 1770, and was destined to become a British penal colony (hehehe penal). This is also why Australian’s are sometimes referred to as convicts.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/daily-prompt-numbers/

Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well

We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

What is it that I do particularly well??

Sleep…

Procrastinate…

Sleep…

Bitch and whinge about stuff…

Bake…

Actually, I do love to bake. Sometimes I kinda wish that I could spend my days just baking all kinds of stuff. Experimenting with recipes that I’ve never made, so that even if I fuck them up, I can use them as a learning experience and then get better with each attempt.

However, the problem with that kind of pipe dream is that it’s expensive. Ingredients aren’t exactly cheap, and when I bake, I like to use quality ingredients. I’ve baked stuff before using cheap ingredients, and there’s a certain lack in terms of taste, texture and general quality in the final product – and I’m not one of those people – I like to do things properly, and if I don’t I feel like I’m cheating.

I think that there are just really simple rules when it comes to baking – especially when it’s baking desserts:

  1. Always use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. It also, in turn, gives you some bragging rights. Rather than making a chocolate cake using crappy home-brand cooking chocolate, buy something a little more expensive like Lindt Professional-grade 80% dark couverture chocolate… it just sounds more fancy!
  2. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS read a recipe at least two to three times, and be clear of all the ingredients and the proper order of processes.
  3. ALWAYS make sure that you use exact measurements, using a little bit more flour, or not enough sugar might seem minor to you, but it can actually make or break a cake.
  4. Never substitute ingredients. For example, powdered egg whites are not the same as real egg whites. This is what Step 2 (above) is all about.
  5. Always pre-heat your oven before you do anything, and grease and line your tins so that everything is ready to go by the time you mix all your ingredients.
  6. I would strongly suggest buying an oven thermometer. Did you know that a majority of older ovens have ‘hot spots’? Neither did I until I did some looking into it. It’s an actual thing. With a thermometer, you’ll be able to determine whether your oven is exactly at 180C (356F). By doing this myself, I realised that our old oven was actually 15-20 cooler than what the dial was set to, hence why all my baking took a bit longer whenever I cooked something.
  7. Generally speaking, whenever it comes to baking you should use unsalted butter, however, for really sweet desserts like cakes / muffins etc, sometimes buying regular salted butter can give a better result, as the salt in the butter will help reduce the sweetness of the dessert – try experimenting.
  8. Whilst I’m talking about butter, generally speaking, you should always have it at room temperature before you start baking so it’s soft enough to beat / cream etc. However, if you accidentally forget to take it out of the fridge before hand, grab your grater, and grate the butter (I know, it sounds crazy), but by grating the butter, you’ll make a small squiggly pile of yellow greasy goodness, and it will reach room temperature within minutes.
  9. Even if it doesn’t say so, ALWAYS sift your flours and icing sugar. It’s just an extra step you can take to make sure that you get all the lumps out.
  10. If you can afford to do so, buy yourself a bench mixer / stand mixer. I’m not saying you need to go out and sell a kidney so you can buy a KitchenAid mixer for $700. They really do make life so much easier. Generally, they allow you to set a speed from a gentle mix, to a full on aerating / whipping speed, which allows you to then go and focus on the next process of your recipe. Some, like my one, actually has a digital timer, so if a recipe says to cream the butter and sugar for 5mins, you can set the timer for 5 minutes and it will do it’s thing and then stop when the timer reacher zero to prevent over-beating. sidenote: if you do get a bench mixer, or if you’ve already got a bench mixer and it happens to sometimes start to dance across the bench as it mixes, grab a small rubber drawer liner, and place it under your mixer and voila! No more dancing bench mixer!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/daily-prompt-teaching/

Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

What’s the book about? How about a fiction novel….

Sebastian always wanted to feel average. Normal. Anything else other than the way he had felt for the last few years. He craved a much simpler life, but no matter how much he tried, he could never escape the drama’s that always managed to find him.

It was two weeks before his 30th birthday, and was in the process of planning a big celebration for himself. Yes, those things are usually left to our best friends to plan for us, but let’s be honest, Sebastian’s friends were barely capable of organising a plate of sandwiches for the monthly picnic.

What’s the point of being surrounded by fabulous gay men, if they’re not capable of decent party planning? Come on ladies, you’ve got a stereotype to live up to!

Sebastian had no point to plan it all himself, however, what he didn’t realise was that the simple task of picking up the phone to book a venue would create a chain reaction that would culminate in Sebastian spending his big 3-0 single, unemployed, homeless, and in complete despair.

Join Sebastian on an extreme rollercoaster of emotion as he explores the limits of friendships and relationships, and discover that even the most open-minded people can have some skeletons in the closet that have the potential to be extremely volatile and drive a wedge between some, and yet bring others closer together.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/daily-prompt-books-2/

NaBloPoMo Pressure – January

So I’m sitting here (at work, mind you), looking at my list of posts marked DRAFT. There’s 8 of them sitting there. Taunting me. Pressuring me. And I’m feeling quite agitated.

Is that even the right description?!

Either way, tomorrow I’m heading off overseas, and I’ve already started to create the draft posts that I will need to write as part of my NaBloPoMo challenge. Plus there’s the Daily Prompt ones as well, and by my calculations, by the time I get back from my trip next Monday, I will need to have completed 16 posts over the next 5 days.

See, you’re sitting there thinking ‘um, that’s actually really easy, stop complaining!’.

Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s actually not that easy. I started this entire daily writing challenge thinking this was so incredibly simple and easy to do, and that was with the NaBloPoMo challenge in November 2013. I immediately realised that I could almost write an entire month’s worth of posts over the course of a weekend (which I didn’t actually do), but I then thought I’d really challenge myself and take on the Daily Prompt challenge as well.

So, it’s been a bit of a struggle sometimes to get a two posts done per day, because of something called life. Life happens. Work, family, work, social, work, gym, gym, family, gym, family, work, social, gym, work etc etc etc etc. And then after a couple of days I’ve suddenly found myself with a backlog of 8 posts just to bring myself up to date, and then there’s the upcoming 8 posts that need to be written. And all this is somehow supposed to happen miraculously whilst I’m overseas on a work trip.

Jan’s NaBloPoMo theme is pressure, and sweet baby cheeses am I feeling the pressure now.

I wanted to try and smash at least two out yesterday between job number 1 and job number 2, but ended up with family commitments in between. PLUS on top of that I’ve been having very little sleep the last few nights because it’s been ridiculously hot here. It was 42C yesterday (that’s 107.6F for everybody else) and it’s been pretty hot like that for a few days now. So I’ve been having very little sleep, but in saying that, going to bed at 1:30 – 2:00am the last couple of nights doesn’t help either.

So here I am, sitting at my desk feeling like a bit of a zombie.

I am really struggling to focus and do my work, and I find that I’m just making so many mistakes. I was just in the process of writing a message to somebody overseas, and without realising I had picked up the phone with the intention of calling them, despite the fact that I don’t actually know their number overseas. I’m just doing really stupid things.

I just want to go to bed.

Tonight, when I finish my other job, I’ll get home about 9:30 – 10pm, then at some point have dinner and pack my suitcase before going to bed. I’ll then have a 4:00am wake up call so I can haul ass to the airport at 5:30 to check in before my flight @ 8am.

*groan*

I’m already exhausted, and thinking about that, just makes it worse. I need a holiday just so I can recover!!

Seriously??

Okay,

so this is not a typical daily post, but I couldn’t help but point this out.

We’ve all heard of that ridiculous contraption called the Shake Weight, right? Perhaps one of the worst things I’ve ever seen related to ‘fitness’. I didn’t, however, realise that there was one for men as well. It’s just a bit unfortunate that this image is circulating as an advertisement for it…

I mean… seriously?!?!

Daily Prompt: Nice Is as Nice Does

Tell us about the nicest thing you’ve ever done.

There isn’t one particular moment that stands out in my mind, as in one that stands out more than the other. All through my life I’ve done nice things for people, even when it’s completely unexpected. I’ve spent so much of my life being so humble, and always putting other people before myself, and usually it’s because I view it as being nice, or doing the right thing.

I remember once when I was dancing competitively, I used to compete against this one particular girl, and I used to always beat her in one particular event. Regardless of the fact that she would always see me at every comp she went to, she would still continue to get up on the floor, throw daggers at me just before the music started, and off we would go in a flurry of lycra and sequins. At the end of the day when we’d have our medal presentations, they’d announce our particular event and we’d find each other in the crowd and just look at each other. Every time they called my name, she’d sigh and look defeated and deflated and then from across the room, slowly clap in a sarcastic manner.

This one particular comp, we had the same situation, except during the second (and final) round, I’d been tapped out, and was standing on the sides watching the rest of the competitors. She noticed again that I’d been tapped out, and began to look quite frustrated. After the end of that round, the adjudicators were scribbling away on their clipboards, and the competitors all went back to their dressing areas. I saw this, and thought I’d do something really nice. I waited until they went back to the results table, and I pulled one of them aside and announced to her that I wanted to forfeit my position.

It was kind of a blind move. I just assumed that that girl was going to be announced as second place. Did I know that for a fact? No. Did I know for a fact that I was even going to win? No, but I just assumed that I would, given previous history. I went and continued with the rest of my events and then waited until the medal presentation. Was that very cocky of me to think that? Absolutely.

When they got to our event, as always, we locked eyes, and they made an announcement, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen due to the voluntary forfeit of competitor number (whatever my number was), we have a new winner. In first place, competitor number (whatever her number was)…’ Everybody cheered. All the other dancers from her dance school screamed the house down. She gave me a puzzled look and I mouthed out congratulations to her, then got up and walked outside.

It felt good to do something like that, especially when I got to see how incredibly happy she was, and how proud all her school was of her. I didn’t do any of it for me, I did it for her. If anything, I got my arse handed to me by some of the other girls from my dance school. They were beside themselves that I would even consider doing that.

Bitch, please. It’s not about you, or the school – this is about me and her, and letting her have her moment of glory that she has so desperately craved for so long. It felt really good seeing her so happy.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/daily-prompt-kindness-2/

Jan 23: Temper Under Control

Do you think it’s possible to control your temper when facing enormous pressure?

This is something that I regularly struggle with. I find that I do go through periods where I am under a lot of pressure, whether it’s work related or pressure I put on myself for whatever reason, and I find that when I am feeling stressed out like that, then I more than often just want to be left alone.

It usually gets to a point where I will snap at anybody for even talking to me, because I’m so heavily focused on what I’m doing at that time. The worst part is when I do actually reach that point, and somebody does cross the line (you know, that line that I only I know exists, and they don’t, essentially meaning their stepping into a lions den without realising it… yeah, that line) I shoot my mouth off… and I shoot to kill.

I cannot deny that I have quite a potty mouth on me, some people find it quite entertaining, some don’t, but when I shoot my mouth off when I am angry… it’s like going down swinging. I will use my words to completely tear somebody apart, and most of the time, I just say it to be a nasty malicious bitch. When I find myself at that point where I can’t even think clearly because I’m so full of rage, my mind shuts off, and my mouth takes over. This is usually why most of the time, when I’m involved in some kind of argument or disagreement, I can’t really remember anything that I say.

I know I say things that are nasty. I know that I say things that are hurtful. I usually just do so as a warning to others… it’s sort of like my way of saying ‘don’t think about even LOOKING at me’, but the thing with that is that when I shoot my mouth off in one of those moments, I really don’t necessarily mean anything that actually comes out of my mouth (because, like I said, I usually just say shit in the heat of the moment), but although I don’t think anything of it, others end up getting quite upset or offended.

That tends to make these situations worse, because I think that they’re being too sensitive, and that makes me look like even more of a bitch.

*sigh*

Evidently, I have a problem.

Jan 24: Pressure To Rebel

Does pressure ever make you want to rebel and do the exact opposite of what is being asked of you?

Oh lordy, does it ever!!

I have this ‘trait’ – it’s almost instinctive, like I can’t even control it. It usually rears its ugly head whenever I’m in a bad mood, or feeling incredibly frustrated, or highly stressed. And it can be the most trivial request. Somebody can ask me to do something for them, and I’ll purposely go out of my way to not do it. I’m not saying that this happens on a regular basis, but I will admit that I have my moments.

It’s childish, and stubborn and completely stupid, but it’s something that happens. I’m not really sure why it happens, but it does.

However, sometimes I don’t even get to that part – more often than not, too much pressure just makes me want to throw my hands up and completely give up on whatever task I’m doing. It might just seem too difficult, or there might not seem like there’s any end in sight, and I find myself just wanting to throw in the towel and give up.

Again, childish and stupid.

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror

Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?

Let’s just get this out of the way right now… I hate the way I look.

I don’t like my stupid hair, I hate my stupid skin, I hate my nose. I’ve spent so much money on different products for both my hair and my skin, and nothing seems to really work, and it drives me crazy. Why does it have to be so difficult to want to moisturise my skin effectively? Everybody says their products will achieve this, but they don’t. 😦

Do I look like the person I feel I am?? I think that it’s a bit of identity confusion – I know that I’m a bitch, and I know that people see me as a bitch. I know that I’m funny, and I know that people see that I’m funny. I know that I’m nice and I know that people sometimes see me as nice (I really should work on that one a bit more!). Does the outside reflect the different versions of me on the inside – I’m not really sure.

How much stock do I put in appearances?? Well, do you mean mine, or other peoples? I’m not going to lie, I can’t help but judge people based on what they’re wearing (because I’m a judgemental bitch like that), and yet at the same time, most of the time I really don’t give a crap what I’m wearing whenever I leave the house. I live in the western suburbs – compared to a lot of the people I see at the local shopping centre, simply because I’m wearing shoes makes me feel over-dressed by comparison.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/daily-prompt-mirrored/